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There’s a New Paradigm in People-Based Marketing, and Pharma Marketers Need to Embrace It Now

As marketers, we can feel a significant shift in our industry. Consumer resistance to traditional mass advertising has reached a tipping point, and the proliferation of ad blocking utilities and general ad blindness make it clear that people are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of marketing messages and are tired of being “marketed at.”  

In the face of this consumer response, brands are challenged with finding new ways to engage audiences on a personal level, while developing effective outreach strategies that don’t trigger the same negative reaction. In healthcare, we face the additional challenge of delivering personalized messaging amid significant obstacles of federal regulation and personal privacy concerns.

The time to embrace people-based marketing in pharma is now—but how?

Now more than ever, pharma marketers have an opportunity to build personal and direct relationships at scale and can find opportunities to leverage people-based marketing (PBM) to reach both consumers (patients, caregivers) and healthcare providers (HCPs) on a deeper level, and drive measurable results.

But moving to PBM is no easy feat. Here are three fundamental practices that will help pharma marketers to begin realizing the benefits of PBM:

1. Making data a pivotal part of your planning.

As wearables and the Internet of Things continue to become enmeshed in the daily lives of both consumers and HCPs, the volume of device-driven healthcare data is increasing exponentially. In addition, rapid advances in data intelligence, machine learning, and AI are creating new frontiers in healthcare. They’re ushering in a renewed focus on the patient-provider experience and making it imperative for marketers to connect with both patients and HCPs on a deeper level.

Leading pharma marketers must consider how this deluge of data will impact their approaches to crafting messaging, benchmarking data, and automating marketing processes.

2. Keeping brand storytelling as a top priority.

A solid brand story is still the heart of any successful marketing strategy. As PBM continues to disrupt the healthcare market, the effectiveness of awareness strategies will be rapidly eclipsed by journey-based storytelling that addresses a specific audience at a specific touchpoint on a specific device. Smart pharma marketers are already establishing brand messaging that provides greater depth and has a tighter focus on behavioral goals related to key journey milestones.

3. Using the right marketing technology.

By using device IDs instead of the traditional cookie, PBM opens a new realm of possibilities for creating a detailed and holistic view of consumers and HCPs throughout their individual journeys. We can now recognize and respond to targeted users across devices and digital touchpoints, shifting the one-to-many approach to an effective one-to-one delivery that allows us to meet the “right person, right message, right time” promise. But this is not easy! Those marketers who are able to align their marketing technology strategy and customer strategy will have the most success. In addition, it’s important to have the right technology partnerships in place to navigate and integrate today’s leading platforms.

Pharma marketers who embrace PBM as the new gold standard of marketing will be at the forefront of driving business results, as their efforts heal some of the damage left behind by impersonal mass advertising, replacing it with deep, connected relationships that build a community of loyal brand advocates.