top pharmaceutical marketing strategies and tips

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Top Pharmaceutical Marketing Strategies And Tips

Does your brand have solid promotional and marketing strategies to boost the sales of your pharmaceutical drugs?

Are you still using the traditional sales methods to encourage physicians to prescribe drugs and thus increase sales? 

Today, the pull strategy has replaced the traditional push strategy.

The pull strategy like direct-to-consumer marketing educates, engages, and persuades consumers to request promoted drugs from their physicians.

Alongside medical devices and health care services, the pharma industry is one of the big three global healthcare segments. It also receives $3.5 trillion US in healthcare spending.

This article will cover:

  • What is pharmaceutical marketing?
  • What pharma marketers do
  • Today's effective marketing strategies
  • Key factors in effective pharmaceutical marketing

Let's get started.

What Is Pharmaceutical Marketing?

Pharma marketing refers to the online and offline strategies used to attract new patients and increase awareness of drugs, medical devices, or treatment plans

Pharmaceutical companies are the brands that discover, design, and develop drugs used to prevent, treat, cure or diagnose diseases and other medical issues.

According to Statista, pharma revenues worldwide totaled 1.27 trillion U.S. dollars in 2020.

However, the industry has seen increased competition, changing regulations, and the eagerness of consumers to know more about healthcare.

Savvy pharma companies are doing all they can to get their products in front of healthcare professionals and patients alike.

For these reasons and more, the role of sales and marketing in the pharmaceutical industry has become progressively more and more critical.

And this has led to marketers and sales representatives getting larger budgets than R&D.  

The facts show that nearly all big pharmaceutical companies are now setting aside more money for sales and marketing than for research and development. 

For example, according to BBC, in just one year alone, the 10 largest pharma companies spent almost $100 billion on marketing, with less than $66 billion going to R&D.

That figure may sound astronomical, but in their defense, big pharma claims that doctors and consumers are not loyal to their products. And that is why they market massively and rigorously. 


When you seriously think about it, that in and of itself is not far-fetched. It takes 10 to 12 years for a new drug to go from discovery to market.

And that alone costs between $1.5 billion and $2.5 billion.

And that leaves a short window of 8-10 years on the patent for pharma companies to profit from their drugs.

Moreover, doctors and consumers are not loyal to a single drug or brand.

So, the question arises:

Where are pharma companies spending their marketing money?

where pharma companies are spending money

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According to Pew research, drug makers spend an average of $3 billion annually on direct-to-consumer marketing.

But selling and marketing directly to clinicians and other healthcare professionals gets the lion's share of around $24 billion.

What Pharma Marketers Do

Rules and regulations make it tough to market pharmaceuticals, but the ultimate goal is still brand exposure and engagement.

Brand visibility and engagement are not easy to attain in the current pharmaceutical space. 

A comprehensive and competitive marketing strategy is required.

But knowing where your audience spends time online is the first step in optimizing your marketing and advertising efforts.

And that is important because people search for diagnosis and assistance when they start experiencing medical symptoms.

So showing up where and when your consumers need you should be your primary goal. 

For instance, 53% of healthcare-related searches are from smartphones.

A mobile-friendly web experience is necessary to reach your audience. 
Another strategy that marketers use is to optimize your copy with extensive keyword research.

What keywords or keyphrases are used to look for your product? What pain points do you offer solutions to? 

How are consumers searching for solutions? What are some names of commonly known competitors? 

Savvy marketers use the answers to these questions to craft a copy that grabs attention, engages, and persuades your readers to take their desired action.

Having said that:

Marketers are responsible for developing pharmaceutical brands. They create brand strategies.

But their main job is on the messaging and positioning that focus on the patient.

Pharmaceutical marketers can help grow their brand by understanding consumer needs instead of creating or improving products.

They identify the pain points of their customers and find solutions for them.

However, health care technology is the key to this patient-centric approach. 

And so, today, pharma companies are using personalized and improved offerings that address the specific needs of patients throughout the health care value chain.

Outsourced and in-house pharma teams are helping brands benefit from a personalized, omnichannel approach to marketing.

And this approach uses different marketing strategies to communicate directly with consumers and healthcare professionals. 

However, up-to-date pharma marketers use precision marketing to target just a segment of consumers who need the information most using digital platforms.

Others are experimenting with programmatic advertising, which is the use of machine learning to automate and optimize the buying of digital advertising.

And this helps them serve targeted, dynamic and diverse ads based on their online visits and behavior. 

Being successful in specialty marketing to smaller segments with custom treatment offerings requires investment in technologies to take advantage of big data.

Social marketing helps marketers understand the best methods for delivering information in a way that produces behavior change.

Social media marketers dive more deeply into the social, cultural, economic, and ethical impacts of medicine.

And then they use these insights to personalize their approach to consumers. 

Marketers use the right information for the right channel

marketers use right information for the right channel

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Close to 85% of patients believe they can take responsibility for their health and access the online resources they need. 

More than ever before, there is a need for pharma marketers to inform and influence patients and other stakeholders.

Pharma companies that embrace the power of technologies and put the customer first, the opportunity is endless.

Ultimately, pharma marketers and sales representatives need to show the ROI for their marketing spend.

They have to showcase that they are spending their marketing money prudently and wisely so that their executive team can continue funding their activities.

Today's Effective Pharmaceutical Marketing Strategies

Digital technologies are increasingly changing how patients engage with pharma and purchase medical products.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry was going through a big change.

For instance, the global pharmaceutical online market is estimated to be worth $128 billion by 2023. And that is a growth of 341% since 2014. 

Online marketing makes it easy to target, and measurably engage with customers.

Pharma marketers can segment their audience and deliver effective omnichannel campaigns with personalized messaging that is tailored to each segment of the audience.

Automation technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), are used by pharma marketers. They are already impacting marketing.

The role of digital marketing is to explode in the coming years. 

2019 survey of bioscience and pharmaceutical executives showed that one-third of brands will be spending more than 50% of their budget on digital channels by the end of 2022.

Key Factors In Effective Pharmaceutical Marketing

key factors in effective pharma marketing

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As has been mentioned in this article, effective pharmaceutical marketing strategies need to center on the patient.

That involves creating personalized content.

Then promote it across multiple media channels, with solid ad performance measurement tactics. 

Pharmaceutical marketing is geared toward patients and doctors. 

Whether it is for doctors or patients, marketers need to produce high-quality, personalized content on the right platforms at the right time

Keep Your Marketing Centered On The Patient 

Patients are turning to the internet frequently for health information and that insight helps them to be more empowered than ever before. 

According to Pew research, 59% say they did so in the past year.

Nearly 77% of online health seekers say they began at a search engine like Google, Bing, or Yahoo. 

That means that most patients now have electronic access to their medical health information.

And they’re using search engines to understand their symptoms and discover available treatments. 

This makes it easy for pharma companies to reach patients directly. Brands can gently nudge patients to contact their healthcare provider and request treatment or therapy. 

At one time, HCPs were the center of pharmaceutical marketing. And patients got all healthcare information directly from them. 

But things have changed.

Now patients cross-reference the information that their healthcare brands provide. And pharma companies must adapt and accommodate this shift. 

By building trust and staying ahead of public perception, pharma companies can build their brands successfully.

Effective marketing focuses on providing solutions to the pain points of the patients.

One strategy that helps is tapping into patients’ media consumption habits to understand how patients prefer to receive their information.

And which platforms they use, and what specific information or data they are looking for. 

But to achieve this goal, the brand needs to implement advanced media targeting technology.

And it makes it easy for marketers to access valuable insights, data, and analytics that inform online behaviors.

A strategy that centers on the patient goes hand-in-hand with an empathetic approach.

That means that pharma brands need to support patient communities and remain consistent in their messaging when they’re recruiting patients for clinical trials and preparing to launch new products or drugs. 

patient-centric marketing

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Pharma companies that center their marketing strategy on patients support patient populations and maintain an ongoing conversation in the community.

Such an approach helps build and maintain patient engagement.

However, strategies that engage with patient engagement generally are effective during the pre-launch, research, and development phases.

The challenge for marketers is to identify where these patients are seeking information about available treatments, disease signs, and symptoms.

They also need to find out which networks they share their experiences with other patients. 

With the availability of so many mobile devices and social platforms, there is no single channel best used in patient-centric pharma marketing.

Patient-centric pharma marketing should consist of a multi-channel strategy. 

Use A Multichannel Approach

Multi-channel marketing combines many distributions and promotional channels into a single, unified strategy to attract customers. 

The channels used can be websites, retail stores, mail order catalogs, direct mail, social media, email, and mobile devices.

This approach efficiently and effectively communicates the value of a drug by taking advantage of the unique strengths of specific marketing channels.

In its most simplistic terms, multi-channel marketing is all about choice.

However, market research is essential for effective targeting. 

Mobile-first campaigns dominate the advertising scene because mobile devices have become very common.

Patients and HCPs use handheld devices, laptops, and phones to access healthcare information. 

Because of this multi-channel approach, a strategic blend of digital marketing is used to educate HCPs.

It is also used to provide valuable resources in an easily-digestible format for convenient consumption.

When you reach HCPs through the right platforms, it leads to better treatment outcomes.

Because HCPs have the resources needed to support patients throughout their treatment journey. 

Also, incorporating a multimedia approach empowers sales representatives with the support they need to make sales and boost marketing ROI.

Integrating all platforms makes it easy to develop communication across multiple channels.

For instance, you can seamlessly connect your consistent messaging across landing pages, social media campaigns, and search ads.

When you spread a unified message across multiple channels, you promote brand awareness.

And such promotion makes it easy to carry patients and HCPs alike throughout the marketing funnel.

Use Personalized Content

use personalized content

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Personalized content uses specific information about consumers to create a unique experience between an individual and your pharma brand. 

The data helps the algorithms know who viewed your website or social media. It also lets you know who is receiving an email from you.

With personalization, you will know if they are a man or woman, their age, location, and even their interests.

This marketing strategy makes it easy for you to better connect with your customers and drive engagement.

The numbers say that personalization is what people shopping for products want.

Statistics show that about 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with companies that present them with personalized offers and recommendations.

On the other hand, about 74% of online shoppers are frustrated when web content doesn’t target their interests.

How do you use personalized content to achieve your goals?

All marketing efforts indeed need to communicate a consistent message.

Content should be strategically personalized for each audience. 

The techniques pharma brand uses to convert HCPs won’t necessarily be effective for patients. 

And that's because HCP and patient audiences are not researching the same information. 

Also, they are not using the same platforms or looking for the same benefits from pharma companies. 

Therefore, targeted and effective campaign messaging needs to reflect these differences. 

Even though an empathic approach may resonate best with your patients, your healthcare professionals may respond and engage with a more analytical, data-based approach.

Having said that:

Pharma marketers must have a genuine understanding of the distinction between communications that center on the patient and one that centers on HCPs.

This makes it easy to implement an effective campaign.

But on what platforms?

Your digital platforms are best for personalization. They are offering better personalization capabilities than ever before.

For instance, you can personalize your messaging based on demographics, geographics, and behaviors.

And this segmentation significantly improves engagement and conversions through campaigns. 

Today, pharma companies can use the right marketing tools and technologies to develop incredibly accurate, and compliant targeting features to market to the right audiences, on the right platforms, at the most effective times. 

Measuring Ad Performance

measuring ad performance

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An effective pharma marketing strategy measures the success of your advertisements.


If you don’t have a strategy that measures the success of your advertising campaigns, how will you know what is working and what is not? 

Identifying what is working and what is not is looking into the key metrics and KPIs that support individual marketing objectives.

Having this is essential for improving future strategies.

On the other hand, if you don't have this data, you may budget money for marketing ineffectively on platforms that are not producing an ideal return.

Pharma marketers must be consistent from the research and development phase to the post-launch in analyzing data.

And using these insights to adjust their future strategies accordingly.

Set strict KPIs and deadlines to monitor how effective the campaign is from the beginning to the end.

After you set up the KPIs and deadlines, analyze data from each campaign and identify the most effective platforms, messaging, audiences, and devices for advertising.

But don't spend valuable time monitoring any KPIs or metrics. 

Choose your metrics carefully to avoid repetition and dead-end performance measurements.

Such measurements don’t contribute to your main goal.

Instead, identify the metrics that align closest with each marketing objective to determine the true success of your campaign.

Connect each KPI with the end ROI to measure ad performance appropriately.

Hire A Professional Agency

The pharma industry is one of the most difficult industries for creating web copy and advertising.

But we understand that better than most pharma copywriters. 

We are experienced in navigating through strict federal regulations and limitations and developing human-centric campaigns.

And we do so without compromising on the quality or effectiveness of advertisements. 

We help YOU get on the right track when developing and launching new marketing campaigns for your pharmaceutical company.

You get a creative agency with subject matter experts and skills when it comes to design, development, SEO copy (search engine optimization copy ), and marketing.

By working with an agency that brands pharmaceutical companies, we help you create the appeal necessary to attract visitors to your website and followers on your social media platforms.

You get a team that will help you launch campaigns that provide results.

Are you are interested in creating PPC (pay-per-click) advertisements or do you prefer using social media marketing on platforms such as Facebook Ads or Instagram Ads?

You GET an agency that will deliver the results you NEED with your budget. 

Final Thoughts On Your Top Marketing Strategies And Tips

The pharmaceutical industry is HUGE. It is worth more than $934 billion, and this figure is expected to rise to over $1.17 trillion by 2022. 

With over $27 billion on marketing, pharma marketers have their work cut out.

However, pharma marketers face HUGE challenges. 

And that is regardless of whether they are marketing to doctors or patients. 

An outsourced pharma agency can craft great web copy, stay on top of SEO, define their audiences, and deal with many challenges.

Offering a patient-centric wow experience will continue to become the focus.

Therefore, pharma marketers should race to meet their consumer needs.

They NEED to get a handle on customer satisfaction, deliver user-first experiences, and use content marketing to build rapport and brand awareness.

You should contact us to start using the strategies discussed in this article to boost your brand visibility and generate more sales.

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