The high and rapidly growing popularity of social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter is expected to revolutionize the marketing strategies of the pharmaceutical industry. In addition to marketing, more and more pharmaceutical companies have started using these platforms to improve customer relationships and improve brand management based on the market intelligence generated through the monitoring and analysis of user-generated content.
Although the social media marketing industry has defied all norms of geographic boundaries, the growth of the social media marketing market for pharmaceuticals and healthcare is expected to remain significantly high in developed countries – primarily in the United States of America .
Social media platforms refer to the interaction between people, where information and ideas are created, shared and exchanged in virtual networks and communities. However, the use of these social media tools for marketing pharmaceutical content is still controversial. The rationale behind this is that the oversight teams of several pharmaceutical companies require the prevention of commenting or sharing of functions, resulting in only one-way interaction, which in turn undermines the need for social media marketing. However, with the impact of these tools, the adoption rate of these platforms for strategic decisions increases.
The pharmaceutical sector’s efforts to take advantage of social media tools to expand the customer base, strengthen customer relationships, and improve brand performance continue to fuel the use of social media pharmaceuticals and health marketing. Other important aspects that are favorable for the pharmaceutical sector are the establishment of investor relations, corporate communications and customer service at the corporate level. The involvement of regulators in the development and issuing of guidelines for the use of interactive media for pharmaceuticals and biologics is proving to be instrumental in deciding the importance of social media marketing in the pharmaceutical industry. For example, in the second week of January 2014, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a draft guideline for the industry that must meet the legal requirements for the submission of interactive advertising materials for veterinary and human medicinal products as well as biologics after they have been placed on the market. Through this draft, the US FDA gave clarity about working with bloggers and content creators to disseminate branding information.
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Incorporating customer feedback and their experiences would prove critical to companies as they develop novel drugs and other critical strategies. Therefore, it is expected that social media engagements will further increase product sales in the near future. For example, Novartis has initiated the use of social media platforms to increase sales of its over-the-counter drugs such as Comtrax, Bufferin and Orofar. Another example of using these social media platforms is Johnson & Johnson, who are using these platforms when recalling their crisis management products. These social media platforms were used to apologize to consumers for irregularities the US FDA found in their manufacturing facility. It is the company’s way of being in personal, emotional and social contact with its customers.
The pharmaceutical and healthcare social media market can be analyzed based on the extent of the pharmaceutical industry’s use of social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube, etc., as well as the risk-benefit ratio analysis of these healthcare tools. It can also indicate the impact or impact of these tools on health care stakeholders such as hospitals, patients / consumers, healthcare professionals and biotechnology companies, and a geographic landscape focused on the popularity of these tools. The geographic landscape encompasses the analysis of four main regions, namely North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe and RoW.
The main drivers for the growth of the market are the increased spending of pharmaceutical companies on online advertising as well as the increasing adoption rates of online marketing tools among consumers. A small number of research studies in 2012 showed that total pharmaceutical and healthcare spending rose nearly 45 percent year-over-year to approximately $ 1.1 billion, of which 6 percent was spent on online advertising costs. These revenues are generated through paid advertising and subscriptions from various electronic devices and unique IP addresses. On the other hand, the drawbacks and risk factors of these platforms like privacy and security, as well as improper validation of content are some of the problems that could pose the challenge to the growth of the market. Some of the companies that use social media are Johnson & Johnson, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Inc., Novartis, and Bayer AG.
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