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Discover the two-pronged approach to elevating your brand with HCPs

Marty Samples, Vice President, Product Innovation and Marketing
Jon Bambalas, Vice President, Business Development

Competition for market share in the pharmaceutical industry is fierce and intensifying as many branded products now have little clinical differentiation within their therapeutic classes. In addition, there is greater transparency around drug therapies. As a result, patients are more informed consumers with less tolerance for any friction with the drug therapies they are prescribed, especially friction created by higher out-of-pocket costs, access restrictions and cumbersome reimbursement hurdles.

If your goal is brand differentiation, traditional marketing approaches to address these challenges are no longer effective.

In today’s pharma market, empowering health care providers to reduce elements of friction — the unnecessary roadblocks and frustrations that hurt a patient’s experience — is differentiating. In order for your brand to rise to the top, you can’t ignore that HCPs are both clinical practitioners and also consumers who expect a personalized experience.

You can help HCPs provide a better patient experience by reducing friction associated with access and reimbursement by deploying practice-specific market access messages that ultimately make it easier for patients to fill and adhere to your brand.

What if you could prevent friction from occurring even before an HCP has prescribed your brand? How valuable would personalized, practice-specific market access messages be for your HCPs? And what if you had better options for how to deliver those messages?

Pharma marketing of the past won’t cut it today

Leaning predominantly on the face-to-face channel of sales reps for brand pull-through was successful for many years, but now a more holistic approach to patient care requires a more holistic and personalized approach to marketing.

Innovative pharma companies are putting the patient and HCP experience at the center of everything they do — with in-person sales models being just part of that approach. To support the patient experience, they are sending emails to promote medication adherence and texting health tips specific to a patient’s disease state. They are registering patients for educational webinars featuring medical specialists and exploring other valuable touch points and channels.

You may already be doing a lot to bring value to HCPs and their patients. And yet you may be wondering what else you can do to improve the experience for these audiences and, as a result, further differentiate your brand.

As a pharma marketer, the biggest opportunity to elevate your brand with HCPs is the personalization of market access messaging and delivery. Read below to discover the two-pronged approach to differentiating your brand through personalization.

1. Personalize your market access messages to help HCPs deliver a better patient experience

HCPs want to be confident that each patient’s experience with the drug therapy they prescribe will be a positive one. In addition to efficacy, that experience means the product is covered by their insurance company or other provider, the patient can afford it, and restrictions aren’t barriers.

We have found that HCPs’ perceptions of access for brand drugs are typically worse than actual access as HCPs over-generalize one or two negative access or reimbursement patient experiences. And perceptions decline at a disproportionately sharper rate as formulary restrictions increase. (For details on these findings, contact us.) Such poor perception of market access prevents HCPs from prescribing. Why would they take the risk?

In the age of personalization, the traditional approach of using county, region or state data to generate general formulary messages is ineffective for several reasons. First, the messages are often inaccurate. Giving HCPs geography-based information can actually create friction for patients when the HCP’s practice differs from the access landscape for the geography. Finding out that a drug therapy your HCP prescribed isn’t covered or is too pricy is frustrating — and poor patient experiences yield poor doctor reviews and lower reimbursements.

More intelligent data algorithms provide targeted, practice-specific market access messaging with increased accuracy for HCPs about brand access specific to their patients. Access Genius leverages its own proprietary algorithm to help pharma marketers correct misperceptions and differentiate their brands in the minds of HCPs.

Personalized market access messages drill down to the HCP-level and are based on practice-specific data for a brand’s cost and coverage profile. Access Genius communicates a summary message of this personalized profile, punctuated with plans specific to the HCP using plan names they understand and easily recognize.

To illustrate the difference, consider how well the following market access messages — delivered via a sales rep in this case — would empower an HCP to reduce friction for patients:

It’s easy to spot the differences. The General Messages scratch the surface, relying on statements about patient populations and market access for a broad area. For sales reps working to make an impact in a matter of minutes, this lack of clarity and personalization shuts down conversations instead of advancing them.

The personalized market access messages speak directly about the HCP’s actual patient population and offer paths to deeper conversations with HCPs. With this approach, HCPs have the information they need to prescribe with confidence and, therefore, are empowered to reduce friction in the patient experience.

But today’s pharma marketers can’t rely just on sales calls to convey market access messages, which leads to the second part of the two-pronged approach.

2. Personalize the marketing channels so HCPs get information on their own terms

Personalized market access messages are useless to HCPs if they never see them, which is why a personalized delivery strategy that incorporates e-detailing and other digital channels is critical.

PHARMAFUTURE’s 2019 Digital Savvy HCP Survey reports a “tectonic shift” in the adoption of new digital channels among HCPs from 2017 to 2019, while the demand for medical representatives has plateaued.

Pharma has been slow to adopt digital — one 2018 study reported just over half of pharma was using or considering using virtual interactions — but as a marketer you know that consistent touches over a period of time can create a deeper connection with consumers than just one grand marketing gesture can. HCPs are no different, and e-detailing helps make that consistency possible.

To deliver marketing touches, you were likely using a range of e-detailing tactics prior to COVID-19’s freeze on face-to-face sales calls. But the global pandemic’s impact on healthcare has made pharma’s adoption of a more comprehensive digital transformation even more urgent.

The good news is that even when an HCP isn’t with a sales rep, HCPs can receive personalized market access messages through omnichannel marketing tactics such as banner ads, email or social channels like Doximity. Or they can self-serve, accessing information at the point of care. Access Genius makes this omnichannel approach seamless for marketers.

Does your current mix of marketing tools enable data-driven personalization? How well are you leveraging multiple channels to raise brand awareness?

You can empower HCPs to create positive patient experiences

In the rush to launch products and market them effectively, many marketers often forget that HCPs are largely creating a collaborative ecosystem designed to serve patients. And pharma must be effective contributors to that ecosystem, supporting, ultimately, the patient experience.

We developed Access Genius to help marketers play a more valuable role in the development of that ecosystem. You can help your company become a more beneficial contributor by reducing friction for patients, thus driving pull through and HCPs’ propensity to prescribe your products. Personalization of your brand’s market access marketing is essential to the solution.

Now you know what a personalized market access message looks like. How general or personalized is your messaging? Take our 9-question Market Access Self-Assessment to find out. Get it here.