The COVID-19 pandemic changed pharmaceutical marketing from one that is face-to-face to one that is online. During the height of the coronavirus, the industry made a quick transition primarily because of infection fears. However, the platform shift proved to be more effective in maintaining contact between pharmaceuticals and prospects and, more importantly, lowered operational costs.
With the transition's success, pharma marketers have continued adjusting and modifying marketing strategies. Many have been implementing inbound marketing through HubSpot, an ecosystem that works in the healthcare industry.
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing involves creating valuable content to address the needs of your target customers at each touch point within the customer journey. Unlike traditional marketing, inbound marketing does not simply end when you make a sale. It takes care of the relationship between you and your clients for long-term gain.How HubSpot helps with inbound marketing amid this dynamic shift
HubSpot is synonymous with inbound marketing, which it pioneered in 2013.
Seasoned marketers will know the significance of that year because that period marked the exodus of even the most prominent retail brands to online platforms.
A similar shift is happening in the pharmaceutical industry today, requiring an all-in-one solution platform.
Here are five ways how you can power through the change by leveraging HubSpot:
Adopting a more cost-effective digital marketing strategy
Traditional marketing (comprising TV and radio commercials, print advertisements, billboards, and events) is expensive. A single print ad for example costs $2,000 to $160,000.
On the other hand, inbound marketing is technically free as you start. In fact, you don't even need HubSpot to get started, but hopping on to the platform from the start will speed up the process.
You only pay what you need, between $50 to about $1,000 monthly, if you get enterprise-level packages that already allow multiple users.
Inbound marketing involves the strategic use of website analytics, search engine optimization, social media, emails, blogs, and other similar content publishable and consumable online.
As you may see, producing online content is more cost-effective. For example, you can email a newsletter to prospective doctors for free while you have to spend on printing, stamps, and postcards for a printed newsletter.
With blogs, you can commission a freelance writer and publish work online while you pay for an entire creative team to run a poster ad in a magazine you hope prescribers will read. And that's on top of paying for the magazine ad space.
Its limited coverage seems not worth the hefty cost you pay for traditional marketing. For example, a single radio ad may only reach a specific locality where your drug consumers are. A nationwide frequency will mean you need to pay more.
Inbound marketing, on the other hand, has a broader reach. A single blog can reach any consumer connected to the internet, no matter where they reside.
More importantly, you can also implement targeted inbound marketing through sponsored content. Suppose you only want to reach a specific demographic or group of healthcare professionals for your content. In that case, you only have to pay lower fees than running local radio ads or TV commercials.
The most significant advantage of inbound marketing is the data you can analyze after each campaign. You can retrieve data on how your website visitors consume your content through website analytics.
Is there a particular page with more traffic than others? Is there a specific blog where website visitors spend longer than others? It's all there in your analytics.
You can also set up social media analytics. You have a 360-degree view of who shared, liked, or reacted to your posts. You can even track from what location the traffic is coming.
By analyzing these data, you can replicate the most successful content strategy by a fraction of the cost compared to running multiple tv or radio ads.
Building a customer-centric marketing strategy
The coronavirus overwhelmed physicians, extending their already overly long hours at work. The weight of carrying patients' lives in their hands was multiplied a hundredfold during the height of COVID-19. And, as if treating patients isn't enough, physicians must also be responsible for telling the departed's families.
The scenario above is an everyday occurrence in healthcare professionals' lives. Even with the pandemic easing down, they must keep on their feet to stop possible outbreaks.
The last thing healthcare professionals want is for pharma representatives to sell something to them. Indeed, a 2019 report from Decision Resources Group found that of 1,285 practicing physicians, only 54% are willing to meet with pharma reps. That number dropped from 67% in a similar report published in 2018.
The same report said 39% of practitioners had not communicated with pharma representatives in the last six months the survey was made. That percentage jumped from 24% in the past year. Those without interaction also increased from 21% in 2018 to 40% in 2019.
So, is it the end of the physician-sales representatives' relationship? Of course not. Mending ties are where pharma marketers like you come in. It would be best if you closed the gap between these two essential chain parts.
Pharma marketers need to present pharmaceutical companies as an ally in serving the patients and not just entities after the business doctors give. Helping the patient is at the core of physicians' needs as pharmaceutical customers.
Providing that need is what customer-centric marketing entails.
Customer-centric marketing ensures that customers have valuable and purposeful interaction at each touch point of the customer journey. Instead of jumping to sales and profits, customer-centric marketing aims to make your customers your strongest advocates. In your case, that will mean more prescriptions from physicians.
HubSpot has designs covering all touchpoints essential to a satisfying customer journey to help marketers like you design a customer-centric marketing campaign.
Personalization is tailoring your marketing campaign based on the needs and preferences of your target customers. In your case, your target healthcare professionals. If your product is over-the-counter, your target market is the general consumers. These are the individuals whose needs you must put at the center of your marketing design.
For example, specialty care physicians will only want to receive offers to help them push their expertise more. A hematologist only wants drug marketing materials focusing on blood and bone marrow diseases.
If pharma marketers handle campaigns randomly, that hematologist may receive offers that he may perceive as a waste of time. With HubSpot, you can access a customer data platform that gathers insights about your customers' needs.
The general public wants a quick checkout when they wish to purchase online. Consumers also expect customer service support to attend to them fast when they have queries. HubSpot has all available channels to make this personalization seamless.
As part of the paradigm shift brought about by COVID-19, medical practitioners appreciated technology that made telehealth and telemedicine possible. According to a McKinsey report, 84% of physicians offered virtual consultations in April 2021 alone. The same report found that 57% planned to continue doing so post-pandemic.
One effect of telehealth and telemedicine is that physicians spend more time online now compared to the pre-pandemic areas. They became prolific in navigating online communication tools and now prefer virtual interactions, even with pharmaceutical representatives.
HubSpot will give pharma marketers an edge when interacting with physicians across their preferred communication platforms. HubSpot can connect different messages in one place. With access to each doctor's interaction with a pharmaceutical, for example, you'll gain deep insights into what kind of service that doctor expects.
Omnichannel support is primarily beneficial if you're trying to capture the general drug consumers. Everyone is now shopping online, and that includes those buying medicine.
A 2022 report found that 34% of Americans above 18 buy prescription drugs online. Of that, 52% purchase via Amazon, 31% on drug store websites, and 48% through online pharmacies. Industry analysts predict that the digital pharmacy market can grow to $211.9 billion by 2027.
With HubSpot, you can market and be of service to all target markets wherever they are, whatever channel of interaction they prefer, and in whichever manner they expect to be taken care of.
Unified marketing and customer service initiatives
One common misconception among pharma marketers is that the customer service and the marketing departments are separate entities. However, with how customer behavior changed, these two departments should realize their responsibilities are very much in-sync.
HubSpot allows users to access information in one channel. If your marketing materials are accessible to the customer service team, they can attend to your prospects efficiently.
Ponder on this: Say you are running a promotion for new medicine. You have all marketing materials ready and shared across social media platforms, websites, and online ads. Your customer service team handles your customer service hotline or social media chat windows. When interested consumers have queries about this promotion, who do you think they will call?
If your customer service team doesn’t know about your promotions, you will lose all prospects they have interacted with for sure. If this happens, you don’t only fail at the marketing side of the pharmaceutical business but also drag the bottom line down.
Did you know that 61% of customers will instantly switch brands after one bad experience? On the other hand, 94% of consumers who are satisfied with customer service are more likely to recommend your pharmaceuticals to their friends and families — that’s good word of mouth for you, one of the most influential and free marketing strategies.
With HubSpot, marketers can arm the customer support team with the necessary resources. No more wasted time on back and forth among different departments. Everything is at everyone's fingertips.
Creating impactful content for targeted groups
Content marketing is educating your leads about products and services. Content is also a strategic means to boost conversions. But most importantly, HubSpot, as a leading authority in inbound marketing, knows how to use content to help you solve your client’s challenges.
Having your entire marketing funnel through the platform can build a good relationship between your pharmaceuticals and your target markets.
As mentioned, many physicians no longer find it worthwhile to meet with pharma representatives in-person. It’s not that they are disinterested, but their workload prevents them from doing so.
As a pharma marketer, you might find that disheartening. But, it’s an opportunity for you to leverage content and articulate solutions for their deeper needs.
Healthcare professionals need the fastest way they can provide patient care. As a pharma marketer, you should be able to present your company as an ally in achieving that. This point is where your content comes in.
Today, physicians use the internet to read about prescription drugs and biologics. They also search online for peer-reviewed case studies when there’s a stumbling block.
Physicians, like the general public, use Google to search for drugs online. They also read health-related and pharmaceutical websites to further their knowledge of emerging trends. A growing number is also following peers across social media sites to get an idea of what to read.
Indeed, a 2019 study found that 46% of physicians view pharmaceutical websites as a credible source of information and another 37% said these websites are influential in their decision-making. At the same time, 49% said they could find answers online for questions they used to ask pharma representatives.
The challenge with content marketing is that physicians are not your only market. Nurses are also part of the profession. At the same time, patients are also your target market.
These demographics have different needs. Physicians’ expertise varies. Those in general practice have different needs than those in specialty practice.
To give the information you need, you also need to vary the content you provide, and HubSpot allows you to do just that. For instance, you can prepare a whitepaper for an experienced specialist. Whitepapers dive deep into a specific topic that requires expertise and knowledge to understand.
On the other hand, a nurse specialist may find reading a whitepaper time-consuming. For the nurses, you can produce short articles of about 500 words minimum and how-to articles for immediate consumption.
Infographics, meanwhile, are more effective for patients and the general public. This type of content is visual and digestible. Additionally, visual-rich materials are shareable across social media.
Other content forms include videos, case studies, ebooks, webinars, and featured interviews. Your website landing pages and product description are part of your entire content marketing.
Content marketing with HubSpot offers a non-invasive platform for bringing your products closer to your target markets. Leveraging the platform will stop you from committing pushy and almost desperate attempts to get through the physician's door.
Directing a sales conversion with accurate lead scoring
At the core of any successful decision-making are measurable results and concrete data. Businesses leveraging data enjoy between 8 to 10% profit increase on top of a 10% reduction in overall cost.
One aspect that powers data generation is lead scoring which many enterprise-level organizations leverages. Pharmaceuticals are no different, and as marketers, you should also be using this potent tool at your disposal.
Lead scoring entails segmenting your customers based on their needs, behaviors, and demographics. But unlike the standard lead segmentation, lead scoring entails assigning numerical values to each lead that enters your marketing funnel.
For example, for physicians entering your funnel, you can score each based on their willingly-provided professional information. In a rating of 1 to 5, 1 being the highest, you can assign 1 to physicians who submitted their emails over those who gave contact information of their assistants. Providing their emails means these segments are more willing to communicate and listen more about your products and services.
Another example is scoring based on specific demographics. For pharmaceutical selling multivitamins for babies, you can give a negative score to those leads with teens. Or, if, for example, your company is located in one specific state and only targets those in that location, you can only rate leads who reside within the same zip code.
Lead scoring allows pharma marketers to be as specific or far-reaching as possible. With the all-in-one suite, you can generate data as particular as choosing those leads who visited specific pages. You can even check how long they stay on a page and what products they check.
The platform can also generate data on leads interacting with your social media posts. For this lead type, you can assign a high score to those with remarkable online presence based on the number of followers or networks.
Your lead scores show who among leads you must prioritize. The highest rating means these are the individuals that are most likely to convert. Instead of personalizing your marketing strategy to random lead clusters, you market to those most interested.
With lead scoring, you know who you must contact first or what type of content you should feed them to push them deeper into your funnel. Immediately knowing whose lead is ripe for the picking saves you time, eliminating any chance of a lost opportunity.
The benefits of lead scoring go beyond what you get online. By utilizing lead scoring, marketers can help pharma representatives to design their pitches according to how prospective physicians want to receive information. This way, pharma reps are armed with the correct information when they face healthcare professionals they have persuaded to meet in person.
With your online and offline marketing working toward the same goals, your pharmaceutical can increase conversion rate and achieve better sales productivity and higher lead ROI.
The success of accurate lead scoring does not stop with conversion. With all the data you generated from this activity, you can pursue other essential aspects of your business: customer retention.
Improve customer retention
One competitive advantage of inbound marketing that marketers won't find in traditional marketing is the high customer retention rate.
Customer retention becomes highly significant when all competition conducts business online. You can quickly lose a loyal customer anytime since there are many options on the internet.
Loyal customers will likely repeat business and bring more referrals than new customers. Still, however, customer acquisition costs more than customer retention. With that said, it's a must that you run an equally robust customer retention strategy.
You don’t have to start on a blank slate for your customer retention campaigns. All data you gathered for lead generation, you can also leverage to keep your customers loyal.
Utilizing the platform for customer retention is the same:
- You implement a cost-effective digital marketing strategy.
- Run a customer-centric marketing strategy.
- Provide personalization with omnichannel support.
- Publish impactful content.
- Use accurate lead scoring.
Customer retention only requires some minor tweaks in that, this time, you market to people you already served and whose needs you can anticipate outright.
If we were to translate that number to how pharmaceuticals benefit from customer retention, you would get 40% more physician advocacy for your drugs than your competition. And for an organization like yours, we know that physician advocacy is the lifeblood of the business, whether you're targeting healthcare professionals or the general public.
The Basics of HubSpot for pharma marketers
We have worked with pharma marketers and pharmaceuticals and found that they commonly find the platform intimidating. But we always tell them it only takes understanding the basics of the platform to leverage its full advantage.
Below is a list of the essential features to familiarize yourselves with. You can always hire a team of HubSpot developers for all other complicated tasks.
Inbound marketing is only possible if you have a good working website. You need to hire a HubSpot web developer for this part of the equation because establishing a site requires coding and years of experience.
The web developer will configure templates for you, which you can reuse anytime. When everything’s set up, you can head to the HubSpot Learning Center to know more about how you can utilize the Design Tools more effectively. Be sure to read about intelligent CTAs, smart forms, and the personalization of landing pages.
Lead generation tools
These tools provide vital functions you will need for all your page optimization. One of the tools is the two-page editor options for creating blog posts and landing pages.
Another tool is an on-page optimizer, where keyword optimization takes place. Here, you can adjust page titles to incorporate high-volume keywords. You can also edit meta descriptions and URLs from here, heading tags, images, and internal links.
HubSpot has everything listed that you can use as a checklist. You’ll have a routine in no time as long as you incorporate the index into your daily tasks.
Social tools are also incorporated into the Content Management System (CMS) and Customer Relationship Management platform (CRM). From one channel, you can monitor comments and engagements. Social media analytics is also accessible for more data-driven analysis.
Creating personas is essential for personalization and customer-centric inbound marketing. Your personas are fictional characters designed after your leads who got the highest rating through lead scoring.
You can create a persona for your ideal target physician, for example. This character is your “role model” when assessing whether you should prioritize a lead that enters your funnel.
This tool allows you to create a list of contacts that you can customize according to your preference. For example, you can have a list containing only physicians or a list with the consumers' data only.
One significant function of this tool is customizable email automation or workflows, targeting only those leads with high scores and who are active in the funnel. Your email won't fall into random people's inboxes, avoiding instances when the algorithm tags you as a spammer.
If you send emails to people you intended as recipients, you can also gather data on how they responded to your messaging. This way, you know what tone and message leads are most reactive to.
You won't also be flying blind with experimentations in email messaging. The platform has an A/B testing tool that allows you to test your emails. During A/B testing, you can see what messages were opened often or what stayed in the inbox.
When a lead is ready for an actual conversation, you can use this feature to schedule live meetings easily. They can generate links to this meeting and share them with the person. The schedule and link are adjustable for the marketer and the prospect to avoid wasting time back and forth for both parties' availability.
HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing platform to target healthcare professionals and consumers
When consumer behavior has changed dramatically, you also need a powerful tool at your disposal.
Amid the paradigm shift, there is an ongoing exodus from brick-and-mortar pharmacies to online stores. Healthcare professionals are also no longer interested in in-person meetings with pharma representatives. At the same time, consumers are treating their prescriptions like retail: buying them online, hopping from one site to the other.
The trends impact pharmaceuticals down to their bottom lines. The time has come for pharma marketers to embrace digital solutions to meet where their customers are and close the gap between sales and marketing.
HubSpot is an overarching solution for inbound marketing to help pharma marketers attract prospects, acquire leads and retain customers. Through the platform, you can automate marketing and generate and analyze data for successful marketing to consumers and healthcare professionals.
If you want to learn more about how HubSpot can help you with your goals as you thrive in the post-pandemic era, GiantFocal is willing to assist you.
Contact us today, and together let's begin your inbound marketing strategy.