Marketing digital pharmaceutique: «Aujourd’hui, aucune entreprise ne peut se passer de la digitalisation ou l’ignorer»

“Today, no company can do without digitalization or ignore it”



Finances News Hebdo: First, explain to us the importance of digital marketing in the pharmaceutical sector

Btissam Belaiche: Digital transformation has become essential for all sectors, including the pharmaceutical industry. Moreover, during the Covid-19 pandemic, this digital transformation experienced a great acceleration. Today, no business cannot do without digitization or ignore it. Even small businesses are now working with digitalization. It is true that the pharmaceutical industry has taken time to integrate digitalization into all its functions, and in particular at the level of the marketing function. This is mainly due to regulatory constraints. Today, the place of digital marketing in the pharmaceutical sector has become essential. If we take e-reputation for example, any self-respecting company must be able to build a solid and impressive e-reputation in front of its competitors. Likewise, this company must be able to deal with a crisis or a possible scandal (Fake news, Bad buzz, etc.).

And this is where digital marketing can provide a solution by restoring a good and resistant e-reputation, built with a solid and well-made digital strategy. This is what can happen, for example, when a drug has suffered an attack, calling into question its effectiveness, its safety or its quality. The stakes are enormous not only for this drug, but also for the laboratory holding this drug. The entire credibility and brand image of this company will be affected, potentially endangering the reputation of its other products and the very future of this company. It is therefore important to have effective means to deal with, but also to anticipate this type of problem and minimize the possible damage.

FNH: What are the prospects for digital transformation in the pharmaceutical market in Morocco? And can we say that covid-19 has given a real boost to this vital sector?

BB: The Covid-19 pandemic has boosted digital transformation in all sectors, including the pharmaceutical sector. From now on, digital communication is no longer focused solely on the product, but also on the patient. Digitization will facilitate relations and contacts between pharmaceutical manufacturers and healthcare professionals, on the one hand, and between healthcare professionals and their patients, on the other. Of course, human contact remains essential in these relationships. Today, practically all pharmaceutical laboratories and pharmaceutical wholesale distributors have Customer Relationship Management (CRM) type software. This customer relationship management system has allowed many companies to better optimize and manage their customers. Likewise, it fostered collaboration between all of the company’s departments (Commercial, marketing, communication, customers, among others). In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic has favored e-events such as e-congresses, webinars, e-training, e-meetings, etc. These e-events have become essential during the restrictions linked to the pandemic. where the demonstrations face-to-face were impossible because they were risky.

When these restrictions were lifted, we also attended events in hybrid mode (face-to-face and remote). This was possible thanks to electronic platforms developed online. These platforms have facilitated the access of health professionals to numerous national and international congresses. The training courses have also adopted this mode of distance education where a simple PC or a smartphone has allowed this remote access to the training courses. Unquestionably, this is a 360° change brought about by COVID and which has settled in and represents our future. Digitization has also been useful for patients. Tomorrow, telemedicine will allow patients residing far from medical centers to be diagnosed and treated in time. Digitization has also promoted the exchange of medical data concerning patients between health professionals whenever necessary. Soon, connected objects will measure our blood pressure, our blood sugar, etc. and send them to our attending physician. Digitization also makes it possible to make patients aware of a healthy lifestyle or to make them aware of their pathologies through websites dedicated to these pathologies. These are just a few rare examples of what digitalization can enable.

FNH: What is your assessment of the pharmaceutical market in the Kingdom, particularly the parapharmacy segment?

BB: The private drug market in Morocco was estimated in 2021 at 12.5 billion dirhams and at a volume of 400 million boxes. The pharmaceutical market has seen, in recent years, the launch and development of many parapharmaceutical products such as food supplements and cosmetic products. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible today to assess the volume or turnover of these parapharmaceutical products, in the absence of statistical data such as those provided by IQVIA (Powering Healthcare with Connected Intelligence) for drugs.

FNH: It is true that the digital customer experience in pharmaceutical companies is much less developed compared to other sectors. How to make up for this delay to meet market requirements?

BB: Indeed, the digital pharmaceutical experience has experienced a certain delay in its development compared to other sectors. This is mainly linked to regulatory constraints. However, the delay has been largely made up, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. With regard to social networks, only LinkedIn and Twitter allow an institutional presence but not strictly advertising for pharmaceutical companies, unlike other sectors which can introduce their advertisements directly on all social networks, including Facebook, Instagram or even TikTok…

FNH: In this regard, is there a difference between pharmaceutical marketing and other sectoral marketing?

BB: The marketing-mix of medicines cannot affect the price, which is set by the Ministry of Health, nor the marketing channels, which are the same for all pharmaceutical laboratories and for all medicines. Similarly, we can only act in a very limited way on the communication policy, which is limited to health professionals only and must not be addressed to the general public. In the end, we can only act on the size of the product by developing a drug that best meets the needs of patients not only in terms of efficacy, safety and quality, but also in terms of the comfort of taking these drugs. This is the fruit of long years of research and development before the launch of the product. Indeed, parapharmaceutical products do not have these constraints and use the marketing-mix with its 4Ps (Product, price, place (marketing channels) and promotion), and to be able to target the general public through the media, including audiovisuals.

FNH: Why does digital marketing remain a priority for the development of the pharmaceutical industries?

B. B.: Digital marketing is a priority for the evolution of any business, and not just in the pharmaceutical sector. Digital marketing will allow the pharmaceutical sector to develop a good e-reputation and to face all types of crisis, to have a good Social Listening which is the monitoring activity concerning the messages published on social media, to detect and anticipate fake news or bad news and better understand the needs and preferences of its customers. It also allows you to be present on the web where most people spend most of their time, through quality content (podcast, videos, advice, etc.) and to be closer to your customers through new technologies and means of communication (e-conferences, practical applications, e-learning sites). In addition to being able to use innovative means to transmit marketing messages, digital marketing makes it possible to have exchanges and interactions with its customers (health professionals) and to have an e-CRM for better optimization and management. of his projects.


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