As the healthcare landscape changes, three targets emerge as the groups that will determine the success or failure of pharma, medical device and other life science products.
1. Providers (Not Just Physicians)
In the MM&M Healthcare Marketers Trend Report, 64% of director and C-suite level life science execs ranked providers as their most important audience. 31% increased their NP/PA marketing budgets, and in the previous year’s report nearly 40% revealed they believe NPs/PAs are one of their top three target groups. You might be surprised that the first of the three “P”s is not just physicians, but rather it is providers because over 40% of U.S. prescriptions are written by NPs/PAs who see over 2 billion patients annually. Marketers would be at a huge disadvantage if they focused only on doctors and didn’t reach out to NPs/PAs
While still relying heavily on advice from providers, many patients also want more control over their healthcare and more information to discuss with their providers. More than one in three American adults have gone online regarding a medical condition and 72% of internet users said they looked online for health information. These stats are on the rise so it’s not surprising that pharma and medical device marketers target patients in the U.S. where DTC advertising is allowed.
According to the MM&M Healthcare Marketers Trend Report, life science executives viewed pressure from payers/managed care as one of the top two challenges in their path. Though more respondents increased their marketing budget for providers and patients, payers was a close third as companies reported using payer marketing tactics such as market research and advisory engagements, discounts and rebates, and reimbursement support staff and programs.
Of the three targets, providers are arguably the most important as life science executives increased the marketing budgets for providers the most this year. Interestingly, pharmacists don’t seem to be part of the trio as 89% reduced or kept their pharmacist budget the same. Other influencers shouldn’t be completely ignored but the current research certainly suggests most of the focus and budget should be used on payers, patients, and providers including NPs/PAs who buy, prescribe and recommend.
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