AMP – Havas Lynx’s Analytics, Media and Performance team – recently released a report outlining how broader societal changes in 2021 have impacted the pharmaceutical media landscape and how these changes are reflected in the market in 2022 and beyond.
Dare! spoke to Matthew Walsh, Senior Insights Manager at Havas Lynx, to learn more about the study and why it is so important.
Can you talk about why this research is so important?
The pharmaceutical industry is at an inflection point. Following the pandemic and the consequent acceleration in digital transformation, pharmaceutical marketing teams are pivoting their sales strategies from primarily focusing their budgets on personally selling their products to doctors through sales reps – now, they are using media to complement or replace their use of sales reps.
When we assessed the healthcare marketing landscape, there was minimal research and reporting to help pharmaceutical marketers understand media and how it applies to pharma. ‘Looking Backwards, Thinking Forwards’ was our way to summarise the past year’s trends in media, healthcare and culture and outline the opportunities available to our clients.
What is the process for doing this research and putting the report together?
It was a combination of hours of desk research, leaning on the vast wealth of knowledge we have in HH&Y and drawing upon our proprietary studies. At Havas, we’re blessed with having a plethora of annual research studies like Behind the Mask, the Meaningful Brands study and the Prosumer studies, so these were a tremendous help in plotting the shifts in consumer attitudes around health and our expectations of healthcare brands.
Can you talk about some of the key results? Was there anything that surprised you?
I would summarise the report like this – the past year has been a coming of age for pharmaceutical media. Pharmaceutical companies are becoming bolder in their adoption of media and more patients and doctors are using digital resources to talk, learn and listen about health and healthcare. Publishers and social media channels are dedicating more resources to healthcare advertising, increasing the variety of ways advertisers can engage with their audiences. However, with clients working in traditional industries with limited prior exposure to media, and with ongoing changes to the data landscape, it has been a somewhat trial by fire for pharmaceutical advertisers to fully embed media within their commercialisation strategies. The companies that succeed in this next year will be the ones that comfortably upskill in media and grow their confidence in how to execute and manage media campaigns in the short and long term.
One result that stood out was when we looked at changing attitudes towards healthcare. From a cultural position, we’re beginning to see a consumer shift from reacting to a healthcare issue when it arises to being more proactive in how we prevent new conditions occurring in the first place. This alters the roles of healthcare professionals and the healthcare industry in our lives – are they there to solely treat you or to coach you in how to lead this healthier life? Are they positioning themselves to meet these new expectations?
How does the pharmaceutical media landscape differ from the media landscape overall?
We’re very similar in how we plan and buy media (we use the same social media and programmatic vendors just like traditional media) but due to the minute size of our audiences and number of regulations we must follow, we must be very precise in how we target our ads. Like many niche industries in the consumer landscape, pharma finds itself in a period of rapid change in media, but because of accelerated digital transformation, a refocus on patient centricity and growing appetite for effective media spend, pharma is beginning to sharpen up their act and move closer to where the consumer landscape is today.
How do you see these trends continuing to evolve?
We’re just at the beginning of an exciting new wave of interest in media across the pharmaceutical industry, and this will only pick up speed and grow across the year. More precisely, as pharmaceutical companies become more comfortable with media, we expect their confidence to be more evident in bolder and more innovative media plans. And across the media landscape, we will see more publishers and media owners looking to segment and showcase their reach amongst patients to capture the new wave of pharmaceutical advertisers.
You can read and download the full report here.