COVID-19 Response: Checklist of Tactical Changes for BioPharma Marketers

by Webmaster

In an age when marketing success can hinge on a company’s ability to quickly react to and pivot around market trends in real-time, the COVID-19 outbreak presents new challenges to BioPharma communications with healthcare providers (HCP’s). 

Our team at Boulder Biotech Launch Specialists is currently advising clients about how they should adjust their marketing efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and we’d like to share our thoughts on immediate actions BioPharma companies can implement now to ensure continued product and patient support for HCP’s. 

Our HCP COVID-19 impact survey, which was conducted in mid-March, showed that nearly all (>95%) of hospital systems and community office-based clinics had banned pharmaceutical representative access indefinitely and until further notice.   Furthermore, most live events and medical conferences have been cancelled.

So how should you adapt your tactical communications mix and budget during this national emergency to continue to provide support to HCP’s and patients? 

6 Immediate Actions to Guide Your Digital Marketing HCP Communications

  1. Add a homepage notice and COVID-19 response to your corporate and branded websites
  2. Increase investment in Social Media Marketing
  3. Deploy outbound email campaign
  4. Increase Paid Search Marketing
  5. Target communications via Geo-doming and Geo-fencing
  6. Focus on Corporate Social Responsibility and Reputation Management

Download the attached checklist of 6 immediate actions BioPharma marketing leaders should consider during the upcoming months.

    The human and economic toll of this COVID-19 is already profound, but now is the time to provide much-needed healthcare leadership by communicating clearly to support HCP’s ongoing treatment of their patients. Remember that your brand is much more than your logo or what you say in your advertising. Instead, you define your brand every day by the actions you take and the value you bring. Take this opportunity to reinforce your mission – most of which probably involves caring for your community.  Do the right things now, and consequently, you will build your organization’s brand for the long-term.

Your growing thought leadership will also provide you with a unique opportunity to grow your rankings on Google. Take this time to double down on search engine optimization, both with technical improvements and great HCP and patient support content.  When things slow down a little, you can also take some time to invest in strategic, tactical or creative marketing initiatives you haven’t been able to focus on until now.  Make sure your creative messaging is appropriate for our new reality. Above all, build trust and stay empathetic to what people are going through. 

If you need to make adjustments to your media plan, be sure to talk to your media agency. They can negotiate with the various TV stations, radio stations, and publishers to see if they can get concessions or postponements on some of your pre-existing media placements. Your agency should also devise a plan to move quickly to seize discounted media and other opportunities once the crisis passes.  Make sure your brand media agency is actively optimizing your digital marketing campaigns for the new reality. Ask if they are making adjustments based upon real-time results, the evolving landscape, and your broader brand communication objectives.

Chances are you have postponed some live events, like advisory board and peer-to-peer focus groups. If so, take this opportunity to test digital alternatives, such as webinars, videoconferences, and podcasts.

Remember, although you might need to adjust some of your marketing efforts, it doesn’t mean you should stop marketing altogether.  HCP’s are still seeing sick patients and need support from BioPharma companies. 

Right now, it is essential to provide business continuity to your HCP customers so that they have the information and support to continue to care for the sick.  It is also an opportunity to ethically and effectively position your brand and company for the future.

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