With the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating the adoption of new technology, it’s a good time to consider the changes we’ve seen in MedComms over the last few years, ponder those that may be to come, and take stock of where we are right now. As communications trends and practicalities continue to ebb and flow, are the nuts and bolts of communication strategies still the same? Or do we need to consider more aggressive changes to the way we reach out to our HCP partners on behalf of our clients?
As this first quarter of the 21st century wanes, Medical Communications is traditionally, and still, the most analogue of the communications and marketing disciplines. The use of technology is on the rise, and our industry needs to continue to work to become much more hybridised. Pharma is going through a digital revolution, and HCPs are often more digitally empowered. There is much more digital health literacy amongst patients, with health apps and websites providing a wealth of health information at the fingertips of anyone who cares to reach for it.
This digital revolution means we are generating and storing more data than ever before. We can use this to develop tactics and techniques to reach HCPs digitally or improve the learning journey of the HCP with digital technologies and enhancements.
So how do we digitally enhance a typically analogue industry?
The role of our digital team is to enhance communications digitally; maximising engagement of each part of the communication process and extending reach through digital means.
Digital deliverables can include a menu of items such as websites, emails, interactive videos, podcasts, virtual meetings, webinars, social media and e-learning.
Our communications take readers on a journey from awareness, through to being advocates of the message, via receptiveness and confidence. How can digital enhancements help with this?
Let’s take the example of inviting HCPs to attend an event, either virtual or in-person.
The first thing our digital team might do is set up a datahub, a micro website housing all the content we can use to encourage attendance. Video clips, summaries, and other teaser content on the datahub gives readers a feel of what the event will be like, and a feeling that this is something they cannot afford to miss! Something traditionally analogue – like a poster – can be digitised and included. The opportunities here are endless.
So, we have our datahub. How do we tell HCPs about it? We would often use an email. Email is regularly the glue that holds communication strategies together. It’s simple, but it’s a great way to bring HCPs to the first stage of the journey, awareness. There is nothing ground-breaking here – but often simple things are key. Email is a powerful channel for us to leverage, and the emails of 2021 are not the emails of 2010.
A/B subject line testing, personalisation, interactivity; all examples which can be employed to increase open rates on emails and, essentially, engagement with the content. Once aware of the message in the email and engaging with the content the hub provides, the HCP is more receptive of the message we are sending.
As we move towards bringing our HCPs through confidence into advocacy – what other digital enhancements are useful?
We could build anticipation with a digital agenda, ask them to interact with polls and reveal the response at the event, include up to date changes and additional speakers for example as they are confirmed.
After the event, email and digital technologies mean we can continue to speak to the HCPs, providing relevant content that is useful to them. This could be in the form of slides and videos from the event, chapterised content for ease of reading, blogs and ongoing educational materials.
The beauty of digital is that we are in the constant cycle of refine, implement, measure, learn. We have so much data. We know exactly who has opened our email and which links they have clicked. We know how long they spent reading those links. We can resend an email to everyone who didn’t open it, and send the second email to those who have opened and read the first. We know exactly who attended an online webinar, and what questions they asked, so we can send relevant follow up information.
All of this data can be used to improve further communications and develop new ideas.
If you are ready to harness innovation and creativity, and take your communications to the next level, our digital team are ready and waiting for their next challenge!
https://primeglobalpeople.com/contact-us/ for more information.