As Rajesh Jain notes, the days of handing free samples to doctors might be over:
Traditional pharma marketing has focused on ‘prescribing doctors’ with huge sales forces that were often directed to follow the carpet bombing method. Promotional budgets were high as those times were unknown of the phenomenon called recession. Mass communication was the norm and money was poured in to reach out to a huge number of largely scattered mass. Marketing plans are centered on product features and benefits in addition to sales force strength.
One of our favorite television clips is above. It’s the doctors of the NBC comedy “Scrubs” stopping in their tracks when a pharmaceutical representative played by Heather Locklear enters the hospital (start at 1:27). Anyone in the industry should get a good kick out of that.
Now, back to the subject at hand. As Jain continues:
[The] days of traditional pharma marketing are nearly over. In order to make present era successful and profitable, marketing strategies have to be realigned. Marketing and commercialization strategies are developed on the strong foundation of targeting and segmentation of customers and markets, to accommodate the evolving marketing dynamics and customer feedback…
In contrast to traditional norm of mass communication, today, the product is promoted through personalized communication strategy and media like web-based initiatives, interactive teleconferencing and text messaging. The broad idea remains to tap as many technologically enhanced communication ways as possible. Further, companies are training their field forces for a two-way communication with the customers. We can say that consultative marketing is gaining importance.
With advances in science and technology, we have to keep in mind the pace needed to keep up in the industry which is entering a critical period in its development. A failed product launch can be disastrous from a financial perspective and to the reputation of the product’s brand in the marketplace.
Meticulously prepared comprehensive marketing strategy is essential for the successful commercialization of a brand. Highly pro-active marketing leadership would be instrumental in taking timely initiatives in response to the customer feedback and evolving market dynamics resulting in greater potential for overall market success.
No more Heather Locklears, we suppose. But don’t worry — it’s a good thing! She’s expensive. Think about how much money you spend for your marketing department’s representatives going to doctors in hospitals, recruiting test subjects, and talking to the press — salaries, benefits, retirement packages, transportation, printed brochures, and so on. Now, imagine if you could eliminate almost all of those costs! The bio-tech industry has not been immune to the so-called Great Recession. Companies including Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Eli Lilly have laid off roughly 40,000 workers in recent months.
One of the easiest ways both to cut costs and improve your marketing is take it online. You can use social-media networks to recruit patients for clinical trials. You can use methods including blogs, social-media websites, RSS feeds to communicate with doctors, patients, and other segments of your marketing audience. You can even use the same techniques to have research staffs communicate and work together quickly and efficiently.
Of course, these are only a few of the ways that Web 2.0 can help your bio-tech company. Let us show you how!