4 Key Takeaways from Digital Pharma East

The 2016 Digital Pharma East event recently wrapped, and now comes the fun part – putting all those big ideas into practice.

Fittingly, the theme of this year’s event was “Truly Embedding Digital Across Your Enterprise,” drawing hundreds of attendees representing both pharma and product and services providers (including several Aptus Health folks and our customers). Many of the conversations that took place on stage and off underscore the projects we’re working on with our clients.

Here are just a few of the key themes we heard, and our take on addressing them with solutions that exist today: Takeaway #1: Despite its relatively low percentage of spend today, it’s expected that the Pharma’s promotional spend on digital is expected to increase significantly over the next five years

The single-digit percentage cited still represents nearly $2 billion in digital spending, and there’s no doubt this is on the rise. The challenge is making sure that digital spending is made wisely. For us, that means that digital campaigns must align with our clients’ real-world activity. For example, when one of our clients experienced a significant redeployment of in its field force, we were able to swiftly adapt the cadence and content of our outreach to mitigate the impact of this disruption on NRx lift.

Secondly, this spend has to be coordinated across campaigns and measured in a consistent way (the importance of a disciplined framework on how to plan, track, and measure multichannel marketing was, incidentally, another key theme of this year’s event). That’s the hallmark of our multi-channel engagement strategies, in which the sum of our precision targeting, educational, and patient to-physician feedback solutions deliver greater value than the parts alone.

Takeaway #2: Many pharma companies try too hard to get people to come to them, instead of meeting them where they are.

This observation, made during a presentation from David Goren of Astra-Zeneca, reflects one of the key areas in which this industry is still catching up to other consumer industries. To that end, we’ve been able to demonstrate the incredible power of mobile to help brands proactively engage both HCPs and healthcare consumers in key messages at the point of decision making. These campaigns are contextually relevant enough to not only understand where people are going in the real world — but also what motivates them to act in those real-world scenarios.

That means factoring in other characteristics that influence and drive health decisions — such as insurance access, purchasing patterns, demographic and psychographic markers, behavioral indicators, and more — to deliver at scale, more meaningful and more accurate segmentation and campaign targeting that people actually appreciate and value. In short, meeting them where they are, both literally and figuratively, to drive outcomes.

Takeaway #3: Different audiences need different messages, and there are more audiences than you are probably thinking about.

This theme was central to the session we presented on Day 1 of Digital Pharma East, in which Brad Davidson, PhD, spoke to the need to target with precision. For example, when it comes to introducing a new cancer immunotherapy, oncologists are the obvious target audience. Yet there are other highly influential audiences –such as the oncology nurses, referrers, and other members of the care team who also represent potential value to a brand launching such a therapy.

Not surprisingly, these audiences respond to different messages. These preferences were illuminated by data from a recent survey of HCP members of our web and mobile platform that showed, for example, that 59% of oncologists are interested in diagnosis information, compared to the 80% of pathologists who might be referrers. And while 43% of oncologists say they’re interested in patient support materials and programs, nearly 60% of nurse practitioners (PAs) and physician assistants (PAs) find this type of information valuable, given the roles they tend to play in patient care.

In short, when it comes to engaging HPCs, there’s no such thing as a “set it and forget it” approach – the real impact comes from a smart, data driven approach and a messaging strategy designed to engage across the entire patient journey.

Takeaway #4: The future of digital health engagement will use artificial intelligence (AI) in big ways.

Big bets are being made by large and small technology companies who believe the use of voice recognition, augmented reality, machine learning, and advanced data and analytics will truly transform how health and life science companies connect with HCPs and consumers. One presentation in particular underscored the point that major companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to accelerate the use of these technologies and testing different models of engagement. The full force of this investment and innovation should generate change in a rapidly evolving marketplace. One key question for Aptus is where we will play in this AI space in the future? Establishing strong partners is likely the right path.

Thank you to all who joined in the conversation this week in Philadelphia. Contact us at info@aptushealth.com to learn how we can help put these trends to practice!

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