That weird feeling of mild-to-moderate dizziness you might get while planning a multichannel budget will likely stop after taking a pill. That is, unless you happen to be working for the pharma producing those pills and know exactly how much you should allocate into promoting the said pill. Then just concentrate on the budget now to avoid tension headaches next year. Pharma marketing spendings are notorious for soaring high, and the recent years have been no exception. On average, 61% pharma respondents have admitted an increase in marketing budgets, and if you exclude the “giant” enterprises, that number becomes 81%.

Which is understandable, if you consider how strongly pharmaceutical promotion is now tied with producing quality digital content. HCPs want their unavoidable eDetailing sessions to be packed with value, and the rising patient centricity creates demand for even more content. Then everything is multiplied by the sheer amount of channels to be “fed”, so naturally pharmas are having to allocate more into content creation and reuse. As demonstrated by Accenture, 58% of pharma/biotech companies spend more than $50 million on digital assets annually. At the same time, two-thirds of well-performing businesses in the industry are now struggling to create truly integrated plans supposed to encompass all the channels and “balance investments in content development”.

Finally, there is one more thing to consider: next year’s physician-oriented content is to be highly specialized, no matter what the format is. For example, 52% HCPs can name zero (!) pharma companies that provide the kind of video content they need. This most likely applies to reps’ presentations, as well – so the quality matters greatly. In practice, this means that for the 2018 budget, the “bare minimum” just won’t do. Marketers should get creative when allocating resources.

Why remote detailing is crucial here

It turns out that to unwind this knot of possible strategies, one would have to pull one very specific cord – and remote eDetailing content seems to be exactly that. First of all, communication with physicians is still the defining factor in most pharma strategies. The array of channels and content types is still directed towards the principal decision makers, healthcare practitioners. This is something most pharmas have already felt very keenly, and 50% are now actively increasing the budget in this particular direction – the physician – almost overshadowing the other audiences. Doctors first!

Speaking of what the doctors want to see, the buzzwords are “education” and “trust”. In the U.S., 70% physicians subscribe to the following (as formulated by DRG Digital):

It is crucial that pharma companies provide education resources rooted in science to gain my trust.

Now, the probability that the right amount of educational content could somehow be “squeezed” within the 5 minutes of a single face-to-face rep’s visit is, well… inconsiderable. Conventional rep visits are here to stay, but they are clearly not enough to provide the necessary level of interaction. At the same time, just telling the audience to the website is hardly an option either.

What limitations good old F2F visits have, remote visits transcend. For example, the average duration of a remote call is currently estimated at about 15 minutes, which is threefold that of F2F interactions. The timing is more convenient for physicians, as well: almost exactly half of respondents say that when it comes to rep visits, inconvenient timing matters a lot. With remote eDetailing, interactions are scheduled even outside the working hours. When you consider the “logistics” of reps’ physical routes, this means covering the audience that is otherwise inaccessible.

With the more informative essence of remote calls, efficiency increases, too. 75% HCPs expect more prescriptions following eDetailing – purely an outcome of content value above the common push-to-prescribe approach.

In addition, remote detailing is simply less expensive when you think about how the whole process is organized. In this way, a company can just establish a platform for remote calls and cut investments by turning up to 50% of all interactions to the remote format.

Wait, does remote detailing mean even more content?

The trick is that remote interactions are not just a substitute for face-to-face visits; this game, however rewarding, has its own rules. This specific channel for physician engagement imposes its own quality standards on the content that is used; in other words, a presentation used by reps on their tablets is not always guaranteed to work perfectly in remote calls. Earlier, we have analyzed in what ways interactive content for remote eDetailing differs from the “traditional” variety and why. In a nutshell, the difference boils down to psychological factor: watching from own screen at closer distance, lack of gestures and eye contact with the rep, ability to read more than during a F2F visit and so on.

And this is where it is especially useful to talk about these things in terms of costs. If remote detailing is so promising when it comes to “saving” the budget, won’t the need to make specifically “remote-oriented” presentations just eat up whatever is being saved?

You know there is a way to make it work. And yes, we will discuss it right now. But first, let’s see what erroneous extreme tactics to avoid.


Extreme #1: Same content for both remote and F2F


Pros: obviously cutting content development costs.

Cons: poor interaction experience for the audience.

Quick (and dubious) fix: Create content that is universally compatible “as is”, right at the very beginning. If the agency predicts every possible scenario when viewing the presentation, it’s worth a try. (Spoiler: they won’t)


Extreme #2: Separately developed content


Pros: excellent user experience and flawless functioning.

Cons: high costs, poor brand consistency and longer time to market.

Quick (and dubious) fix: Outsource content production on all levels to cut costs, while simultaneously deciding whether the procedure is worth it. (Based on analytics that can only be gathered during successful visits)

These are the pitfalls able to ruin the whole point of remote detailing as a budget-saver – but not as a necessary part of the overall strategy. The question is not whether to, but rather how to implement the remote.

How not to ruin everything and still have the content required

Since the difference between an ideal “remote-oriented” presentation and a F2F one lies chiefly in details, as well as including/skipping certain slides, the “content problem” can be solved by means of small changes to some original content.

That is where we come to the need for content reuse. Much has been spoken about it recently, and with some less sophisticated kinds of content, there have been successful cases of repurposing assets. With interactive presentations, however, like those used in eDetailing, most marketers still feel that “what’s been HTML5-coded, shall not be altered”.

Which is a superstition you’ll need to get over for the sake of next year’s strategy. In reality, small changes like altering the text, font size, image size, position of elements on slide, etc. – all of these can be done quite fast with modern tools, provided you have the original file.

This original file – let’s call it a master template – is something that can be created once in the global office, and then forwarded to regional departments, and repurposed many times for different channels, including and especially, remote detailing. A thoroughly developed template will provide consistent branding and stably excellent user experience, while the exact versions of each presentations will be adjusted at minimal cost by product managers based on how the audience reacts. The same goes for content like email templates and digital libraries for physician education – the potential of templating approach is difficult to overestimate once you have the necessary technical basis.

So there you have it: relying a little more heavily on remote detailing practices will lead to improved financial efficiency which can be planned in advance, if you have (a) the tool to distribute and handle templates throughout all levels; (b) a well-designed platform on which to organize and conduct remote visits to physicians. Want to know how these are combined in a single solution package? Here is what you could be looking for, with a demo to request at any moment.