Summary: In this era of web 2.0 the patients and their relatives have become more aware to research about the medicines prescribed. This has leaded to change in target audience from just doctors / KOL’s to patients, friends and relatives. Pharmaceutical companies have started facing a challenge to address information to this new breed of target audience.
For long, the pharma companies have been promoting their products, which only influenced doctors, chemists and people connected to the industry. No matter how hard the companies tried they were hardly able to address their target audience. With the opening of Indian markets international pharmaceutical companies launched their portfolio of products, which lead to increase in competition and the need to differentiate from the clutter of products. Along with this, the internet penetration has increased leading to more consumers researching online about different products. Now, the question, most product / brand managers are searching, “How should a pharmaceutical company communicate to their target audience about its niche product?
The time has come for pharmaceutical companies need to target their audience directly. Now here the target audience is not only the doctors and medical fraternity, but also the patients, their relatives and friends. The TA is now much more informed about the purchasing decisions; they know what they need and how to get it. The pharmaceutical company should communicate directly to its consumers through information about the diseases, about symptoms and more information.
The new age marketing will focus and develop disease, as a category develop, rather than mass awareness about disease symptoms which the TA is already aware off. The communications should be online as well as offline focusing on effects about a particular deficiency, online forums, support group meetings, publicize disease specific docs, disease information brochures, etc. Along with this, the brand managers should also focus on information route channels like key opinion leader interactions with TA, media and events. Some of the days which can be publicized are:
- World Heart Day
- Breast Cancer Awareness Day
- Hepatitis Awareness Day
- World Anti- Tobacco Day
- World AIDS Day
Even doctors / KOL’s should be aware about the products and side effects, since the informed patients always do a background research for prescribe products.
The process usually is, a patient is prescribed medicines of a particular brand by the doctor, the patient usually will ask for questions pertaining to the medicine. The patient then further checks online for more in – depth information, checks different websites, online forums, etc. Once the patient is satisfied with the information, they feel assured about doctor’s prescription, else they re – check with the doctor.
This also helps to promote the brand further by the same patients who become the brand ambassadors of the information, by spreading word – of – mouth publicity. The reason behind this is most consumers once they acquire information, they become knowledgeable and converse about it to their friends and near ones they meet about the disease, the doctor they need to consult and medicines.
To conclude, in this age of information technology, it has become more important for pharmaceutical companies to create awareness and feed information, rather than hide information, since information feeders have become absolute after web 2.0.