Skip to Main Content
Access your saved content
Multinational pharmaceutical companies urgently require a new approach to sales and marketing in Latin American markets—a multichannel approach. Success, however, hinges on the adoption of the right support strategies.
Multichannel strategies that leverage digital, mobile technologies can help lower service costs, as well as simplifying drug selection processes and improving customized message delivery targeting individual customer needs. Our most recent research into what constitutes high performance in biopharmaceuticals globally clearly shows that multichannel and digital sales initiatives that enhance the customer experience by improving health outcomes are one of the key capabilities distinguishing the industry’s top players.
Few emerging markets offer more enticing growth prospects for beleaguered multinational pharmaceutical companies than Latin America. While most developed markets have struggled to grow since the downturn, Latin America’s markets are strengthening, with both average incomes and life expectancy on the rise right across the region.
This combination of affluence and aging is rapidly transforming Latin America’s epidemiological profile. More and more Latinos, encouraged by government initiatives to widen access to health care, are seeking treatments for the diseases of the middle classes—diabetes, cancer, hypertension and heart disease.
Turning all this burgeoning demand into drug sales, however, is a significant challenge for most multinationals. The same forces that threaten their profitability in mature markets—expiring patents on blockbuster drugs, limited R&D productivity and competition from generic products—have still greater impact in Latin America’s drug markets, where local generics players are particularly powerful.
Five strategies for successful multichannel sales and marketing
Take a cross-organizational approach: This is an essential prerequisite for any successful multichannel implementation. The application of multichannel strategies is not only about building new websites and creating Facebook accounts to accumulate fans. This means integrating and coordinating marketing, sales and customer service departments, as well as medical and clinical groups, and equipping them with the digital tools to communicate both with each other and with customers.
Respond to unmet needs with customized offerings: A key competitive differentiator will be the design of an integrated set of services to increase the value and efficiency of physicians’ work—innovative, digital solutions that help improve patient outcomes for each customer.
Choose the right mix of channels: It’s important to emphasize that alternative sales channels should not replace traditional activities altogether, especially in Latin America where for cultural reasons customers still value traditional face-to-face relationships with sales representatives. Alternative channels should be designed to innovate new approaches to additional services and information.
Address patients’ needs, as well as those of physicians: Communication with patients may be constrained by regulations, but innovative websites that provide relevant information for targeted patients from different geographies but with similar needs can help them make fully informed decisions and may even improve their communications with their doctors. New portals and Web 2.0 platforms may also become a place where they can meet and share experiences.
Invest in closed-loop promotion to ensure successful implementation: It is important to design the right sort of digital channel. Companies should build digital support in such a way that all click stream data is tracked. They should also ensure a user-friendly model and structure; and establish a standard process that allows people from different departments to review metrics regularly.
Multichannel management provides a broad range of new tools and possibilities that expand the limits of the current sales and marketing methodology exponentially. We foresee more companies opting to maximize the integration benefits of multichannel management in terms of cost savings and efficiencies by leveraging managed services for analytics, digital and mobility. And with creative and passionate people, both in-house and external, designing new campaigns and communication tools, companies will be competing with a new generation of commercial strategies at the highest level. Latin America is more than ready for such strategies. The time to start building them is now.
October 18, 2011
Skip Footer Links