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Reps and Their Tablets: Agencies Should Deliver Beyond Pharma’s Expectations

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As we’ve discussed in our ongoing series on tablets, their presence is changing how pharmaceutical marketing is done. What are some practical implications of this, and what does this mean an agency can and should do for its clients?

Should sales representatives be worried?
A rep may worry that changing technology will change their roles. This is true — but is it cause for concern? A tablet-centric landscape doesn’t marginalize the role of a company representative. Rather, it morphs their role from that of a talking sales aid to that of relationship builder. The role of the representative is to understand the HCP’s business and scientific needs and serve as the conduit, answering those needs and bringing them back to the brand.

Is it worth the hassle?
What are pharma companies achieving by moving to tablets? Will they herald across-the-board results? It’s difficult to compare a century or two of pharmaceutical marketing with less than a decade of utilizing tablets, but we can outline what we’re working toward:

  • Increased engagement with HCPs — both in length of time and quality of conversation during details
  • Stronger relationships between patients and HCPs via the use of tablet-based apps — including more communication, higher adherence and better results

The goal is to move beyond using a tablet as a detail aid, Intouch CEO Faruk Capan explains.

“The safest thing to do is to put existing print materials in this new format,” says Capan. “We’re all guilty of that. But at some point the lure of the iPad as a shiny new object wears off. And it’s so much more than that.”

Executive Vice President David Windhausen agrees. “It’s not just moving from glossy to glassy (paper to tablet). It’s about understanding what each doctor needs and wants and also what we can give them that they can then give to patients. Doctors prescribing apps — that’s where things are headed.”

The user experience of the iPad is impressive, but so is its back-end data-gathering.

“For instance,” says Capan, “instead of just loading up a five-minute MOA animation, we can make it interactive so an HCP can navigate within it, and we can learn which contents and components are most popular with whom, what order they visit them, and so on.”

What should agencies do in this new environment?
The healthcare landscape is changing dramatically, sales reps are worried for their jobs, and pharma companies remain skeptical about investing in new technologies. What’s the role of an agency in this situation? Well, we believe that a good agency can and will answer all three of those concerns.

Patients need to see how interactions with HCPs can be more useful to them. Reps need to see what their updated role can be. And pharma needs to see how tablet use will provide demonstrable ROI, including more efficient and effective calls and increased, actionable, live-market data.

This is where an agency can shine, showing how technological capabilities, scientific understanding and creativity — all deeply grounded in business-savvy — can develop fluid, expansive, powerful solutions that live on tablets and benefit all of these audiences.

 

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