Digitization has touched every aspect of our life. And keeping with the trend there has been revolutionary changes in the health care industry. Pharmaceutical companies, all over the world, are experimenting with digitization with the purpose of holding attention, creating unique brand engagements and watching brand equity with health care professionals. A vast number of researches and publications have documented the importance of digital marketing in pharmaceutical promotion globally.

A research study involving the global pharmaceutical scenario reveals the following data:

  • In 2009, 38% of the healthcare professionals were digitally native. In 2014 the number rose to 51% and is expected to further rise to 67% in 2020.
  • The top four areas patients proactively seek or review information are medications, chronic conditions, healthcare services and ailments.
  • More than 68% of patients remain online for many hours a day and want pharmaceutical companies to reach them through various digital channels like email, website, social media and mobile apps.

Now this was the global scenario. Coming to the Indian scenario what we see is that pharmaceutical companies here are opting for new technologies by moving away from the old school advertising/ promoting techniques. The new technologies are characterised by certain interesting features like scientific detailing to doctors, new set of rules for better insight into issues and many more.

Indegene, a Bangalore-based market research firm has published a report recently which states:

  • An estimated rise of about 50% in the marketing area of pharmaceutical industry in the next two years.
  • Social media and mobile app will be playing a vital role in the rise.

Gaurav Kapoor, the executive vice president of Indegene was quoted saying, “This will help India catch up with tech-savvy emerging markets peers like China, where nearly half the companies are expected to allocate more than a fifth of their marketing budget to digital marketing by 2018”.

Many pharmaceutical companies like Sun Pharma and Abbott have already started implementing digital marketing techniques. Earlier this year Sun Pharma came up with the mobile app RespiTrack that centres around patient awareness on asthma. Abbott Healthcare also introduced several tools like Knowledge Genie, apps for heart and liver and vertigo exercises.

In India, the pharmaceutical sector is not completely able to implement multi-channel campaigns owing to several problems. Although the sector has started utilizing digital marketing strategies, it has a long way to go.