10 Pharma Marketing Factors Shaping 2024

12 January 2024
Posted by: Danny Flamberg, VP Strategy- HCP

As the new year dawns, consider these 10 factors that will influence and affect healthcare and pharma marketing over the next 12 months.

Social is Soaring. Social media has become the channel of choice for most patients, caregivers, and HCP segments. Social media has established itself as part of physicians’ daily clinical toolkit. Social commerce and social customer service direct to patients and caregivers will grow steadily. Social platforms will continue to evolve and compete, and newer platforms, like Discord, will capture the imagination of select populations. Platforms will furiously tinker with their offerings to compete for engagement and revenue adding new features, functions, and tech specs requiring considerable hands-on social expertise to navigate almost constant changes.

AI is Everywhere. Many new flavors of generative AI will emerge and compete with ChatGPT and others. Marketers and HCPs will experiment broadly in applying this technology to a myriad of applications. Competition and attendant hype will be intense, though by year’s end market leaders and best practices will emerge.

Short and Sweet. TikTok trained everyone to focus on short, snappy, and shareable content. Add to that the vast majority of patients, caregivers, and HCPs access content at a glance on smart phones and tablets. The instant gratification expectation has carried over to all marketing and advertising channels where messages must be short, telegraphic, and provocative to stop the scroll, drive extended viewing, prompt reading, or attract attention and action.

Total TikTok. TikTok will continue to lead the way in refining algorithms, segmenting audiences, driving social commerce, and creating compelling video content, which makes up 60% of average daily internet use. Almost everyone will imitate or compete with this channel that commands so much daily attention from such a broad collection of people and professions. Pharma brands will increase their use of TikTok to reach patients and eventually to create videos targeted at HCP peers.

Cookies will Crumble. We’ll finally pull the plug on cookies but look for a renewed emphasis on first-party data collection and a variety of approaches, technologies, and workarounds                for identity resolution. More brands will deploy more tactics to extract data from more customers.

Collabs & Partnerships. Look for brands to collaborate with influencers and each other to drive engagement and revenues. Social platforms will partner, like X/Twitter and Google or Pinterest with Amazon, to penetrate new prospect populations and open new market segments.

Data Determination. Pharma marketers will focus on collection, processing, aggregating, and applying datasets to better meet patients, caregivers and HCP’s expectations for relevance, speed, information, and insights. Segmentation, personalization, and prediction is on every agenda though contingent on building effective tech stacks managed by savvy data scientists. Compliant data structures will yield more flexible databases, tighter data integrations, more precise targeting, smarter chatbots, and ultimately greater customer satisfaction.

Customer Experience. The notion of “beyond the pill” will give way to extensive efforts to map and intersect customer journeys, understand customer needs, and produce campaigns that embrace the full range of customer expectations. No longer a digital usability buzzword, “customer experience” represents the desire of pharma brands to own direct customer relationships and construct omnichannel campaigns.

Eye Versus Ear. Podcasts will fight it out with blogs as the channel of choice for engaging day-to-day audiences. The sheer number of both communication forms and the volume of information generated make the competition hard to handicap though we suspect that demographic sensibilities are at play.

Creating Communities. Online communities capture the waning social aspect of social media. Brands will develop communities to create conversations and direct relationships that reveal genuine customer interests and needs and contribute to brand affinity, preference, loyalty, and advocacy. Communities put the interpersonal social dynamic back into what has become just another media channel. Reclaiming the social dialog perspective of social media will offer potential competitive advantages to the brands willing to make the investment in time, content, energy, and cash.

The new year promises continuous change, competition, and innovation which will require savvy marketers to pay close attention, explore evolving technologies, embrace data science, keep an eye on compliance, curate content, and connect the evolving world to fundamental pharma marketing principles. It’s going to be a fun ride.

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Reach out to the author, Danny Flamberg, VP, Strategy – HCP, LiveWorld at danny@liveworld.com