The new normal: defining future scenarios

Whatever we write today, will remain written and can be disproved, and so the predictions that are suggested today are largely based on several hypotheses, with several possible scenarios. 

Some time ago, I read an interesting analysis that made 12 possible scenarios for the future. No one can cry scandal given the current parameters of uncertainty; on the other hand, what do we do with a scenario analysis that proposes 12 different futures?

The New Normal

It must be recognised that there are two complexities in defining a future scenario: one is the how, the second is the when. If I assume that we will have individual flight instruments, but do not say when and how many will use them, I am not doing a scenario analysis, but a fantasy.

If I assume, on the other hand, that in the next six months at least twice as many people will change their personal mobility in the city, avoiding cars and public transport and using electric bicycles and scooters, that is a forecast.

Let us therefore define scenarios and, at the same time, what to do in multichannel pharmaceutical marketing.

The difficulties of access and not just attention

There are many converging elements that allow us to make this prediction. Access to pharmaceutical sales representative in Italy and medical-scientific communication has tended to become increasingly difficult over the years:

  • The increased engagement of doctors in bureaucratic occupations;
  • the multiplication of companies, even small ones, with unstable networks, but growing in size overall;
  • the post-Covid-19 situation that requires distancing between individuals and therefore predictably the pharmaceutical sales rep will be received in an empty waiting room, subject to timely appointment;
  • the increased commitment of doctors to the care of patients who could not get the attention they needed before;
  • the difficulties of the pharmaceutical sales representatives to maintain a traditional approach given the need of the medical profession for new means to update themselves remotely;
  • the crowding out of the background noise of ineffective platforms.

These are all elements that lead us to believe that access will be the scarce resource in the coming months.

To start by addressing the issue of access, which does not replace the issue of attention but adds to it, making the work of information more tortuous, is an extremely complex challenge.

Care must be taken to always put the informant's skills at the centre - after all, it is a question of skills in transferring medical-pharmaceutical sales representative in a simple and direct manner and building a two-way communication bridge between peers on therapeutic issues - and not to start from the new channel and reset the pharmaceutical sales representative in Italy.

The alternative and remote means

What we are experiencing is a digitisation, a path we have taken over the years - a little syncopated - and which has now become a necessity for everyone. From passing clinical analysis data via WhatsApp to the use of video conferencing platforms was a trivial transition. From using small, simple everyday apps to one that shares data between doctors, specialists and patients is a small step. From the occasional use of remote pharmaceutical sales representative in Italy and update webinars to making it routine and everyday, again it is a short step. We have already become experts in these tools, or rather, we were even before, today we have simply accelerated.

Starting with the doctor's desire to keep up to date - as well as the desire to do so more comfortably, in a manner more suited to one's working time - entails an increase in communication channels, each with its own 'semantics' and 'rules', and consequently different messages, conjugated and declined for each channel.

Be careful to change the format and adapt the content to the message and not do the opposite, i.e. modify the message to make it easier to transfer for each specific channel.

Resetting the fundamentals

Facing tragedies, facing difficulties, one returns to the fundamentals. Facing dark moments, one goes back to looking at things with a different eye, and this allows one to put priorities in order. This in our field will have multifaceted effects:

  • more attention to the cost of the products we buy and the value we receive from them;
  • more consideration for public affairs and institutions;
  • esteem for the professionalism and experience of those who work for our health;
  • consideration of human health as a non-negotiable intrinsic value;
  • the union of work and the pursuit of freedom;
  • the family.

This implies in practice, in the future, more attention to what we buy, to culture and education, to the rare resource that is our time. Looking at the patient in his or her experience with the disease, his or her family and chronic care can mean enhancing projects that go beyond the drug itself.

It will be necessary to start from the fundamentals also with the doctors, who will want to have therapeutic updates, of service to the patient and not on the product. Hence a 'new generation' of marketing attentive to the doctor's new needs, developing an already existing relationship, but on a more 'qualitative' basis.

Careful consideration, however, must be given to the fact that the 'fundamental' needs are the same as always, i.e. integrated communication with the patient and the enhancement of the technical equipment of the doctor's office.

Increasing complexity

Each new communication opportunity is added to the previous ones, very few are replaced. Let's say that in the contemporary world we have seen the disappearance of early 20th century telegraph operators and the reduction of fax transmission. Everything else that has intervened, from email to Facebook's internal messaging, from WhatsApp to Telegram, from Teams to Zoom, from FaceTime video calls to Skype group calls, all have added up. Indeed, if we want, this summation of communication channels that I have mentioned is only a part, as the moments of contact with the brand should be enumerated: here we go from radio, television and magazines, to the entire internet planet, with its infinite ways of reaching us. The number of products on the market increases, nutraceuticals and functional foods increase, bureaucratic needs increase, therapeutic, clinical and diagnostic opportunities increase. In a more complex world, it is a mistake to try to simplify or, rather, govern complexity. Doctors are accustomed by their own profession, which has so many certainties and so many uncertainties, to managing doubt, the uncertain, the hypothetical; only imbeciles are certain of their nonsense, scientists feed on doubts and journalists amplify them. To the outside observer, it looks like a babel of voices and hypotheses, but instead it is the formation of scientific thought, which arises from discussion and is amplified by communication processes.

It is necessary: to start from complexity in order to train people to manage it (the sales representatives, area managers, product managers); to rethink the contact points, not only pharmaceutical-medical representatives but also towards the public, the pharmacy, the patient, the stakeholders; to look at processes not as lines but as curves; to think of relations not as segments but polygons.

Be careful not to get carried away: if the contact points are many and the relationship is a polygon, you do not necessarily have to touch all points in the same project; the quality of the marketing plan is to have an aligned communication programme, not to assume that you can necessarily talk to everyone and through all channels.

After an event as profound as the Covid-19 emergency, no one can imagine that the world of work, and of scientific medical information in particular, will go back to the way it was before. Those who had already foreseen these transformations by adopting multichannel marketing long ago or those who were able to quickly head in the right direction will be ahead in the race. But action is needed now.

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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