Digital channels have become an increasingly significant portion of biopharmaceutical and medical device companies’ media mixes. But developing digital initiatives that set companies apart and remain relevant to healthcare audiences’ needs is a challenge. This study provides best practices for integrating strong, customer-focused content into a multichannel marketing strategy.
The report’s five chapters will help drug and device companies reinforce their digital marketing strategies. In-depth benchmarks explore companies’ marketing objectives, structures, budgets and marketing media mixes — including the extent to which companies use mobile applications and social media. Findings provide insight into companies’ evolving return on investment (ROI) strategies — including, specifically, the use of hard and soft metrics to showcase the potential value of new digital channels.
Cutting Edge Information collected and analyzed data from executives from more than 45 pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies, as well as digital marketing experts. The report includes detailed case studies of personalized strategies for social and mobile media. Furthermore, an entire chapter is dedicated to solving a top challenge for many marketing teams: calculating return on investment and return on engagement (ROE) for digital marketing campaigns.
With this report, digital marketing executives will understand how top life science companies:
Discover the right marketing mix,and learn how to balance traditional and digital approaches.
Determine resource levels needed in aligning digital marketing with brand/corporate team goals.
Orchestrate in-house capabilities and vendor expertise to make the most out of digital initiatives.
Raise patient support and physician education using social media initiatives and mobile technology.
Leverage a mixture of hard and soft metrics to gauge digital marketing returns.
Key Questions This Study Answers
How do companies measure ROI for digital marketing initiatives?
How can drug and device companies use digital marketing to best reach consumers?
What percentage of companies’ marketing media mixes do digital campaigns represent?
What groups should be involved in strategy development for the digital team?
What kinds of apps have shown success for biopharmaceutical companies?
Top Reasons to Read This Report
Measure and Demonstrate ROI for Digital Campaigns: The landscape for pharmaceutical digital marketing is changing rapidly. But some companies still lag behind the curve when it comes to utilizing this powerful communication channel. Often, the inability to demonstrate return on investment prevents companies from pursuing more robust digital marketing strategies. This study aims to solve that challenge for pharmaceutical executives with detailed benchmarks and analysis on ROI and ROE. The report examines the groups involved and the timelines necessary for companies to collect data and analyze initiatives' ROI. It also includes best practices for combining formal ROI and ROE studies to connect return of digital marketing initiatives to increased sales and achieve stakeholder buy-in.
Anticipate Consumer Needs and Reach Them Through Digital Channels: In this day and age, virtually no one is without a cell phone nearby. Drug and device companies are investing frequently in mobile apps and social media channels to tap into our increasingly digital environment. Surveyed companies are using social media target patients. Furthermore, 80% of companies use mobile applications to target physicians. Stay ahead of the curve with the strategic recommendations and insights contained in this report. They will help you navigate current and future social media marketing and mobile application trends.
Establish a Balanced Marketing Media Mix that Incorporates Digital Channels: Among surveyed companies, some differences on how to focus a digital marketing strategy emerged. The analysis in this report will guide marketing teams in their understanding of how significant a role digital channels should play in the overall media mix. The report includes benchmarks for companies’ annual media mixes from 2012 through 2014. The data show growth in digital channels — such as social media and mobile apps — in companies' media mixes since last year.
Chapter 1: Developing Budgeting and Outsourcing Strategies to Support Digital Marketing Activities
Outline the benefits and drawbacks to digital marketing.
Set preliminary steps to winning senior management buy-in.
Compare digital marketing budgets across company types and specific therapeutic areas.
Establish dedicated brand budgets to align digital activities with brand strategy.
Assign point responsibility to streamline the budget approval process.
Examine top companies’ outsourcing patterns and vendor capability assessments.
Perfect the balance between in-house capabilities and third-party expertise for digital marketing and mobile initiatives.
Discover five areas where vendors can help in develop digital marketing strategy.
23 charts detailing dedicated digital marketing budget levels, distribution of digital marketing responsibility and outsourced activities. Throughout this chapter, data are broken down by company type (Top 50, Top 20, small pharma and device) and by team type (corporate and brand teams).
Percentage of teams reporting a dedicated digital marketing budget
Percentage of companies (teams) using vendors to assist in digital marketing strategy development
Extent of responsibility for digital marketing execution (e.g., share duties with vendors or outsource entirely)
In-house vs. outsourced distribution mobile development, by activity
Preferred vendor type (e.g., specialized agency or full-service agency)
Ratings of vendor capabilities
Percentage of companies (teams) outsourcing some portion of digital marketing activities
Selected brand- and corporate-level teams’ digital marketing budgets
Distribution of digital marketing responsibility (in-house versus outsourced)
Chapter 2: Digital Structures and Staffing Practices to Drive Brand Strategies
Build and structure in-house digital marketing teams to optimize efficiency.
Compare the advantages of centers of excellence versus decentralized structures.
Establish strong leadership for digital initiatives.
Coordinate communication channels between digital experts and across teams companywide.
Integrate the abilities of new, tech-savvy employees and personnel with traditional marketing experience.
Use staffing benchmarks to right-size your digital marketing team.
40 charts detailing digital marketing structures, age of dedicated marketing groups and staffing benchmarks. Throughout this chapter, data are broken down by company type (Top 20/affiliate, Top 50 and small pharma) and by team type (brand and corporate level).
Percentage of teams with a dedicated digital marketing group
Age of dedicated digital marketing group, by company type
Advantages of digital marketing structures: centralized versus decentralized
Types of digital marketing group structures, by company and team type (e.g., decentralized by geography, brand or therapeutic area; or globally centralized)
Functions involved in developing digital marketing strategy
Function housing companies’ digital marketing group, by company type
Level of executive leading digital marketing teams, by team and company types
Brand and corporate team digital marketing staffing
Senior/middle management staffing
Community manager staffing
Quality assurance staffing
Number of total FTEs/technical developer/community manager used per:
Social media platform
Five (5) Team Staffing Profiles
Information on the digital marketing structure
Team Level (corporate, brand, therapeutic area or regional level)
Age of the digital marketing group
Total in-house and outsourced staffing numbers
Chapter 3: The Multichannel Marketing Mix: Integrating Digital and Traditional Channels
Leverage multimarket campaigns to reduce marketing expenditures while broadening campaigns’ reach.
Build a comprehensive marketing strategy and extend reach by connecting marketing channels.
Analyze marketing mixes to prioritize marketing channels and distribute resources.
Examine models and strategies for researching consumer audiences to anticipate their needs.
Strengthen focus on areas of expertise when developing initiatives, finding the right activity levels.
Chapter Data 11 charts detailing marketing mixes and percentage change in marketing mix from 2012 to 2014. Data are broken down by geography (US versus non-US), company (Top 20/affiliate, Top 50, small) and team (brand, corporate).
Two diagrams showing companies’ market research process
Marketing mix from 2012 to 2014 (by company and by company/team type)
Percentage change in marketing mix for all companies from 2012 to 2014
Chapter 4: Leveraging Social Media and Mobile Technology to Engage and Educate Consumers
Develop content-driven strategies to ensure customers receive credible and robust information.
Use social media initiatives to broadcast corporate communications and promote patient empowerment.
Use mobile apps to enhance physician education and encourage patient adherence.
Align company objectives with social media platform use — real-company examples provide lessons and success stories.
Analyze social media presence levels of different therapeutic areas to determine where digital marketing is necessary.
Leverage tools and settings to reduce customer privacy issues and regulatory concerns — two primary concerns with social media
37 charts detailing age of social media/mobile strategy, target audiences, primary objectives, percentage using social media and mobile platforms and mobile apps for patients/physicians. Throughout this chapter, data are broken down by company type (Top 20, Top 50, small, device) by team type (brand and corporate level) and by therapeutic area.
Age of social media/mobile strategy
Selected brand teams’ social media/mobile strategy
Companies’ and teams’ primary social media/mobile objectives
Percentage of companies (teams) using social media, by platform type
Percentage of companies (teams) using mobile applications, by channel
Target audiences for social media/mobile initiatives
Perceived impact of specific social media platforms
Common mobile initiatives platforms
Number of mobile initiatives for patients and physicians, by therapeutic area
Number of Initiatives, by therapeutic area, on the following platforms:
Other social media platforms
Chapter 5: Measuring the True Return on Digital Marketing Initiatives
Understand the differences between traditional and new digital strategies.
Develop a formal process for compiling and evaluating digital marketing ROI.
Identify top challenges in measuring ROI — and learn how top companies overcome them.
Leverage hard and soft metrics to evaluate the initial success of digital initiatives and track their impact on financial data.
Demonstrate initiative value to internal stakeholders using formal ROI and ROE studies.
Chapter Data 13 charts detailing efforts to collect, measure and evaluate digital marketing ROI and ROE.
Percentage of companies currently measuring digital marketing activity ROI
Preferred digital marketing ROI metrics and evaluation methods
Groups involved in digital marketing ROI analyses
Time after initiative launch during which companies begin measuring branded/unbranded ROI
Specific methods companies use to evaluate digital marketing success
Leading challenges in evaluating ROI
Individual Company Process Diagrams
Incorporating healthcare audiences’ perspectives into ROE analyses
The following is a key finding from the report’s Executive Summary:
Research Consumer Audiences to Create Digital Initiatives that Support Companywide Objectives
Conducting market research — both formally and informally — helps dedicated teams as they develop their marketing initiatives. First, additional research helps companies focus on the marketing channels their target healthcare audiences use most often.
Second, these studies often represent a cost-effective way for companies to gauge consumers’ priorities and to design their initiatives in-line with consumer needs and expectations.
In the experience of Company E, formal studies range from $20,000 to $35,000 depending on the study’s duration and number of participants. These market research studies may provide additional insight for companies that have not yet identified their platforms’ most beneficial demographics. In these studies, companies may develop surveys that track general consumers’ needs within specific therapeutic areas before filtering responses to reflect a core market. Alternately, market research may support companies that already know their target audiences. This research could provide additional insight into consumer behaviors, including preferred communication channels. For example, consulting agency Company E’s recent market research study demonstrated that its client’s healthcare audiences were more apt to use mobile applications than social media platforms.
Companies less inclined to conduct formal studies may benefit from building relationships with third parties, including patient advocacy groups. In several interviewed executives’ experiences, these organizations provide additional insight for companies looking to develop content-driven platforms using both traditional and nontraditional digital channels. Because patient advocacy groups focus on the patient perspective, these groups are often more familiar with patients’ goals and treatment expectations. Therefore, companies that build relationships with these groups may benefit both from their current expertise and past market research findings.
As an example, a consultant at Company E assisted her client with the design and development of one of its digital platforms. The consultant was able to work with several therapeutic area-focused groups that helped her team develop content relevant to consumers’ interests. The combined expertise of patient advocacy groups and its team enabled Company E to develop additional digitized infographics alongside other digital tactics. This content complemented the client’s existing unbranded website. In the future, this consultant also cites plans to work with advocacy groups when developing social media platforms for its clients.