The digital revolution has brought radical changes in every industry and Pharma is no special case. The impact of Digital is such that, it has become a matter of survival than staying ahead of the competition. With world’s 2/3rd population being internet users, where 60% of usage is from smartphones, has forced the enterprises to explore the digital landscape to conduct their business. More or less, every industry has started inventing means to strategize itself to adopt digitalization, but Pharma industry been quite hesitant on chances of making revenue, which may be due to lack of digital maturity or ROI on digital approach.
Moving ahead of this hesitation, few pharma companies started adapting digital ecosystem. It is estimated that the Indian pharma industry expenditure on digitalization expected to be $2.2 billion by the end of 2018, a study says. It is also believed that digitization will be the key strategy for the Indian pharma industry to top the chart of the global pharma industry. In regards to this, Pharma companies have made their strategy effective to get their digital aspirations into reality to increase their branding and thereby enhance their business.
In this article I tried to give few prospects which will help Pharma companies to prosper in this digital race.
1. Understanding the Online Customer Behavior
Prior to diving into the topic of how to enhance the branding in the digital age, one has to understand on what the targeted consumers are expecting and their behavior in the digital landscape. In this process, we present a chart, which showcases the online behavior of the consumers by studying on what exactly they are looking out for:
2. Be Customer Centered than Product Centered
In today’s smartphone era, it is observed that more than 80% of physicians use the Internet and are active in social media too. In an online survey conducted by Google 1000 doctors participated and the report says that 73% of physicians’ report that they depend on the internet means to gain knowledge of clinical information and clear their doubts. Moreover, many of physicians claim that their patients do an online search prior to their visit and some patients even come with health analysis and drugs related information, they found online.
Getting in tune with the trends, Pharma companies need to rethink their traditional sales and engagement model (where pharma representatives trying hard to find a slot of few minutes in the doctor’s schedule to have a head-on discussion), which hasn’t changed so far, to stay ahead of the competition and serve their customers.
In a process of revamping business operations to pursue digital aspirations, the global pharma industry has been moving ahead in these directions and Indian pharma industry is no exception to it. Indian Pharma industry, which is one of the leading global players, in FY 2016 exported pharmaceutical products that value $16.89 billion and is anticipated to be $55billion by 2020. In this process, Indian pharma’s digital spending alone is expected to be $2.2 Billion Crores by 2020. India with production cost considerably lesser than dominating US and EU markets gets a great competitive verge over others and the digital move would certainly keep India on top.
3. Patients are no More Unreceptive:Get your digital communication right
The days have gone where people used to take blindly the medicine prescribed by the physicians/doctors. Most of the patients do a search online about the medication side effects and its functionality. It is estimated that one in every twenty Google searches is about health. Now-a-days because of patients being digitally enabled, transformed patients to be proactive and pushed to seek knowledge on health using various online sources. One of the reports by Accenture states that “patients expect pharmaceutical companies to provide services that help them manage their health”. Also, patients are doing an online search about their health and pre-assuming the type of disease they may have, even before visiting a doctor and visiting a doctor in person has become just an act of validation of the disease.
The biggest problem in the pharma industry is, budding companies are making it challenging for the larger players to attract and retain their empowered customers. To prosper in the digital age, where consumers are self-powered to shape their own journeys, the industry needs to understand and engage in digital means (like social platforms, Apps, and so on) with consumers in more eloquent ways to own the consumer’s trust.
In these prospects, to enhance the digital gap between end consumers and companies, the companies need to evolve and their Digital strategies where the communication channel should be made consumer friendly. In this most of the companies have come up with social media approaches, where consumers find it easy to interact. This method proved to be successful in most of the industries and the same applies here too.
A successful Digital strategy model for Pharmacy firms
1. Strategies: To stay ahead of competitors, strategies on what to push to through the digital channel to your end customers and accordingly channelize your digital channels. Here blog articles, video content or so some informative thing can be developed.
2. Reach: Spread across your data across various social platforms, forums and so on to gain more viewers to your content. You may also deploy techniques like SEO, paid social promotion and so on. These channels will get the consumer to your place.
3. Action: The viewer’s reach out you with various reasons, it would be the art of the strategic teams to discover the viewer need and do the needy.
4. Transform: Here, the artistic ability of the company lies in transforming the viewers to your consumer/client and do some sales activity.
5. Engage: “Once a customer every time customer”, philosophy doesn’t hold right here. So try to thrill the customer now and then in some means like sharing new and innovative products. This keeps up the loyalty of yours in consumer minds.
In pharmacy industry, so far, digitalization is very handy in manufacturing, designing, analysis and for regulatory submissions. But, this digitalization spree is very effective for marketing of Over The Counter (OTC) drugs, which doesn’t need any prescription. Keep aside all these, now, digital transformation is a matter of survival. So get your digital strategies in right place and stay ahead of your competitors.
I thank my friend Krishnaveni for giving me insights on the functional aspects of Pharmacy company.