fbpx Skip to main content

You may be sick of hearing terms like “the new normal,” but it’s clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a long-lasting impact on our daily lives, such as normalizing remote work and making people more health conscious.

However, did you know that the pandemic also changed how many industries approach digital marketing? Keep reading to learn how COVID-19 has impacted the pharmaceutical industry and the different ways companies — and marketers — are navigating these changes effectively.


1. Telemedicine and Telehealth: Services That Are Here To Stay

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, telemedicine and telehealth existed, but it was during the pandemic that these services truly experienced significant growth.

Part of this was due to the U.S. Congress removing certain regulations and providing reimbursements, which allowed these industries to rapidly expand and make these services more accessible to patients. For example, before March 2020, physicians conducting telehealth had to be physically at their place of practice. During the pandemic, changes were made that allowed physicians to conduct these services from home.

Even during the post-pandemic recovery period, telemedicine remains a part of our healthcare system, connecting patients at home to doctors online.


How have marketers adapted to this change in the pharmaceutical industry? 

With more pharmaceutical brands offering ways to connect to a doctor online through their site, marketers are promoting this service on social media. During the height of the pandemic, messaging around a patient not needing to leave their home to speak with a doctor or nurse was key. In this post-pandemic period, the messaging has shifted to focus more on convenience — speak with a doctor whenever you need to without having to book an appointment weeks in advance.

For some B2C pharma brands that traditionally marketed their products on social media, marketers have carved out space to promote their telemedicine/telehealth as well. This helps to position their pharmaceutical brand as an all-encompassing space that promotes consumer health. The presence of this type of service also helps to provide credibility to the overall product and brand image.


2. Communication: Being Transparent With Consumers

How many of you marketers out there noticed that during the pandemic, your consumers were asking for more information through social media? This increased demand isn’t unique to the pharmaceutical industry and can be seen across other industries as well.

Consumers turned to social media to do their research, which meant that pharmaceutical companies without a social media presence weren’t able to effectively communicate with their audience. Even in the post-pandemic period, social media continues to be one of the primary ways audiences search for content and information. Consider how TikTok has become a rival to Google’s search engine among Gen Z users.

Here’s another factor: the COVID-19 pandemic made everyone more acutely aware of their own health. Topics like staying active, mental health and wellness, and healthy eating, all surged to the forefront as the world collectively experienced months of lockdown and travel restrictions. Consumers are doing more research into what they put into their bodies and expect pharma brands to be transparent about their products.


How have marketers adapted to this change in the pharmaceutical industry? 

Social media is quickly becoming a key arena for pharmaceutical brands as a way to authentically and effectively communicate with their audience, whether it’s the end-user who’s looking for a vitamin supplement or a doctor looking for information on birth control options for their patients.

Providing accurate information is one way that pharmaceutical brands build credibility on social media, while also being a valuable resource for social media followers. Building trust is important in the healthcare industry and social media is one route that can support this process.


3. Digital Marketing: Out of the Doctor’s Office and Onto Social Media

The pandemic illustrated how solely relying on a traditional approach to marketing and sales can be detrimental to a pharmaceutical company for its long-term growth. As in-person sales routes were cut off and changing consumer habits made more people turn to social media, more pharmaceutical marketers also turned to digital marketing in order to address gaps in their existing marketing strategy.


How have marketers adapted to this change in the pharmaceutical industry? 

During COVID-19 lockdowns, social media became one of the most critical lines of communication between a pharma brand and its audience, whether it was to showcase its products and benefits or make use of content formats like video to share a Q&A session that would appeal to doctors and other B2B audiences.

The pandemic accelerated a change in the way stakeholders do research. Traditional methods still exist, but they’ve been greatly supplemented with digital platforms that provide content that we mentioned in our previous article as hitting the three E’s: content that is entertaining, engaging, and educational.


What’s Next For Pharmaceutical Digital Marketing?

For some pharmaceutical companies, “what’s next” may be starting their digital marketing from the ground up — not as a replacement to their existing traditional marketing efforts, but as a strong complementary piece to help them reach their audience.

However, it’s understandable that for many pharma marketers, dipping their toes into digital marketing for the first time can sound daunting.

If you’re interested to learn what an award-winning digital marketing strategy for a B2C pharmaceutical brand looks like, click the button below to read our case study.

href="#" data-color-override="false" data-hover-color-override="false" data-hover-text-color-override="#fff">Here’s how we achieved over 340 million impressions for one pharma brand…

Leave a Reply