Intelligent, Adaptive Marketing on Social Media: Opportunities for the Pharma Industry
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Intelligent, Adaptive Marketing on Social Media: Opportunities for the Pharma Industry

The Pharma industry is one of the most challenging industries globally; not just in terms  of huge investment in product (drug) development but also in terms of market access and end-customer (patient) adoption. These challenges are driven by the heavy regulation of both product development and commercialization. The variance in the therapeutic effects in real world patient population only further complicates the pharmaceutical business. It takes a lot of investment ( 1Bn USD of expense over 10 year time frame  in designing, developing and registering a new molecular entity before it can be commercially manufactured and distributed in the open market. The advertising & promotion for most drugs are heavily regulated and is usually influenced by an eco-system of governments, Pharma companies, physicians, insurance providers, equipment manufacturers, pharmacists and end-users. All of these put together makes this industry a complex maze especially from a marketer’s ability to communicate effectively with the target audience.

The challenge associated with assessing the unmet needs of the multiple stakeholders in the health care value chain (Patients, Physicians, Payers and Regulators) is primarily that of communication and it begs for an effective solution that satisfies the channel and content requirements of different stakeholders.

Social Media solutions for Pharmaceutical Industry

One of the biggest strengths of social media, in contrast to traditional one-way media (TV, Print, Radio etc), is the fact that it’s a three way channel which intuitively fosters collaboration; effective marketing/communication can happen by default. In the case of Pharma, multiple stakeholders interact on brand channels, neutral industry-forums, blogger platforms thereby enabling effective communications not just with the brand but also the entire eco-system within the regulatory norms. Done effectively, this ecosystem can help brands to build point-solutions for specific target audience in a timely manner.

Social media can be leveraged effectively across all stages of the drug life cycle – Pre-launch (Discovery & Development), Launch and Maturity. During the pre-launch stage, social media can be leveraged for collaborating with stakeholders to co-create new drugs; to recruit patients on key forums/communities for clinical trials and to identify Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) to build awareness and get feedback on relevance. During the launch phase social networks can be leveraged for conveying the message effectively across diverse stakeholder groups, tracking impact on stakeholders and deriving insights about usage/adoption and have a proactive crisis communications mechanism fundamentally to well, prevent crises. During drug maturity stage, social channels can be leveraged to track patient adherence, generate insights on off-label drug applications and valuable competitive intelligence in terms of tracking conversations around competing brands during this time.


Social media offers a more effective media for communicating with stakeholders, especially given the constraints due to regulatory frameworks. It also offers a very measurable ROI in terms of customer acquisition, retention and growth versus traditional marketing means.

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Prashant Parida
Prashant Parida
"I am passionate about innovative technologies that have a direct impact on improving lives. So far, large enterprises led advancements in technology by nurturing the...
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