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Customer intelligence

Reinventing engagement in pharma

21 Mar 2023 | By Brand Engagement Team
Worried your HCP engagement isn’t cutting through? Our report sets out where to invest to optimise customer engagement, increase reach and boost your brand.

Worried your HCP engagement isn’t cutting through? Our report sets out where to invest to optimise customer engagement, increase reach and boost your brand.

The world has changed. HCP engagement has changed. Some would argue it is because of Covid, some may argue that it was going in the direction of digital first anyway and Covid got us there faster. No matter what you believe, there is no doubt we are faced with an alternate, and for some, new way of working.

We at Uniphar helped all our clients pivot their customer engagement to digital-first, and they have seen great success. But is that enough? Our customers are building a mix of live and virtual interactions, so we wanted to find out how HCPs really want to engage with pharma to make sure they’re on the right track.

We looked at the issues HCPs are facing to distinguish how you can add value, keep contact and find the right balance.

51% of NHS HCPs are facing a Covid backlog
2/3 of HCPs prefer attending events either virtually or hybrid
25% of HCPs prefer to meet pharma representatives in person

HCP Engagement stats

In a recent survey to our consented HCP database, we asked HCPs (a mixture of GPs, Nurses and Specialist Consultants), 75% of whom are working in the NHS, if they were facing a Covid backlog.

The results were fairly evenly split. 51% said they are, with drivers including more patients with increasingly complex issues, equating to longer waiting lists and up to two year waits for secondary care.

This is causing overwhelm, over capacity and intense workloads.

Not able to get HCPs in a room? This is your number one reason why – they just don’t have the time! But it’s not the end of the world. With a third of HCPs happily heading back to live, and those numbers growing, you need blended solutions to reach your customers where they are.

Consider your engagement through the funnel. Virtual is a fantastic way to increase reach – both in HCP consented data and geographically. Supported by targeted live events for real impact. With tangible benefits, interested HCPs will allocate the time to attend quality, in person events.

And how do you support your customers when they’re not in the room? You need a quality digital toolkit as part of your strategic engagement.

When it comes to engagement, are you meeting the need?

84% of HCPs receive emails from pharma and 85% are happy with the consistency, giving you an engaged audience. But what makes them tick?

78% are most interested in event invitations, so keep those live events, conferences and webinars coming. However, with that ever-increasing stream of patients to get through, it’s easy to understand how you could get lost in the inbox. Email is not the only way.

84% receive emails from pharma
78% are most interested in event invitations

How do HCPs want to learn about products and therapy area developments?

Coming out on top are eLearning, on demand webinars and live webinars. Information that HCPs can absorb in their own time, when it is convenient for them is king. Next were conferences, journals and peer-to-peer sharing. There is still a place for that face-to-face networking.

Coming in least popular were promotional emails direct from pharma and promotional websites without education. HCPs are looking for partnership from you, and information to help them treat their patients. Promotional content needs to be balanced with education, in easy to digest formats. If you only have a promotional site, an educational hub with a balance of rich education and promotional information may receive more interest.

Remember your customers need support. Give them the tools they need to help their patients.

When you deliver your brand awareness alongside valuable education, your customers can pull on that information and engage in the value you add to their practices.

Value, Value, Value

We believe it’s not about providing information but providing value. We know there is an issue with wait times, overworked and exhausted HCPs. What’s your role in supporting HCPs through this? All HCPs believe information provided by the pharmaceutical industry:

· Aids professional development.

· Can be used to prescribe medication or treatment.

· Can be used to inform colleagues.

· Changes service delivery.

And here is where the opportunity lies. Useful, valuable, purposeful and practical information. Check your marketing strategy, are you accounting for this? Are you creating content, events and information that can help fit into these pillars?

To drill down further, we asked: what information do you prefer to receive that provides value?

In order of importance, clinicians told us:

1. New treatment pathways

2. Product information

3. Patient resources

4. Therapy area information

5. Research

Maybe this is your starting point. Become a partner with your customers, support the changes they are facing, assist them in tackling their backlog with the information you provide. It’s a reciprocal relationship.

45% of HCPs trust pharma and the information, whilst 42% were impartial

Facing barriers

There is some work to do to keep building trust within the healthcare community.

But do your customers trust what you’re sharing? Has Covid changed their perception of industry? In 2020, we, along with Pf Media asked that question. When asked: ‘Overall, I trust the pharmaceutical industry’, opinion was split. Approximately a third agreed, a third disagreed and a third were neutral.

When updated for this report, 45% said they trust pharma and the information they provide, with 42% being impartial.

This is a fantastic gain in trust but there’s still work to do to keep building trust within the healthcare community. The way you engage and the quality, reliable interaction you consistently nurture will continue to build this over time.

Bring the value to make gains

To move forward, your actions must be built on the value you bring.

· Ensuring your information is available at the right time – embracing omnichannel.

· Aiding day to day decision-making.

· Getting treatments to patients faster.

Get to know your audience by understanding their engagement patterns, and invest in creating what works and gives them the biggest gain, whilst always putting the HCP at the heart of all you do.

Uniphar provides personas and segments defined to inform customer engagement strategy.