Blog about successful marketing strategies in russia

Specifics of Maintaining Communication with the Audience in Pharma Industry

border
Instuments

B2B MARKETING

Share this Post

In the current situation, when digital is becoming one of the major promotion channels in pharma, it is important to develop relationships properly with all audience segments via proper channels.

Key audience segments for pharma companies (pharmaceutical manufacturers):

  • Doctors. Communication with doctors through various online channels (email, messengers, webinars, and online meetings).
  • E-pharmacies and e-commerce. Distance selling of beauty and health products, including medicines.
  • Ultimate customers. Use of digital channels to promote medication.

How Digital Changes Communication with Doctors and Customers

The new reality, caused by pandemic consequences, led to changes of not only consumer demand, but also very marketing technologies. Digital technologies, which used to develop evolutionarily and enter the distribution and communication system gradually, came to the fore. While the efficiency of digital ROI used to be a hot topic of discussion not long ago, today, when this channel became most accessible, the issue has got a decidedly different tone.

  • According to Ipsos, the share of digital in communication with doctors increased from 12% in January 2020 to almost 40% in early April 2020.
  • It is obvious that digital does not fully replace historically customary face-to-face communications. According to the data of Ipsos, the share of telephone communication with doctors increased from 7% in early April 2020 to 53% in mid-April against the background of the pandemic.

According to forecasts of Oleg Feldman, Managing Director of Ipsos Healthcare Russia, as soon as quarantine restrictions are removed, the communication structure in the pharma industry will be revised. A new format will most likely combine a face-to-face approach with digital technologies.

As Feldman noted, key factors for digital communications to succeed in pharma is availability of proper content, a great demand for information, and doctors having free time. That said, players in the market will have to change an approach for dealing with content in digital in order to strive for a positive perception of this channel by both doctors and ultimate customers, the expert added.

How Pharma Companies Adapted Marketing Strategies during Lockdown 2020

Amid the pandemic, the marketing focus of pharmaceutical brands was changed to digital. In response to the ongoing changes, a pharmaceutical manufacturer Alium transferred most of its communication to digital while sustaining intense activeness on TV, told Dmitry Drykin, Executive Director of the company.

Pharma companies went digital too quickly and turned out to be not ready for that in terms of infrastructure, content, and expert competence, believes Denis Vyaznikov, General Director of RX Code.

One of challenges is a need to move medical representatives to the format of distant communications as their quick functioning normalization is hardly possible even after removal of lockdown measures, adds Denis Patrashev, General Manager Russia in Galderma.

Today, pharma companies continue investments in large-scale communications, notes Daria Kurkina, Group Account Director in Carat. According to her estimate, it is driven not only by the fact that the consumption in the category does not drop dramatically, but also by experience of previous crises that showed effectiveness of this strategy.

E-Pharmacies Leading in 2020 Sales by Category

At year-end 2020, the rating of Top 100 online stores by Data Insight included 13 e-pharmacies. At that, an average spend in pharmacies has actually been static, while the number of orders and profit increased by 60% and 64% respectively on average. In 2020, online sales generated almost 63 million orders and more than 100 billion rubles for e-pharmacies mentioned in the rating. It is worthy of note that almost half of orders and earnings from online sales belong to apteka.ru, a leader of the pharmacy rating.

Rank

Stores

Online sales, M RUB

Growth

Orders, K

Growth

Average spend

Growth

8

apteka.ru

50,070

46%

32,240

48%

1,550

-2%

42

eapteka.ru

9,010

136%

3,400

109%

2,650

13%

52

zdravcity.ru

6,140

139%

3,270

134%

1,880

3%

63

planetazdorovo.ru

4,980

67%

3,300

66%

1,510

1%

67

apteka-ot-sklada.ru

4,660

1%

3,400

-2%

1,370

2%

73

монастырёв.рф

4,110

50%

2,340

49%

1,760

1%

74

minicen.ru

4,080

39%

2,530

36%

1,610

2%

79

apteka63plus.ru

3,890

55%

2,530

53%

1,540

1%

80

stolichki.ru

3,820

85%

2,060

82%

1,850

1%

83

gorzdrav.org

3,720

146%

1,690

141%

2,200

2%

93

vitaexpress.ru

3,060

22%

2,120

20%

1,440

1%

95

zhivika.ru

3,040

42%

2,620

39%

1,160

3%

97

zdorov.ru

2,960

0%

1,480

-1%

2,000

2%

Source: Data Insight, Top 100 Online Stores: 2020 Rating

The COVID-19 pandemic induced a significant change in consumer behavior and demand for user experience. The year of 2020 highlighted the importance of the omnichannel strategy for retailers due to a closure of offline venues and a colossal load on online ones. Along with that, a driver of growth of medicine online sales was a federal law enacted in April 2020, which let pharma companies sell and consumers buy OTC drugs in online stores and marketplaces.

In total, the year of 2020 in Russia saw online sales of OTC drugs for 5 billion 627 million rubles, according to the E-Commerce Association (AKIT). The average spend was 2,327 rubles. Despite huge numbers, the share of medicine online sales in the total e-commerce turnover was less than half a percentage point.

Marketing Development Recommendations for Pharma Companies

  • Omnichannel and development of the digital ecosystem. Marketplaces definitely provide pharma companies with new audiences, but the main traffic still comes from official pages of drugstores and pharma brand representatives, that is why use all possible online channels of communication with users.
  • Tactical optimization. In order to avoid diminishing returns of communications, brands should focus on spot setting up in terms of both the channels and the product portfolio (a separate advertising campaign for every key brand in the company portfolio).
  • Video communications. Brands should use advantages of the increasing video watching, as well as pay their attention to channels with a stable or fast-growing audience, for example, YouTube and TikTok.
  • Situational work with content. Depending on the informational environment, audience preferences chance rapidly. Nowadays, there is a fatigue with news content and shifting attention onto entertainment one. Besides, an emerging digital role necessitates adaptation of content for digital consumption towards more compact and targeted communication.
  • Personalized communication with doctors and pharmacists. Taking into account an increased load on specialists, brands should use channels that are comfortable for communication and can be approximated to customary face-to-face interaction (video meetings, messengers).
  • Product promotion via opinion leaders—doctors and pharmacists. Doctors' opinions traditionally enjoy high confidence of consumers. Same deal with social media. Moreover, this blogger segment is not overloaded with ads.

This article uses content from AdIndex and Kommersant.

Russian Digital Market Overview 2021

Complete Guide to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy in the Russian Market

Download for free

Download for FREE

Ready to partner with the specialists in Russian marketing and advertising?

Contact us

About the Author

Head of Digital, editor-in-chief of the RMAA Agency Blog

Author Yulia Vasilyeva
Cookies on Russia-Promo.com

We use cookies to improve your online experience. Take a look at our Cookie Policy to learn more and change your preferences.
By continuing to use our website we assume you are happy to allow the use of these cookies.

More information