It’s no secret that marketing has transformed into a highly personalized, largely digital experience. This has had a direct impact on HCP marketing. In response, HCP engagement platforms have become tailor-made for pharma marketing: educational and complementary to traditional pharmaceutical sales techniques.
With all the different options out there, how do you choose the right one for your needs and, perhaps more importantly, how do you leverage these platforms to get the best result? This helpful explainer breaks down HCP engagement platforms and how to find the right professionals to help you maximize them.
First, what are HCP engagement platforms?
These days, the term largely refers to digital channels including email campaigns, virtual meetings, digital newsletters, SEO and content marketing, and even cloud-based software platforms specifically made for HCPs to access information about new pharmaceutical products. However, it also encompasses offline channels such as direct mail. We'll outline the advantages of each shortly.
Why HCP engagement platforms?
HCP engagement platforms have three main benefits:
- Digital engagement keeps marketing and lead generation costs low.
- As HCPs restrict in-person access and the traditional sales rep marketing model becomes less reliable, engagement platforms are a great way to reach HCPs.
- As the number of new drug approvals rises year-over-year, engagement platforms, particularly digital ones, are a good way for HCPs to learn about new drug side effects and other relevant information without drowning in information overload.
Which one is right for you?
Multi-channel marketing is the most effective way to reach prospects and convert them into customers. This is especially important in the pharmaceutical space, which has become hypercompetitive and overloaded with a staggering amount of new drug approvals.
That means you should choose multiple channels to develop a holistic approach to HCP communication. Look for those that maximize personalization and allow you to track engagement; you should additionally develop KPIs to measure pipeline success.
Common engagement channels include:
Email is one of the most powerful channels at an HCP marketer's disposal. Its chief benefits as a tool include robust personalization and testing capabilities. You can also track engagement metrics such as open rates, click rates, bounce rates, and unsubscribes to determine whether or not your message is resonating with your target list.
Looking for tips on crafting the strongest emails for your marketing campaigns? Download our Email Best Practices Ebook
Drop-in and in-person meeting rates were already falling when the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit. Now, they’re basically nonexistent. But getting that face-time is still extremely important, which is why you should schedule virtual meetings with HCPs.
Pharma marketing is so much more than pitching. It’s about education as well. Studies show that HCPs want to feel knowledgeable, and they actively seek out continuing education about new products and therapies. Furthermore, HCPs are increasingly turning to digital channels for continuing education. Newsletters are a great way to deliver the information they're looking for on a regular basis.
As we mentioned, the brain of an HCP marketer often jumps to digital tools at the mention of engagement platforms. But digital HCP engagement platforms still aren’t going to do everything, which is why you should include direct mail in a multi-channel tactical plan. Some of the benefits include near 100 percent audience reach and longer attention to your messaging, which is even more critical during the pandemic, when so many HCPs are nearly impossible to reach with your sales force.
Like digital methods, direct mail is a highly personalized means of communication. Unlike its digital counterparts, though, direct mail has the added benefit of delivering the tactile experience of handling physical materials, which builds more lasting impressions. And you don't need to feel restricted to postcards and brochures either. Unique designs such as pop-ups, holographic images, or unusual shapes can make your message stand out even more.
How do you leverage HCP engagement platforms?
Properly leveraging these engagement platforms is a challenge in itself. The market is already competitive and slated to become even more so in the coming years. As a result, email open rates have fallen, which means you need to be able to deploy your digital messaging in targeted, meaningful ways.
Your best bet when it comes to successfully leveraging engagement platforms is to hire a tried-and-true partner that specializes in deploying your messaging to the right people at the right time, every time.
How do you find the right firm to achieve your goals?
When looking for a partner that will deploy your message in the best way possible, look for the following:
- Clean, well-segmented lists: You want to make sure you’re sending messages only to the HCPs who want to hear from you.
- Exclusive lists: You also want to make sure you’re not competing with too many messages by deploying to universally available lists.
- High open rates: In a competitive market, you need to know that your prospects will see your message. Be sure to inquire what a potential partner's track record is for engagement.
- Analytics: Rather than blindly sending messages and assuming deployment is working, you want a company that can track analytics so they can correct course or continue on a successful path, as well as help track your pipeline.
- Echo emails: Follow-up emails increase reply rates by 9 percent. You want your company to provide the option to deploy these, but only to HCPs who didn’t open the correspondence the first time around. You should also use echo emails to follow up with virtual conference attendees.
- Direct mail: Whether you want to send an eye-popping, memorable design that will make you stick in a prospect’s mind or you want to deploy educational materials like clinical advisories, you should make sure the company you choose gives you the option of targeting prospects both digitally and physically.
- Industry experience: The best partner is one with industry-leading experience and a proven ability to cut through the noise to deliver successful messaging in the extremely competitive environment of HCP marketing.
- Consultative approach: This simply means that your firm is focused on building a relationship based on trust and communication. A good company is going to listen to your pain points and do what is best for you.
Regardless of which channels you choose, one thing is certain: working with the right company to leverage them can make all the difference.
That’s why you should choose PDQ Communications to help you utilize the best HCP engagement platforms for your campaigns. We take a consultative, data-driven approach to digital and email initiatives, direct mail, and editorial campaigns. We have access to clean, well-segmented lists and own several large, exclusive lists, so we can get your messaging to the right HCPs, every time.