HCP engagement: involving the doctors of the future with digital marketing


HCP engagement: immagine di repertorio sul coinvolgimento digitale dei medici

Improving HCP engagement represents a significant challenge for Pharma companies: the experience of the Health division established within the communication and digital marketing agency Polk&Union.

When speaking of HCP engagement strategies, one should necessarily consider the revolution generated not only by digital innovation, but also by the generational turnover of physicians, with pharmaceutical companies facing new challenges to reach doctors. If, on the one hand, the physician’s final goal has remained the same, treating and protecting people’s health, it is also true that to achieve this goal and reduce the distance with patients, healthcare professionals now expect more from Pharma. Having grown accustomed to using digital channels to find information and professional updating, doctors call upon companies to provide not only effective drugs, but also new tools supporting them in their daily practice and professional updating.

New digital marketing strategies for HCP engagement

A recent research by Reuters Events Pharma, together with the Dutch medical and scientific publisher Elsevier, analyzed the changes brought about in the involvement of medical practitioners since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, to investigate how these innovations are affecting post Covid Pharma budget choices.

“The new era of HCP engagement” globally involved 245 managers (in particular, marketing, medical affairs, product/brand marketing and commercial overseers), mostly from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Their replies indicated that spending for promotion through digital channels has prevailed over traditional methods of print, radio and television and will grow more and more: in fact, by 2025 the budget is expected to increase from 63% to 78%. Those who make the decisions on where and how much to invest, especially among managers involved in marketing and medical affairs, consider two essential factors: content quality (92%) and doctors’ needs (85%).

The survey also displayed the growing use of online platforms for physicians, providing HCPs with specific content on products and resources useful to fight diseases. Videos and webinars on medical events, educational material for patients and caregivers, scientific updates, courses and training activities, therapeutic indications and articles: these are the most common contents, three of which are considered particularly important by the interviewees, namely treatment guidelines (78%), professional updating courses and activities (66%) and webinars (68%).

To meet the new needs of doctors, who are constantly looking for reliable and accessible medical-scientific information and updates, a solid digital marketing strategy should be implemented creating digital ecosystems that will renew and strengthen the relationship between doctors and pharmaceutical companies.

Enhancing HCP engagement: best practices and Polk&Union’s experience

An effective quality content structure represents the pivot of every appropriate digital marketing strategy. The Italian-American digital communication agency Polk&Union, which specializes in integrated marketing and includes a dedicated Healthcare and Pharma division, has been studying the reference context for some time and offers its Pharma clients innovative solutions to enhance HCP engagement through increasingly sophisticated, interactive, engaging and – above all – customized digital tools.

A tangible example: to respond to the challenge set by a prominent client, whose need was precisely to improve its HCP engagement, Polk&Union created an online platform dedicated to physicians, intercepting their requests and identifying their favorite channels for searching the information they needed. For this specific Polk&Union’s Pharma client, the Health division experts first studied in depth the reference context. Then they defined a specific content strategy for the target audience identified by the company, with valuable content accessible on the platform thanks to a user experience designed to accompany medical practitioners towards the satisfaction of their needs for information and learning. Getting acquainted with the interests and needs of the medical profession and knowing how to intercept them along all the touchpoints of interaction with the brand is an essential requirement.