How Big Tech is Reshaping Pharma Marketing Services

By Samantha Romano


Big Tech’s disruption of the pharmaceutical sector has transformed healthcare into an omnichannel, consumer-centric ecosystem that is laser focused on the customer experience. And consumers, armed with the power of choice, are expecting health care interactions to be the customized, convenient experiences that have in other industries.  

Tech giants have streamlined and simplified how patients enter, interact with, and make purchases within the healthcare system, synthesizing key consumer and HCP touchpoints seamlessly.  From Apple’s wearables acting as patient health hubs to Tencent’s digital healthcare platform within WeChat to Amazon’s recent launch of Amazon Pharmacy to Uber and Lyft providing medical transports, tech giants have irrevocably changed how patients engage across the globe.  
But Big Pharma’s slow adoption of digital, consumer-centric marketing has put them at a disadvantage in this tech-enabled environment. The traditional focus on product-forward, science-heavy, HCP-centric marketing strategies doesn’t work when the consumer is king.  In fact, one of the tech giants’ key strengths is its understanding of its vast consumer base and its predictive analysis of what they want and how they want it. 
As pharma companies begin making more direct connections with consumers and humanizing their marketing strategies, it’s important to understand how to leverage Big Tech as part of your overall approach. 

Build Smarter Content, Not More Content
If Big Tech has accelerated an omnichannel approach to healthcare, it can also aid pharma marketers’ omnichannel marketing strategy.  Of course, building omnichannel content isn’t new to the pharma sector, but it hasn’t always managed it well. 

According to Accenture, “78% of marketers in pharma and biotech and 95% of marketers in medical technology say their organization is producing a moderate to enormous amount of digital content and assets.”

So you’re already drowning in content, and now you’re facing the need to build (and manage) consumer-focused, personalized content on top of it.

Big Tech has long had the ability to track, sort, and decipher consumer data, delivering actionable insights into people’s motivations and online behaviors. These data coupled with an always on marketing approach can help you build smarter, personalized, targeted content, not just more content.

Consumers Are Always On. Your Content Should Be Too.
Always on marketing may be a good answer to pharma’s immediate need to directly reach consumers. In short, it involves listening to and understanding different types of consumers while also anticipating what they want, finding the nuances and similarities across consumer behavior.  It seeks to understand not just consumer behavior but also the context for those behaviors so that you can anticipate consumer desires and push the right content to the right person at the right time.  

Other sectors, such as retail and CPG, have long used this approach to deliver a personalized brand experience.  But their marketing builds towards a product interaction for brand engagement, something not always available in the pharma sector.

Let D2C Show the Way
Pharma marketers may consider taking a page from the direct-to-consumer sector, which has found growing success despite the entire consumer journey taking place online without product interaction prior to purchase. Their always-on marketing is driven by hypersegmenting their consumers, meaning they must have a detailed understanding of consumers’ digital footprints to target and personalize their messaging.  This strategy helps to maximize content usage via AI and algorithms. 

However, hypersegmentation can be tricky in any industry due to a host of data and privacy concerns.  While consumers want a personalized brand experience, they don’t want their privacy invaded. With patient privacy already strictly regulated in the pharma sector, personalized messaging may be a challenge, but it’s not impossible.

Take a Cross-Functional Approach
The key to navigating these challenges is to take a cross-functional approach to your marketing.  Your marketing strategy should incorporate the needs and viewpoints of your tech, medical, legal, sales, operations, regulatory, and data team.  A collaborative approach will help to provide a 360-degree view of the strategy, and coupled with effective marketing technologies and automation, will help build an effective—and compliant—personalization strategy powered by tech, and it will allow you to make the most of the consumer data available.

Tech giants are revolutionizing how patients engage with healthcare systems around the world. They are enabling greater connectivity and engagement and are forcing pharma marketers to reevaluate both who they market to and how they deliver their messaging.  Big Tech is offering Big Pharma a means of reaching and understanding consumers in ways not previously possible.  If you can navigate the regulatory demands of data and patient privacy effectively, you can bring a level of personalization to your consumer marketing that helps build positive brand experiences—and brand loyalty.  


About Samantha Romano
With more than 15 years of experience in coordinating the proposal process from inception to final submittal, Samantha is a highly experienced proposal writer, having worked on a wide range of proposals, RFPs, RFIs, statements of qualification, and other sales-related documents to ensure a unified message and voice is achieved in key client deliverables.