June 17, 2021 Ciera Nahale
There are a lot of options when it comes to marketing in the pharmaceutical industry. There’s social media marketing, webinars, direct mail and a slew of tactics and strategies designed to connect a sales rep with healthcare professionals.
Yes, pharmaceutical marketing is more challenging than ever — but this fact was true even before the COVID 19 pandemic related lockdowns and restrictions. After all, the HCP audience is a notoriously difficult one to connect with. But that’s because today’s healthcare professionals are busy — extremely busy.
That’s why pharma companies have — for years now — turned to digital channels to pitch a medical device, launch marketing campaigns and drive pharma sales. And a part of that marketing mix is, of course, the humble webinar. In fact, according to a survey of CPhI attendees, webinars are rated by pharma marketers as one of the most effective marketing channels.
So what do HCP engagement programs look like? We’ve scoured our pharmaceutical customer’s webinars to find out what webinar programs they’re running and why. Here are the five most popular hcp marketing webinar programs we found.
Five Webinar Formats to Boost HCP Marketing Efforts
1. Key Opinion Leader Events
When it comes to healthcare marketing, the most valuable brand asset to have is expert, scientific information from key opinion leaders in specialized fields. With a great KOL, a company can position itself as an expert and thought leader and draw in physicians seeking the latest information on their specialty.
So what does this mean for your webinars? To take advantage of this webinar strategy, ask your preferred KOLs to participate in an event as a webinar presenter, panelist or moderator. The webinar should focus on a core topic your experts can speak to, such as clinical research, outcomes, cases, medical best practices or current trends in the field.
Be sure to ask your speakers to share news of the event over social media, which can help drive registrations and encourage physicians to attend.
2. Digital Symposiums and Congresses
The healthcare industry is no stranger to symposiums. But 2020 changed the nature of large, in-person gatherings in remote locales. In fact, those physical gatherings were largely canceled across the globe.
Still, 2020 didn’t put an end to symposiums and congresses. Instead, HCP marketing went digital. Webinars, digital experiences and virtual events in general became a core part of any pharma brand’s marketing strategy. These digital tools also gave any enterprising pharmaceutical company an opportunity to run their big events online.
There are a few benefits to this digital-first strategy. Brands can target more HCPs across more regions, provide more healthcare professionals with more on-demand marketing materials and do so both safely and on the HCP’s time.
The trend towards using virtual event platforms will likely continue even as in-person events are reintroduced to the market. After all, big in-person conferences are expensive to host and difficult scale. A virtual event platform — with hybrid event strategies in place — can help to maximize the reach of an in-person event and drive better return on investment.
As a final note, symposiums provide brands with great informative content. If you do run an in-person event, take the time to record sessions and break them into on-demand webinars. With a digital, on-demand symposium in hand, you can enable participants (both those who attended and those who missed the event) to watch later and drive eyeballs well after the event is over.
3. Product Launches
Speed to market is one of the biggest challenges in a healthcare product launch. But a lot of pharma marketing material is passive — like product brochures and portfolios. Webinars and virtual events change this dynamic with high-production, interactive environments that capture audience attention for 20-30 minutes, even an hour.
During this captive time, educate them at a deeper level about your new treatment and showcase your product videos and internal experts. Use webinar analytics to discover who amongst your target audience is the most interested based on their engagement during the presentation. You can also include a “contact us” form in your webinar for interested physicians to raise their hand and instantly request a meeting with a sales rep.
4. Peer-to-Peer Education and Networking
HCPs are people persons. They want to learn from peers and other subject matter experts in their field. But pandemic-related lockdowns — in addition to simple issues with travel and budget — have limited HCP engagement opportunities.
But there is a way to overcome typical peer-to-peer hurdles: host virtual events that are built for them. By creating a digital environment built to educate and facilitate networking, a brand can easily cultivate P2P education, provide related content to download and use group chat to collect data on these conversations.
And, if a group of virtual event attendees have a particular topic they want to dive deeply into, HCPs can use webinar features like ON24 Breakouts to jump into a breakout room for a one-to-one discussion.
Launching into a breakout room from a virtual environment is a useful tactic for sales reps as well. That’s because, if an HCP has questions during a presentation or event, a rep can open a direct 1:1 channel — over both video and audio — and answer any questions that participants may have.
5. Sales Training
Sales reps are now scattered around the world, making them harder to reach. This means in-person training is less effective and more expensive.
Virtual events empower brands to go in-depth with internal education. Some webinar platforms even provide real-time and certification — ensuring reps meet a brand’s standard. Reps are able to ask and get questions answered in real-time, download additional related content and access this training anytime, anywhere.
According to Docplexus’ ” Pharma’s Guide to a Kickass Marketing Webinar,” 72% of physicians source drug-related information online, and 78% of physicians favor learning through videos or digital media. Because of this shift, it’s increasingly important for marketers to create a diverse digital program that attracts HCPs, educates them, and keeps them coming back for industry-leading medical information.
To see peer examples and hear a deeper explanation into these pharmaceutical marketing programs, check out the webinar Marketing Playbook: Digital Engagement for Pharma Marketers.