Think about visiting your favorite ice cream shop. When you walk in you can choose from a huge number of flavors. You never get tired of their ice cream because there’s always something new. Maybe you even come back a little more often than you should.
Now think about what you’re serving HCPs through your email campaigns. Pharma has at least 31 flavors of brand assets, but most companies distribute only a few of them through email. Worse, email content is almost always limited to product information. All the other good stuff, including valuable educational materials, is left out of email entirely.
It’s like offering homemade vanilla, French vanilla, and vanilla bean, but leaving the Chunky Monkey off the menu. It’s a wasted opportunity, especially when marketing to younger HCPs.
Pharma Already Creates Plenty of Brand Assets
When we conduct workshops with our clients, we ask you to list all your brand assets on a poster board. Everything you’ve built with your in-house resources, your digital and creative agencies, and your partners is fair game. The response is always overwhelming. You typically come up with about 50 brand assets, including everything from copay card offers to e-book downloads.
Most pharma companies serve all that content through a number of channels: your field force, conferences, CME, community events, peer-to-peer interactions, and lunch and learns. Yet, we usually find that you’re only publicizing a handful of these brand assets through email campaigns.
The Email Disconnect
When it comes to delivering the goods—whether that means an interaction, a sale, or a completed registration—email is still your best bet. In recent years, numerous reports have shown that email marketing continues to be the medium of choice for brand communication, with higher conversion rates and better ROI than other digital channels. This is true for HCPs of all ages, including millennials.
Time to Mix It Up
The most effective email campaigns are designed to build your share of voice, nurture brand engagement, and integrate your marketing channels. A carefully planned mix of email content supports these objectives. For instance, you could use a series of emails to share information about a specific condition, announce a related conference, and follow-up with personalized educational content.
Taking a collaborative, educational approach is especially valuable when marketing to millennial HCPs. Recent research shows that only 16% of physicians between the ages of 26 and 36 considered pharma promotional materials influential when considering a new treatment, compared to 48% of physicians older than age 36.
In fact, 67% of millennial HCPs would prefer to receive unbranded disease information from the pharma industry instead. The same study found that more than 40% of millennials would also like pharma companies to provide more discussion guides and adherence support. Though 58% of older doctors were also interested in receiving unbranded disease information, their secondary preferences included specific news (46%) and healthy lifestyle information (42%).
Regardless of age, HCPs are interested in receiving a broader range of less promotional materials from pharma companies. Email provides the most effective way of delivering a mix of branded and unbranded content, creating an ongoing dialogue between HCPs and pharma companies.