Five Pharmaceutical Marketing Webinars That Drive HCP Engagement

It’s no secret that pharmaceutical marketing is becoming more challenging. Physicians are difficult to reach, you’re faced with more and more regulatory restraints but you still need to take products to market quickly.

As in-person meetings become a thing of the past, more pharma companies are meeting HCPs where they are: online. 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.

So what do these 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 pharmaceutical marketing webinar programs we found.

Key Opinion Leader Events

Your audience wants to receive expert, scientific information and key opinion leaders are the influencers of the healthcare space. KOLs help position companies as experts and thought leaders, effectively doing what a publisher in their space would do. To take advantage of this digital program, feature a KOL as your main webinar speaker and share clinical research, outcomes, cases, medical best practices or current topics in the field. Speakers can help drive registrations by promoting the webinar to their network of physicians.

Digital Symposiums and Congresses

The healthcare industry is no stranger to symposiums. But these in-person events are expensive to host and can’t scale. Plus, geographical boundaries make it difficult for targeted experts and HCPs to attend. If you host symposiums, stream them live through a webinar platform to maximize the reach of an in-person event and accommodate those who cannot attend in person. Next, take every presentation 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.

Product Launches

Speed to market is one of the biggest challenges in a product launch. Instead of having physicians read your product brochures, easily create high-production webinars that get you in front of your audience 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 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.

Peer-to-Peer Meetups

HCPs want to learn from their peers and other subject matter experts in the field. Facilitate digital peer-to-peer interactions that nurture a learning environment for HCPs. Manage the conversation by having one of your own experts as a moderator who’ll help guests to share information and build connections. These networking opportunities are valuable for helping HCPs gather information they can apply back to their clinical practices. Use ON24’s resource list to provide related content to download and use group chat to collect data on these conversations.

Sales Trainings

Your sales reps are now scattered around the world, they’re harder to reach which makes in-person training less effective. Online tutorials lack employee interaction and you have no visibility into who has watched and how engaged they are. With webinars, you can go in-depth with education, enable testing in real-time and even generate a certificate of completion. Reps are able to ask and get questions answered in real-time, download additional related content and access this training anytime, anywhere.

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.

Three Ways The Digital World Is Changing Life Sciences

The digital world is changing the life sciences industry fast. Legacy organizations are facing new challenges in the form of new competition from technology-based upstarts, new markets and renewed scrutiny of how companies transport and store protected health information through digital channels.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve examined some high-level digital changes and how they affect the life sciences industry. We’ve also considered the digital opportunities organizations can, and should, take advantage of to remain competitive in a fast-changing landscape.

We’ve also surveyed our life sciences clients for their input on how webinars are helping to achieve their digital goals. You can read what they have to say in our report, “ON24 Webinar Benchmarks Report: Life Sciences Trends,” or check out our infographic at the end of the blog post.

So, what, exactly, is changing in the industry? Here’s a brief recap of what we found:

First, Digital Is Creating Better Patient Experiences

When it comes down to it, life sciences’ end goal is all about helping the patient. And, with advances in technology and digital tools, the patient is now in a better position than they’ve ever been before. For example, health care practitioners have more immediate access to information on new prescriptions, treatment plans and disease-management tools that they can share with patients.

Still, there is room for improvement. A recent Accenture study found there’s a sizable communications gap between service providers, health care practitioners and patients about these new services. According to the study, roughly half of the HCPs who learn of new patient services say they only hear about them from sales representatives or other digital channels a quarter of the time.

Second, Digital Is Giving Competition A Massive Boost

According to Frost & Sullivan’s 2019 Global Life Sciences Outlook, the global life sciences industry will reach $1.5 trillion in value by 2022, largely driven by new technology innovations and strategic partnerships. These new entrants to the market mean legacy life sciences organizations will need to simultaneously improve performance, manage risk and maintain compliance — a standard newly founded companies are already familiar with.

While traditional life sciences companies also face another issue when it comes to digital: the pace of adapting to this new landscape is too slow. According to Across Health’s 2018 Multichannel Maturometer, nearly 60% of pharma and biotech organizations say their pace of digital adoption is “slow” or, “very slow.” It doesn’t get better when it comes to healthcare providers in the United States, where, according to a recent Unisys study, 64% rated themselves as being behind the digital curve.

Third, Digital is also Giving Life Sciences a Great Opportunity

But it isn’t all doom and gloom. Established life sciences organizations of all stripes have a great opportunity to use digital innovations to accentuate their strengths and improve upon their weaknesses.

For example, while HCPs still prefer in-person meetings to assess medical information, digital tools like webinars are quickly gaining traction. Providing HCPs with a digital option like webinars allow pharmaceutical companies the opportunity to guide HCPs through medical innovations, answer questions as if they were face-to-face and remain compliant with virtually any compliance or regulatory standards.

The life sciences industry may be slow to adapt to the digital age, but it’s still adapting. Soon, the industry will enjoy better remote communications, cloud computing for research and better relationships between both HCPs and patients.

Provide a Better Pharma Buying Experience with Digital

Life sciences companies aren’t limited to only working on developing their innovations, such as new drugs. Building relationships is also critical.

Research from Bain and Company shows that at least two-fifths of physicians’ brand preference is attributable to customer experience factors beyond the product. These include, for example, how well pharma companies support physicians by providing answers to medical questions or connecting them with peers. Quite worryingly, physicians gave pharma companies an average Net Promoter Score of -11 across all interactions.

It’s clear life sciences organizations need to shift from pushing products to expanding the value proposition, becoming solution providers and proactive members of the healthcare delivery ecosystem. But are they ready to address these needs and be at the forefront of this transformation?

The answer is mixed.

The State of Digital Content in Life Sciences

According to Accenture’s recent State of Content for Life Sciences, more than three-quarters (78 percent) of marketers in the pharma and biotech sectors claim their organization produces a moderate to enormous amount of digital content and assets, with three in five (58 percent) spending more than $50 million on content each year.

However, only 11 percent report they have a clearly documented content strategy that meets current and future needs (compared to 42 percent across all industries) and only 13 percent believe they leverage content well. There’s an obvious disconnect between having content capabilities and being able to aptly communicate complex information.

Content created by life sciences organizations is still very much product-focused and zeroes in on the marketing message instead of the educational component so many HCPs and other stakeholders and customers crave. While the efficacy and safety profile of drugs remain the most sought-after information in the pharma sector, requests for real-world evidence and impact on patients’ lives have seen a marked increase as well.

The Digital Content Trends Shaping Life Sciences

Using key opinion leaders (KOLs) or influential medical experts — either practitioners or researchers — can certainly help elevate the conversations with HCPs. However, the traditional scope of the KOL’s role has changed. Whereas life sciences companies might have relied on a single KOL throughout the lifecycle of a product, they now need to match the right KOL to each stage in the development and marketing of a product. Instead of perceiving them as conduits of information, organizations need to develop strong, mutually beneficial partnerships with KOLs.

Another trend that is reshaping the life sciences industry is a growing focus on patient services. As the market is shifting toward value-based, personalized healthcare, the demand for delivering patient services has also increased.

These services range from helping patients better understand their disease and how they can manage it, to helping them adhere to treatment plans and connecting them with others affected by the same condition. Examples include AstraZeneca’s Day-by-Day coaching service for patients recovering from a heart attack, providing a combination of digital content and one-to-one coaching, and the dedicated social network for heart failure patients and caregivers launched by Novartis.

Delivering Services Into the Hands of Patients

Traditionally, patient services were solely packaged with specialty, rare disease treatments and were viewed as an add-on to product sales rather than a standalone offering. However, recent years have seen an increase in the range of patient services offered as pharma companies are ramping up investment in complementary areas.

Despite the increase in both demand and supply, Accenture research revealed there’s a significant communication gap as just one in five patients are aware of these services. Around half of HCPs reported that they hear about patient services less than 25 percent of the time from sales reps or through other channels. If HCPs don’t have a good understanding of what’s available, they’re not likely to make recommendations to patients.

Life science organizations need to fill all these communication and information gaps by focusing the conversations with HCPs and the rest of the market on outcomes rather than products. They should strive to become trusted sources of scientific information, comprehensive data and peer-reviewed evidence, not just providers of prescribed substances or medical devices and technology.

Ultimately, they need to help both the healthcare provider and the patient have a better conversation and identify the best possible care approach. Improving health outcomes is a responsibility that all players in the life sciences industry share.

Keep an eye on this space as we explore the challenges and opportunities facing the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries.

How Life Sciences Can Get a Boost With Digital Channels

Healthcare and life sciences professionals (HCPs) are now more inclined to use digital channels to stay informed than ever before. According to a 2019 study by Indegene, the vast majority (80%) of physicians express a preference for digital, up from 73% in 2015.

Similarly, according to a Veeva / Across Health study, close to 70% of HCPs in Europe will be ‘digital natives’ by 2020. Digital channels are now being used alongside traditional channels, such as congresses, local events and face-to-face meetings with medical reps. These events help professionals to keep abreast of product or therapy-related information and the latest developments in their area of practice.

More Opportunities for Better Communications

In-person meetings are still one of the most preferred avenues for accessing medical information. But when it comes to digital, webinars are the second most popular channel, ranking, according to Indegene, slightly below websites — 55% compared to 56% for websites.

The figures above uncover a significant opportunity to transform the relationship with HCPs and expand reach. However, the life sciences industry has been slow to adopt digital channels, mostly due to inertia and the fear of moving away from a tried-and-trusted business model.

Only 10% of pharma companies conduct over half of their engagements remotely, using digital means, according to a separate Indegene study. For a significant proportion (52%), less than one in ten engagements are conducted remotely.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Pharma companies and life sciences organizations should use digital tools to connect, engage and understand what their audiences want. Here are three tips life sciences companies can use to boost their digital efforts:

Embrace digital transformation and make it a strategic priority

Don’t just explore individual technologies, look into how the convergence of technologies and trends can drive meaningful transformation and help you deliver impactful, patient-centric experiences. Stay ahead of the curve by adopting some of the most effective and innovative tactics for digital marketing in healthcare.

Offer bundles of products and services, and use educational content to enhance your offering

A successful approach that marries diagnostics, therapies and associated services needs to be supported by a solid content strategy. Adopt a more flexible, modular approach that allows content to be repurposed and disseminated through different channels, including webinars.

Use webinars to extend the impact of marketing activities to customers who are less receptive to promotional information delivered by reps

Focus on providing content that enhances the practitioners’ ability to deliver high-quality patient care. Read our HCP Engagement Report to explore how marketers are evolving their engagements with healthcare providers to keep pace with the industry’s digital transformation.

Face-time with healthcare professionals has reduced dramatically in the last few years and the cost of in-person engagements has reached an all-time high. Life sciences organizations are under increasing pressure to move away from a push model consisting of one-direction, company-initiated communication, to two-way meaningful, regular conversations with customers. They also need to start orchestrating experiences across multiple touchpoints, as a ‘double coverage’ strategy (a combination of webinars and in-person detailing) can have a multiplier effect.

Digital Challenges and Opportunities Facing Life Sciences

The life sciences sector is undergoing a significant transformation, driven by the same forces that have disrupted other industries. Technology is changing how physicians practice medicine, how patients manage their own health, and how pharma companies interact with healthcare providers.

Deployment of cloud-based solutions for drug discovery and clinical trials is on the rise, and artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly used for prediction and prevention. An explosion of patient data provided by wearables, sensors and remote health monitoring devices (known as the Internet of Medical Things, or IoMT) has become the driving force behind regulatory changes and new commercial models. External innovation is increasingly seen as a sustainable way to overcome patent cliffs and bridge expertise gaps.

Still, in this time of unprecedented change, life sciences companies continue to work towards an overarching objective: reducing costs and securing long-term growth while improving health outcomes.

Discover how Roche uses ON24 to pioneer cancer diagnostics

The global life sciences industry is expected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2022, according to Deloitte’s 2019 Global Life Sciences Outlook, driven by tech innovations and new strategic partnerships. Although per-person healthcare expenditure varies widely by country, global healthcare spending is on the rise. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for healthcare spending across 60 countries is predicted to increase by 5.4% between 2018 and 2022, compared to just 2.9% over 2013–2017, according to Deloitee. Health is estimated to account for 10.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019.

However, challenges persist. Stiff competition, particularly from new market entrants and tech giants, increased scrutiny over drug pricing and value, declining margins and an ever-changing regulatory environment are just some of the factors affecting companies operating in this industry. Improving performance while managing risk and maintaining compliance has never been more arduous.

Companies in the life sciences industry know that digital technology is of pressing importance. Still, there’s evidence that organizations within the industry are still coming to terms with the basics of integrating digital technology within their workflows.

The highly complex nature of R&D cycles, tight regulatory restrictions in terms of marketing to healthcare professionals, and existing relationships between industry players slow down digital adoption.

Learn how Zoetis generates a 3:1 ROI from its webinars

Three in five (59%) pharma and biotech organizations say that their pace of digital transformation is ‘slow’ or ‘very slow,’ according to Across Health’s 2018 Multichannel Maturometer. While the majority of organization acknowledge that digital technologies have disrupted their industry, and will continue to do so, the level of digital readiness is low. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of US healthcare providers rated themselves as being behind the digital curve, including 20% who were classified as laggards, according to a recent Unisys study.

According to Vir Lakshman, Head of Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals at KPMG in Germany, “the challenge is enormous. He added: “Conventional methods will not enable life sciences companies to keep up with the pace of change being set by new entrants, predominantly from big tech. They will need to re-skill, re-hire and invest substantially in new technologies or partner, even in a junior role, with tech companies to fully realize the potential digitalization has to offer.”

The digital tech applications (and implications) are diverse and far-reaching, ranging from personalized medicine and virtual clinical trials to streamlined R&D cycles and supply chains. Digital technologies shouldn’t be looked at in isolation though. It’s the convergence of technologies and trends, such as patient empowerment and healthcare consumerism, that continues to drive transformation in the life sciences industry. One thing is certain: organizations can’t afford to fall behind the latest innovations that are redefining healthcare delivery and medical research.

Keep an eye on this space as we explore the challenges and opportunities facing the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries.