The Future of Pharma Marketing

Apr 7, 2021

The marketing spend in the pharmaceutical sector has increased by nearly 70% in the past 20 years and now totals nearly $30 billion dollars.

The question is whether the current approach to pharma marketing will continue to work in the evolving new world of patient advocacy, preventative care, and strong proof of outcomes demands?

Pharmaceutical marketing today: It’s about the drugs, not the user

Those businesses that embrace the power of digital innovation and a customer-first business model will succeed in building more effective interactions, deeper loyalty, and lasting brand preference. Despite the squeeze of cost-control, regulatory restrictions, and global competition, the marketing world of pharma will adapt going forward to focus on the user, not the drugs.

One Size Fits All has Become Outdated

Traditional marketing strategies in this industry have revolved around vigorous product marketing of the prescription drugs that the decision-makers think will make money. Commercial success is attributed to aggressive digital marketing and promotional activity, usually targeted to the physician. Responding to the needs and expectations of patients, providers, and payers hasn’t typically been the top goal, but that’s about to change.

Today’s way of thinking, is all about personalization, customer experience, and targeted omni-channel marketing of the right product, at the right time, to the right user, and using the right media.

A Shift to Value Based Healthcare

Our fast-changing market demands more value than ever before from pharmaceutical manufacturers. In this case, value means more cost efficiency, proven patient outcomes, and greater contribution to the overall health care experience throughout the value chain.

Those pharma companies that shift their attention to what providers, payers, and patients are asking for will profit from the growing worldwide market on preventative care. The key will be becoming a key player in the integrated health management model that ties traditional pharmaceutical marketing into mobile communications, and other online platforms for diagnosis and marketing

A Multi-disciplinary Approach to Health Care

The health care system is responding to the evolving trend toward integrated health management by implementing a multi-disciplinary approach to health care. Pharmaceutical companies are responding with personalized and improved offerings that have been fine-tuned to address patients’ specific needs throughout the health care value chain.

Health care technology is the key to enabling a patient-centric approach. This approach could perhaps be achieved using predictive analytics tools, powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning to help determine which patients are at the highest risk of hospital readmission. Or it may be mobile apps and wearables to help monitor patients’ at-home recovery. It could be something as simple as packaging information better and more consistently online to accommodate the evolving ways patients research and consume drug information.

Personalised Omni-Channel Marketing

As the outcomes-based approach to health care grows in popularity, now is the time for pharmaceutical agencies to benefit from a new personalized, omnichannel approach to marketing. This means enabling different strategies for marketing directly to consumers and in detailing to physicians, as well as payers.

Advanced pharma marketers are moving into precision marketing, which is all about targeting on digital platforms with custom messaging for a specialty segment of consumers who need the information most. Others are experimenting with programmatic advertising, which is a marketing tool that automatically optimizes digital campaigns using machine learning, which serves ads to users based on their online visits and behavior.

Disruptive Technologies in Pharma

Patients today require a different approach to addressing their health problems. Mobile technologies, social media, the cloud, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are just some of the new realities that are disrupting health care today. Savvy pharmaceutical marketers see the opportunity that lies in leveraging tools that can monitor a patient’s health and provide real-time, personalised feedback to help improve outcomes. Making just minor tweaks to the marketing approach, along with taking advantage of disruptive technologies, can have a huge impact on growth and performance.

Social Marketing

Social marketing has been successful in delivering public health behavior changes for many years. It is an effective tool in understanding the methods for delivering information in a way that induces behavioral change.

For pharmaceutical companies, this means taking a holistic view of how to market medicine. They can no longer focus solely on the positive or negative health impacts of taking a drug. Instead, they need to delve more deeply into the social, cultural, economic, and ethical impacts of their medicine, and use these insights to personalize their approach to consumers.


Morrison, A.,(2020) The Evolving World of Pharma Marketing. Available at: [Accessed 30 March 2021].

Gold Winner of 2023 PM360's Trailblazer Award. We are the market leaders liberating Patient, HCP, DOL, KOL voice from social sources through data science.

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