Trends in Pharmaceutical Marketing

The pharmaceutical industry in the United States spent 6.88 billion U.S. dollars on direct-to-consumer advertising in 2021. With the continued rise year-over-year, trends in pharmaceutical marketing are constantly evolving. The AI (Artificial Intelligence) revolution and a potential alternate reality have taught us that it is important to implement marketing tactics that inform, educate, and build trust with patients and healthcare professionals alike. Utilizing technology to gather intel and creating digital marketing campaigns based on the information, is essential in resonating with the target audience.

In this article, we have outlined Trends in Pharmaceutical Marketing that are on the rise.

Pharmaceutical Marketing Trend #1: The Use of Generative AI

Applications in the Medical Field

Health Education England publicized The Impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which outlined how AI is being piloted in healthcare for tasks such as:

  • faster and more accurate diagnosis
  • reduction of errors caused by human fatigue
  • to assist with or automate repetitive tasks
  • decrease costs
  • reduce mortality rates

As more than 200 AI technologies are scheduled to roll out, AI will aid healthcare professionals in analyzing patient data with more speed and accuracy.  An assessment for a swifter treatment for early-stage conditions will allow companies to deliver personalized messaging and information to customers at appropriate points in the consumer lifecycle.

Content Generation in Pharmaceutical Marketing

AI is also gaining traction in the pharmaceutical marketing space, especially when generative AI applications like ChatGPT are in the picture. Its capacity to generate and process data and create content has the pharma marketing world buzzing with how it can revolutionize the way they market to physicians, patients, and the general public. From market research and targeting to predictive analytics, personalized marketing strategies, and targeted advertising, the newest digital marketing toy doesn’t disappoint. It can assist in creating blog posts, articles, social media posts, and even meta descriptions, enabling pharma companies to produce compelling content at scale. Pharmaceutical companies can leverage AI and machine learning to deliver tailored content to healthcare professionals and patients, resulting in improved engagement, better patient outcomes, and more precise targeting of relevant audiences.

Market Research in Pharmaceutical Marketing

Aside from the actual content creation, ChatGPT can also provide valuable insights into target audiences, allowing pharma companies to refine their marketing campaigns and enhance their ad spend and targeting strategies. By analyzing vast amounts of data and identifying patterns and trends, AI-powered tools can help pharmaceutical marketers make informed decisions, optimize their messaging, and improve overall campaign effectiveness.

Use with Caution

AI is undeniably a game changer, even beyond the medical field. However, the use of generative AI in healthcare, including pharmaceutical marketing, raises ethical concerns. The potential for misinformation and harm necessitates careful consideration. While AI technology offers tremendous potential for streamlining tasks, it’s essential to ensure that the information provided is accurate and reliable. Some industry professionals are cautious about allowing AI to create medical content, as there is a higher risk of generating incorrect or random information. Human oversight and validation are crucial to mitigate these risks and maintain the integrity of healthcare information. With an accuracy-sensitive field like pharmaceuticals, there’s no room for inaccuracies and misinformation. 

Pharmaceutical Marketing Trend #2: New Voice in Pharmaceutical Influencer Marketing

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, consumers increasingly turned to social media for health advice. This paved the way for influencer marketing to find opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry. Influencer marketing has altered the traditional forms used by the healthcare industry. Rather than solely tapping on the influence of medical professionals, pharmaceutical companies have recognized the popularity and sway of individuals living with various health conditions. By collaborating with relevant influencers, drug companies can tap into a wider audience and build trust.

Despite the waning urgency of the pandemic crisis, experts believe the influencer marketing trend is projected to thrive. Influencer marketing campaigns are effective in fostering trust because they provide a more relatable and accessible perspective. Consumers appreciate seeing real people sharing their experiences.

However, this shift does not diminish the importance of medical professionals. A recent survey conducted by Charity RX revealed that while 37% of respondents turn to influencers for health advice, due to their accessibility, only 17% trust influencers more than doctors. Thus, influencers should be viewed as complementary sources of information rather than replacements for medical expertise.

Another thing for pharmaceutical marketers to consider is their choice of influencers. What must they look for in an influencer? Highly regarded. An engaged community. And a sincere interest in the topic. In addition, they must ensure messaging that’s in keeping with their marketing goals. Pfizer chose well by partnering with Lady Gaga, who is a migraine sufferer, to raise migraine awareness.

Boehringer Ingelheim’s collaboration with a group of type two diabetes influencers to launch their “Create Your Change” campaign was also a success.

Transparency also plays a vital role in maintaining trust between influencers, pharmaceutical companies, and their audience. Disclosing any partnerships and identifying sponsored content is imperative to avoid misleading viewers. By clearly stating the nature of collaborations, influencers can retain authenticity and protect the integrity of their recommendations.

Pharmaceutical Marketing Trend #3: Omnichannel Marketing vs Multiple Marketing Channels

The pharmaceutical industry is on track to become the second-largest industry for ad spending in 2023. With roots deep in social media, providing consumers with multiple points of contact to engage. These companies will work toward integrating these multiple channels to create a more seamless user experience.

Gone are the days of a linear approach to patient or healthcare provider journeys. Instead, drug marketers will veer toward integrating fragmented journeys – of doctors or patients – for a smoother user experience as they jump from, say, the pharma company’s Twitter to website to email and app. 

On the marketer’s end, this unified approach will provide them with a more holistic view of the patient or physician interactions when analyzing data and tracking performance. Marketers need not worry about the tons of data they’d be gathering and analyzing. With AI and related technologies, these once complicated tasks now become a cinch. This makes personalization (of say, drug regimens, email campaigns, and targeted marketing)  – and ultimately better conversion rates and customer engagement – within easy reach. 

Staying relevant and consistent remains on top of most drug companies’ list above omnipresence. The essential thing for marketers to do is to master data analysis across audiences and channels, strategize according to their findings and plan accordingly.

Pharmaceutical Marketing Trend #4: The Use of Video

Restrained by compliance restrictions, pharmaceutical digital marketing isn’t as nimble as consumer digital marketing. Pharmaceutical companies will be investing more in video content and campaigns for more vivid and engaging communication, whether for product information or promotional campaigns.

A window of opportunity opening for video marketing in the pharmaceutical industry is ad-supported media. Several streaming services, including Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Paramount+, and HBO Max, now offer ad-supported tiers. This provides pharmaceutical companies with a new way to reach a wider audience with their marketing messages.

Pharma companies can also take advantage of FAST or Free Ad-supported Streaming TV using integrated video ad campaigns. This will provide companies with more comprehensive data, enabling them to make more informed decisions when planning for their next strategy.

In addition, ad-supported videos can also help pharmaceutical companies to target their marketing messages more effectively. For example, Netflix and Disney+ both offer dynamic ad insertion, which allows advertisers to insert their ads into specific shows or movies that are likely to be of interest to their target audience.

Here are additional marketing trends we have found popular with pharmaceutical companies.

  1. Motion Graphic Videos Motion graphic videos are becoming the go-to resource for pharmaceutical companies to market and demonstrate their products. In fact, we have seen the greatest demand for Motion Graphics, up 86% since 2019.
  2. Testimonial Videos Testimonial video is another format that is becoming increasingly popular with pharmaceutical companies. Either short-form for social sites or long-form for websites and YouTube, we have found that Pharmaceutical companies utilize testimonials to connect on a personal note with their potential customers.

Increased advances in the digital era have presented pharmaceutical marketers with exciting opportunities to connect with healthcare professionals and patients in innovative ways. If you want you want to stay ahead of the curve in the pharmaceutical industry, we prescribe you adopt one or several of these tools to keep up with the changing times.