think these are all critical aspects to what that engagement
model looks like moving forward.”
According to Humphreys, part of creating relevant con-
tent for the hospital physician is understanding the restric-
tions these doctors are under. Not only do they have less
freedom in prescribing choices under formulary restric-
tions, they have to understand and adhere to the treatment
guidelines of that hospital or health system.
“But also, those physicians are held to different quality
metrics, whether it’s different compensation and perfor-
mance packages based on quality, or patient satisfaction,”
Humphreys says. “Oftentimes you have to communicate
the larger suite or features of a product rather than just the
clinical benefits. How can this help that physician with pa-
tient satisfaction, or how can this brand fit into quality met-
rics that they’re being held to within the health system?”
In many ways when creating content, “it’s not looking
at these hospital-based physicians too differently than we
would non-hospital-based physicians because it’s digital,”
Spitz told Med Ad News.
“That’s the great part of doing digital marketing, in that we
can transcend that no-access boundary because these physicians who are in hospital setting and within large physician
groups, from a digital vantage point and in terms of a digital
fingerprint, are quite similar and often identical to their compatriots who are in this single-office setting,” Spitz says.
When hospital-based physicians go online, “They’re visiting very much the same Websites and platforms where
we do many of our contextual ads and placements as the
physicians who are in single offices,” Spitz notes. “So even
though that they’re consolidating, even though they are less
accessible to reps, a lot of the behaviors don’t really change
when they get consolidated, and when they put the sign on
the door that they don’t really want to see sales reps, they’re
still going to many of the platforms and many of the sites
where we are placing our ads.
“And these sites and our ad placements are very mindful
of the fact that most of them how have smartphones and
tablets as well.”
Agencies and their clients must now think of how they
can provide value with their content.
“We’re in the relationship business rather than the infor-
mation blasting business,” Spitz says. “I think that’s becoming
increasingly important and it’s becoming increasingly feasible
with the impressive digital technology at our fingertips.”
This means the pharma industry can get away from
“buying an e-mail list and blasting a bunch of physicians
to really understanding their digital fingerprint, tracking
them throughout the continuum of the relationship, using
the data back end to really learn their preferences and kind
of grow together in that relationship, and extend a relation-
ship with the brand to provide continuous value rather than
using them as a traditional audience that we just shoot a
bunch of content to,” Spitz states.
Avoid the apps, go for the bots
Even just a few years ago, when it came developing programs for mobile messaging, pharma marketers were looking to create their own apps. The hope was that physicians
would download them and use them.
That is not the case these days. In fact, agencies are trying
to steer their clients away from creating their own apps as
part of a mobile marketing strategy.
“I believe every brand when considering an app needs to
ask themselves the question, what value am I going to be
giving to the user?” Cullman says.
With finite budgets, marketers really need to consider
whether it’s effective to create an app and try and compel
physicians to download it, install it, learn to use it, and actually use it more than once.
“Each step along the way has a tremendous amount of
atrophy built into it, even if you’re performing optimally,”
Cullman comments. “If you’re going to spend the marketing dollar to drive a physician to an app store to make that
selection of an application and download your application,
I would challenge every brand to ask themselves, is that
dollar better spent in search, in nonpersonal communication, in some other form of targeted communication.
“Many of the brands we work with are looking for some
form of an awareness message, more to let the physicians
know that there is a value to interacting with the brand.
Can you deliver that value inside of an app? Can you do it
repeatedly, and give that physician the sense of whimsy or
excitement that they get from opening a lot of these other
applications on their phone? Remember, you’re competing
for attention and space – both memory space on the phone
and share of voice. If you can’t answer that question with a
lot of confidence, I’d say you might want to consider your
app strategy and using something else, whether or not it’s
working with another app inside that space to make sure
you have a share of voice from an advertising perspective.”
Of the more than 165,000 healthcare consumer qualified apps selected for review from the Apple iOS and Google app platforms in an IMS Institute for Healthcare Infor-matics 2015 study, only 36 of them accounted for nearly
half of all downloads, “and most of them have limited to
no functionality,” according to Spitz.
“From a pharma marketing view, there is almost nothing
that you can meaningfully do most of the time to really get
the ROI that justifies the exercise in the first place,” Spitz
says. “Apps have gone from the holy grail of digital health
and pharma marketing to just kind of a shrug and bare silence at best. We don’t dismiss them all together, we feel
that apps do have their time and their place, if they’re strategically right in terms of the brand and what it wants to do.
“There are a lot of unbranded opportunities that have
been fulfilled for pharma in the app space, but getting the
busy physician to download them and use them even more
than once is something of a challenge. So in lieu of develop-
ing a costly app, and the keeping your fingers crossed that
the professionals are actually going to use them more than
once we instead gear more towards these non-personal
promotion and relationship management style programs
that use more of an omnichannel approach.”
This approach can reach the physician from multiple
angles throughout the course of a day “in a way that’s actu-
ally relevant to their practice, providing value to their prac-
tice in terms of them understanding their patients better
and provide the right treatment for the right patient at the
right time in the right way, rather than spending a lot of
time and money developing an app that has questionable
value,” Spitz says.
Traini says when it came to hospital-based physicians
in “closed’ systems, pharma initially found apps appealing
because surveys indicated that doctors would use tools as
long as there is value there.
“So I think when apps first came out, everyone was
rushing, it was like, oh, we can do anything on an app, and
doctors are going to download and use it,” Traini says. “I
think now, clients and from the agency side, we’re really
looking at things, and saying what is the value to the cus-
tomer, what is the value to the patient, and just trying to
be smarter about how we’re building mobile technology
or mobile tactics.”
According to Spitz, “the good news there is that clients
have come to realize that the app hype has kind of burned
Now what a lot of Klick’s clients are asking about are
bots, he told Med Ad News.
“At Klick we’re actually researching them, we’re work-
ing with clients on actually trying to make them happen,”
Spitz comment. “We’re mindful of keeping them compli-
ant, keeping our clients’ faith, but at the same time enter-
ing a new and exciting space which we really think is not
only going to change the face of marketing, but the face of
digital and how we interact with services and each other.
Bots are a really big deal we think and we’re just dipping
our toes into their potential.”
Traditionally, search works by relying on the user to do
the heavy lifting.
“If you go to Google and type in, ‘I’ve got a headache,’ you
get a bunch of links and some metadata that pop up on the
results page,” Spitz says. “And now you have to get some-
one to sift through all those results and then if you’re lucky,
you get to a Website. And then when you’re at the Website,
you have to search through the Website for the information
that you’re looking for. And oftentimes one Website leads
to another Website leading to another Website that leads
to another page. You’re clicking and reading and clicking
and reading, and you’re searching and working hard to get
the information that you need.”
Bots take in the info you are looking for, asking a series
of questions to refine your results. “You know the game 20
Questions?” Spitz says. “A bot kind of works the same way.
Based upon the answer to the last question they gave you,
it’s increasingly narrowed down your search. It provides a
service to you without you having to go and dig for it.
“And in healthcare, that’s mindblowing, because [bots
will affect] everything from symptom management to
making recommendations for treatments to sending you
information to share with your doctor to providing down-
loadable assets and education. Instead of patients and pro-
fessionals and even caregivers having to go look for this
stuff, they’ll be adding questions into a box and this artifi-
cial intelligence will be narrowing down their query to the
point where it can provide the information, the product, or
service that they’re looking for, without the user having to
keep searching and searching and reading and reading.”
Spitz says the role that pharma can play with these bots
is to create contextually relevant information that the bots
will provide based upon the personalized input of the user.
EMRs and EHRs
One place physicians are “going” to on their phones, espe-
cially in hospitals, are patients’ electronic medical records
and electronic health records. Agency experts say there are
opportunities for pharma to share relevant content there.
“What you have to be cognizant of there, it’s the quality of
engagement and what they’re doing at the time that they’re
accessing an EHR or an EMR,” Mackie says. “There’s an
opportunity to be very targeted and oftentimes with the dif-
ferent platforms, if there’s an advertising/media opportuni-
ty there you can be very targeted but you also have to be ex-
tremely thoughtful of your message and how it’s relevant.”
Mackie and Pinto say Greater Than One has talked with
many EHR and EMR providers about coordinating to cre-
ate a better platform, and has done some advertising pro-
grams on EHRs/EMRs for clients. “We have done adver-
tising on EMRs, the big thing there is the content actually
has to fit the context,” Mackie says. “This means what is the
doctor actually trying to achieve in that context, where he’s
already written a script and he’s trying to do something else.
You’re not going to be able to interrupt, it’s not a great op-
portunity for interruption-style marketing. It’s a great op-
portunity to get a simple message, if the content is relevant
to the context of what the physician is doing.”
According to Traini, one thing EHRs can do is allow
search-through lists that mine the EHRs and claims data.
“A lot of those most useful tactics are in the realm of pa-
tient identification and screeners,” he says. “Can you give
the doctor a population screening tool that can help them
identify at-risk patients for something? Is there way some
mobile diabetes management tool helps the patient track
their glucose? Maybe it’s sent to the doctor in some way
through mobile technology.”
Ultimately, just about every pharma marketer has to be-
lieve in the power of mobile.
“The secret truth, the real truth, is that mobile is here
and it’s understood, it’s everyone’s remote control for life,
including physicians,” Mackie says. “So there’s no need to
convince anyone that mobile is needed, its just implicit in
what we do. But the big implication and the real challenge
is that when you think of how people are accessing content,
it’s more and varied types of content. How much content
can you afford to support?”
Pinto says it’s easy to convince clients of how integrated
mobile just about everywhere. “The best way to challenge
any clients who doesn’t believe in mobile is to have them
sit in a room for one hour and take their phone away,” she
says. “They’ll start twitching in 20 minutes!” medadnews