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Disruptive Tech in Pharma: A Future of Digital Interactions

Jay Rabheru, Head of Marketing, Agency Services, Life Science and Healthcare, Tata Consultancy Services, about the evolution of pharma marketing: 

The most prominent subjects that display the look and feel of pharma marketing today are the saturation of multichannel marketing strategy and the maturing state of omnichannel marketing.  

What does it mean?

We’re no longer finding that marketing is just a case of utilizing various engagement channels and hoping that that’s a good enough experience because that’s what multichannel marketing was focused on. Now the experiences need to be orchestrated across channels. So, journeys should be started in one place, continued in another, and ended in some third place. And that’s what actual omnichannel experience is; the end user demand that they get that seamless experience across the channels. 

We must recognize that almost everyone from pharma marketers’ target audience is consumers. They are also customers of services from Amazon, Google, Facebook, and others. And consequently, they also expect service from their pharma ecosystem. 

So that’s where pharma should be focused on. A recent pandemic has accelerated a bit more, but still, it requires a certain standard from the digital experience. 

Dr. Geetha Thiagarajan, CTO Life Sciences and Healthcare business unit, Tata Consultancy Services, about customer demand for personalization 

Customers always run their show; there’s no doubt about it. But we see the increasing need for customers to forge an ecosystem of partnerships, innovate at scale, and be a part of the market. And if you look at the pharma business, in particular, it has been traditionally a little close to forming partnerships. From AI-based drug discovery to running virtual cohorts for clinical trials or doing continuous manufacturing instead of batch manufacturing, from launching a project effectively to doing real-world tickets, there is technology penetration all along the value chain. 

It makes sense for pharma businesses to have technology partners rather than reinvent all of this. We see many opportunities across the value chain. Traditionally, we have witnessed medical reps talking to HCPs, eDetailers, mobile devices, or branded websites in pharma marketing. But what are we talking about now? 

We are talking now about targeted messages to HCPs and having self-service digital assistance. Any evolutions need targeted and personalized messaging across different channels. This kind of personalization is different from the core business of pharma. There’s no point in reinventing these things because this is where partnership makes much sense, and it is happening. 

Puneet Srivastava, Head of Digital Content and Services Lab at Roche, about approaches and how they changed in terms of disruption 

The change was already happening if you look at the pharmaceutical customers in general. There was an extreme need for tech companies or pharma companies to look at that marketing chain. The change I’m talking about is the reduced attention span. People are looking to consume content across various channels. They are not bothered whether you send an email, or you put Twitter. And I think one of my panelists said in the beginning that you must be consistent across these channels. 

Now with the pandemic, the whole access to the healthcare ecosystem was limited or even blocked. We could not even reach our doctors. How can you get into remote engagements? If we take all the digital channels, how can you orchestrate them? Part of the debate has changed completely, from “shall we do digital” to “how fast can we get into this digital omnichannel”? 

So HCP expectations from pharma companies are tenfold — “hey, give me something extremely personalized, do not actually bother me with an email chain, et cetera, which you think is right, but rather understand me better so that you can talk to me in a helping way.”  The new generation of doctors is looking for much more advanced things than “hey, give me on-call service et cetera.” More likely, they question and ask for the information and have a 2-3 hours response time. 

I think we are following these concerns and learning as we are doing. But what I want to highlight is that there are so many different elements to make such a thing. This is the backbone of today’s topic and will be a fundamental enabler to things happening from a pharmacy perspective. 

Nataliya Andriychuk, CEO of, Viseven, about pharma marketing implementation struggles 

I would say no one has completely fixed the problem yet. So to ensure we are all in progress, we are all in the process of working with it. 

Content here is the key to servicing this approach of omnichannel and personalization because this is how we want our brands to become closer to the consumers. Pharma is not unique because we are more obligated to make our brand closer to the customers. This is not just a question of liking or non-liking; it is a question of life and well-being. That’s why the question of content is so important. This service machine, built around our key message materials, must be very adjusted to all the omnichannel strategies we have. Previously, we used the content like the complete piece of material, and all the metadata was related to the entire material without recognizing the different and meaningful details. 

It is challenging today to take outside of this content a kind of data about every person who will be consuming it separately. So here the modular approach comes, and we need to understand that going into the modular approach, we have a lot of homework to do. We create structured, well-categorized content, where we have to tag it manually or automatically, and we create a whole taxonomy structure. 

And then all the technology will be applied to it. 

Because if it is not machine-readable, then the problem of scaling this approach would be the biggest we will receive. Today, no one doubts that we all can try modular content; we all can build a module, and we understand that it is a meaningful piece with no format and can be used across channels. But once we decide to scale it, we all understand that it has to be machine-readable. This is where we need to go from to imply every technology we have. 

Watch the entire webinar to learn more about the implementation of modular content, specialties of today’s pharma marketing, and the APAC region in particular.

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