For Drug Marketers Doctors May Not Be Buyers But They Still Need to Be Segmented

Importance of Segmenting DoctorsIn several posts over the years, we have noted how challenging marketing has become in the pharmaceutical industry. For instance, in 2014 we discussed how changes in how drugs are prescribed will likely result in the need for fewer drug sales representatives. And in 2013, fears of potential legal problems was forcing some drug companies to change their promotional tactics.

The problems facing drug companies are also being heightened by increased competition. The number of companies seeking doctors to prescribe their products has grown in recent years. Doctors are being overwhelmed with promotional messages as competitors battle to be heard.  And, as a result, drug companies will need to adapt their promotional approaches if they want to remain competitive.

As noted in this story from Pharmaceutical Executive, drug marketers need to understand that doctors respond differently to different types of promotions. The story reports on results of a study conducted by research firm, ZS Associates. The results support previous research that points to a continuing reduction in the time doctors spend in face-to-face conversation with sales representatives. A key recommendation from this research is that drug companies need to do a better job understanding what types of promotional methods work best for each doctor. Options may vary depending on a doctor’s preferred method for learning about products; the type of information a doctor want to receive; and how a doctor responds to the frequency of promotional messages.

In essence, drug companies need to work harder in segmenting their customers and, once segmented, use promotional methods that best fits the characteristics of each segment.

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