Multichannel is the tool not the solution

Many data indicate that the doctor's behaviour has changed. But it is above all the attitudes and working habits of professionals towards information that have changed.

In the multichannel, it is necessary to identify each doctor with whom one has to communicate and - for each of them - to tailor the message so that it reaches the right channel. Identifying the doctor, and consequently the best channel, is necessary to avoid wasting time and resources, passing on useless information or even irritating the doctor. Understanding, therefore, people's behaviour, before contacting them, is the key to a proper multichannel; but this is not always easy or feasible. Therefore, the challenge is not only to design a project correctly, but also to identify the right target group.

Market analysis and surveys

Analyses and surveys can be an opportunity to understand the needs and behaviour of the target audience. Gfk Eurisko and Medi-Pragma carry out excellent periodic analyses of Italian doctors. The study of these always reserves interesting surprises, along with many other confirmations. I once happened to read an international document by Across Health. According to this field study, in the five main European countries - including Italy - specialists spend 35 times more time online for professional reasons than they do with whistleblowers. Specifically, they have on average 95 meetings per year with pharmaceutical sales representatives, lasting on average 5 minutes, for an annual total of 465 minutes, plus 360 minutes per year of pharmaceutical sales rep in Italy meetings or hospital meetings. The total amounts to less than 2.5 minutes per day face-to-face with a pharmaceutical industry manager. If these minutes sound reasonable to you, and they do to me, you should also know that on average the same specialists interviewed claim to spend 16 hours per month online for research or scientific medical update, or about half an hour per day. A figure that I can confirm based on's figures. So, the question arises: who to contact and where to invest? The answer would seem obvious.

Through further analysis by the same research company, two other valuable pieces of information can be obtained. The first is that the main tactics used (between 85% and 70% of cases, as in standard or planned use) in Multichannel are:

  • tabled detailing
  • pharma owned website
  • direct marketing
  • email maketing
  • web banners.

The second is that only about 10% of managers are satisfied, while a good 40% are dissatisfied. Personally, I believe that the two data fit together perfectly: these are wrong models that bring little satisfaction.

Taken together, these analyses indicate with reasonable certainty that the pharmaceutical industry does not invest based on these considerations, much preferring to promote their products without considering the results of this analysis. This begs the question: why?

Indeed, it seems that the pharmaceutical company's investments in general, according to published global investment data, do not reflect the doctor's expectations. So the industry wastes time and money.


What does the doctor demand of the pharmaceutical industry?

The physician expects non-promotional, educational, up-to-date scientific material, written in an effective editorial style and the result of a shrewd selection of the best international sources. This is attested, for example, by the opening and reading success of an online pharmaceutical sales rep project linked to the highest quality content, selected by an international scientific board of excellence. It was part of a project we launched in 2016 and, given its success, was extended by the client in 2017. The choice of the international board, the selection of the articles, the quality of the translation, the periodicity of the dispatches, the editorial plan focused on hot topics, and above all the content of the articles themselves induced an open rate and a click trough twice as high as the benchmark. The project - which lasted several months, with a therapeutic focus on COPD - was a great success in terms of readership and engagement. Obviously, the subsequent message recall survey also had a much higher than average recall and intention to prescribe rate.

Providing quality content in an already qualified environment and creating memories do not differ much from having an extremely positive experience in a restaurant we already know and frequent. Similarly, publishing quality content in the editorial site where one is used to reading updates leads to remembering the brand and establishing a strong relationship with it. Bringing a doctor to know, remember, consider prescribing and then actually prescribe a drug is a process of trust that goes mainly through quality content presented in the best way. This is the job of the front-end sales representative, this is the job of a digital project, this is what the sales manager, as well as the digital- and multichannel- manager, must aim for. Not intercepting interests and behaviour means wasting time and money.

Salvatore Ruggiero

Salvatore Ruggiero

Salvatore Ruggiero nasce a Napoli nel 1964, si definisce un imprenditore seriale. Oggi a capo del gruppo Merqurio, di cui è stato anche fondatore. Sposato con Giuseppina, ha due figli e nel tempo libero, tra un'escursione e un'altra, tra un film ed un altro, è alla ricerca della ricetta dei biscotti perfetti.

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