The Push and Pull of Pharma Marketing, Which Strategy is Best for Pharma Companies?

By Harika Panuganty | September 14, 2020
Hand-pulling-block

In the not too distant past, push and pull strategies were strictly the domain of logistics and supply chain management professionals. However, somewhere along the way, those terms changed course and became popular terms within marketing circles. And today they can be see in marketing plans and PowerPoint presentations everywhere. But what exactly are push and pull marketing strategies, and how can pharmaceutical commercial organizations use them to their advantage?

Simply stated, push marketing refers to ‘pushing’ information about a product or service outwards. When done correctly, push marketing brings recognition to, garners interest in and creates demand for a product or service. However, if information is being pushed to the wrong audience, your marketing messages will mostly likely fall flat.

Conversely, pull marketing refers to ‘pulling’ or attracting customers to a product or service. Pull marketing is more efficient, because customers are actively seeking products and services, so you don’t have to spend time and resources trying to peak their interest. When an audience is searching for your particular product or service, all you have to do is beat out the competition.

In the pharmaceutical industry, push marketing strategies primarily targets healthcare providers through sales representatives. It was once commonplace to see sales representatives waiting in hallways outside hospitals and clinics, trying to convince doctors to prescribe their drug to patients. This is the essence of push marketing: companies pushing out mass messages about their product with the hopes of pulling in interested parties – regardless of the recipient’s enthusiasm or receptivity.

Because of changing policies and other concerns, the pharmaceutical industry is now experiencing a shift away from the push model. More focus is now being placed on the pull model, which is more beneficial for both the healthcare provider and the pharmaceutical company. Here are the reasons why:

Pull marketing is less intrusive
For healthcare providers; a sales representative showing up unexpectedly negatively impacts the providers’ schedule and willingness to promote their product. With the rise of pull marketing, and advances in technology, healthcare professionals can search out the information they want from pharmaceutical companies. Additionally, healthcare professionals can contact pharmaceutical sales representatives when a product or service appeals to their practice and patients, and at a time that’s convenient

Pull marketing streamlines the sales process

With the pull method, the ability to purchase and distribute drugs is no longer solely based on interactions between sales representatives and healthcare providers. The core principle of pull marketing is drawing individuals and healthcare providers towards the pharmaceutical company, making the sales process very timely and cost-effective.

Because drug companies cannot directly sell to patients, they must rely on doctors to prescribe their medication to patients. However, they can still market to individuals – who in turn request a specific drug from their doctor.

The Internet is designed for pull marketing

Online marketing through targeted advertisements based on previous search engine queries is an example of online pull marketing. Another example is search engine optimization and smart analytics, where messages from a pharmaceutical company can be tailored to reach individuals based on specific key words. Pharmaceutical companies use these strategies hoping that patients will see their advertisements and ask their healthcare provider about the specific therapeutic. The healthcare provider would then connect with the pharmaceutical company for drug samples or more information.

Pull marketing opens a window into the mind of the consumer
Targeted marketing from the pull methodology allows pharmaceutical companies to receive insights straight from the customer, and enables them to serve their needs directly. Having customer insight is invaluable for pharmaceutical companies, because they can use this data to engage customers in a more personalized manner. Combining data with advanced analytics, like AI and machine learning, enables companies to provide the exact content consumers are looking for.

So what does the future hold?
The pharmaceutical industry will always need salespeople, but their role as the single point of contact for influencing healthcare providers is changing. More and more companies are focusing on pull marketing strategies to attract individuals to their products. This approach reduces cost and increases the efficiency of the pharmaceutical sales staff. 

Thanks to the Internet and powerful tools like AI and machine learning, companies can effectively segment and customize marketing for both patients and healthcare professionals. These technologies enable pharmaceutical organizations to pull customers into their products, maximizing the growth of the product in the target population. As technologies continue to advance, and consumer behavior becomes easier to predict, pull strategies will only grow in popularity and demand.

P360 has you covered!

P360 powers life sciences companies with scalable, ROI-focused advanced technology solutions, helping you get the most out of your push and pull strategies. For example, our Swittons smart devices help facilitate remote physician engagement with the simple click of a button. In addition, our AI-powered sales enablement platform BirdzAI generates better lead by providing deep insights regarding sales forecasting, churn prediction, brand propensity analysis, next best action insights and more. And our Data360 platform is the engine that drives it all. The comprehensive pharmaceutical analytics and data management suite provides users with critical insights at a single glance, increasing productivity and data quality.

Learn more about P360’s solutions at P360.com.