With revenue in the global pharmaceutical market expected to hit $1,163 billion in 2023, the sector may appear to be in an excellent financial state. But the reality facing pharma marketers is a landscape of extreme segmentation, some challenging economic forecasts, and Direct-to-Consumer Pharma Marketing still heavily regulated or even banned in many territories.
So how are pharma marketers to plot a course through what may be choppy waters this year? Here are some of the top trends that will likely shape marketing in the pharma sector in 2023 and beyond.
Marketing across multiple channels, and engaging with customers at a number of different touchpoints, was already becoming the norm even before the pandemic. That process was accelerated as pharma companies, like everybody else, had to find ways of engaging with customers they couldn’t speak to in person during that period.
However, in pharma particularly, smart digital strategies are required because of the now-fragmented nature of customer and healthcare provider journeys; at the end of 2022 Forbes predicted increased fragmentation across the industry as a whole. This will require tailored marketing campaigns, leveraging the amount of data that’s now available on individual consumers, to produce personalized content, whether that’s email campaigns, new product plans or highly targeted advertising, and providing content on whichever channels the recipients want it.
Changing financial focus
Macroeconomic conditions make for a bleak outlook right now. Going forward, downward pressure on budgets will make marketers narrow their focus, with ROI becoming more imperative than ever. However, it’s important not to lose sight of the potential of investment in the right places. In 2023 and beyond, it’s data, analytics and actionable customer insights that will deliver the return on investment that pharma marketers are looking for.
Smart, streamlined marketing efforts from end to end and across every channel provide a holistic view of processes, building in speed, agility and cost-efficiency. Comprehensive solutions like Joule will lead the way to profitability even in financially straitened times by streamlining the creative production process from briefing to distribution. Featuring everything from planning and execution resources to proofing tools, cloud-based asset storage, real-time project statuses and reporting against KPIs, Joule is our leading MarTech solution to enable Smartshoring®.
With telehealth already a reality in the provision of healthcare itself, video—whether live or streamed—is also going to be an important source of growth for pharma marketers in 2023. Customer engagement with video offers important insights that can be fed back into the marketing planning cycle, and new video streams are opening up; Netflix, Disney, Paramount and others, for example, have all recently launched ad-supported subscription tiers.
Expect FAST (Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV) to continue its rapid growth overall; it’s one of the quickest-growing digital channels, and some consumers are now abandoning traditional TV altogether in favor of Connected TV. Savvy pharma marketers are already getting on board.
Changing production models
In our recent Outperform Your Competition with Content at Scale webinar, leading content producers came together to share some of the current challenges they’re facing, and how they’re overcoming them. Evolving production models featured prominently, with Roche’s Head of Digital Content and Services, Puneet Srivastava, commenting on the difficulty in nailing down the right model to meet evolving demands.
He discussed what the right model looks like in the current climate, and how best to optimize processes under challenging financial conditions, while both keeping pace with emerging tech and keeping staff happy. In their search for the right balance in their production model, Roche has both an offshore partner and an in-house team, an effective model that they have found offers them scalability and flexibility. Roche are not alone in seeking new production models for an evolving pharma marketing ecosystem.
With tech already a driving force for growth in the healthcare industry, it stands to reason that pharma marketers must leverage its capabilities to stay with the curve. Sector consumers and B2B clients alike are now armed with more choice than ever, and expect a customized and convenient experience in everything from marketing to health provision itself. Traditionally big pharma in particular has been slow to adopt digital, consumer-centric marketing strategies, but that’s changing.
In D2C pharma marketing in particular, the entire customer journey can now happen online. But hyper-segmented marketing that doesn’t feel like an invasion of privacy requires a very detailed understanding of a customer’s digital footprint, as well as very careful navigation of the presiding legislation.
Expect Big Tech and AI solutions to step in to the void that disappearing cookies will leave behind, tracking, sourcing and deciphering consumer data to produce actionable insights on customer behavior.
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