We just pulled the top requests from our clients, and they all have a centralized theme: go local.
Local has always been important. Eat local, all government is local, shopping main street or being a good neighbor. And, as people become more aware of the impact of their actions on the environment and society, the trend towards "local" is likely to continue to grow.
So why does local matter in healthcare? Healthcare has unique challenges in each state as the systems and institutional players vary by state (or even region within the state). Local matters because the local landscape drives divergent priorities, targets, and opportunities that aren't captured in a national view.
Multitude of Healthcare Landscapes Drive Divergent Priorities
The healthcare landscape varies greatly from state to state. For example, some states have expanded Medicaid, while others have not. Patients in rural areas may have limited access to specialists and advanced medical technology, while urban areas may have more options but face higher costs. Religion is a key influencer in some areas, while in others it's academia. For pharma, it becomes extremely challenging to ensure a national message resonates.
For biopharma companies, efforts in local markets have traditionally been delivered by a rep detailing a doctor. However, access barriers have decreased the impact and effectiveness of this tool, and companies are now looking for new ways to communicate data, highlight partnerships, and showcase support programs. Showing up with a singular message can come across as tone-deaf or bland to physicians who are facing real problems that aren't acknowledged in one-size-fits-all materials.
Patchwork of Decision Makers and Regulations makes it Difficult to Target
From payers to hospital systems to government agencies, the patchwork of stakeholders involved in healthcare decisions is just going up. These decision-makers have different incentives, priorities and perspectives, making it challenging to navigate the healthcare system.
Compounding this patchwork, in some states, there is a single "power" entity, while in others there are multiple. In almost all states, the power to prescribe does not sit with the physician holding the Rx pad. As such, only targeting HCPs weakens a strategy. Instead, power sits with a variety of contracting entities: hospital systems, P&L committees, insurance companies, nursing companies, and pharmacies. Some of these are vertically integrated, while others are not.
Building compliant and above-board personal relationships - old school style - with these decision-makers is crucial to success. By fostering these relationships, pharma companies are able to adapt their efforts to regulations and policies that impact their operations and influence healthcare decisions in their area. This can include engaging with local government officials, insurance providers, and hospital systems to stay up-to-date on the latest regulations and policies.
Local Efforts Drive Outcomes
Local influencers can be patients, patient advocates, or community leaders who have a significant impact on healthcare decisions in their area. Patient advocates can influence healthcare policies and decisions at the local and state level. Local influencers can also be reps who show up to community events, provide a valuable service (i.e., education) to institutions, or support awareness efforts for emerging priorities.
Attending or sponsoring local events (conferences, symposia, CME) hosted by state associations, local organizations or advocacy groups allow companies to build trust and gain insights into the healthcare needs and priorities of their area. Partnering with local churches, professional associations, women's groups, community organizations and food banks for educational efforts reinforces community commitment and builds a foundation of insights to draw from.
These efforts can drive sales. According to a recent study, almost 60% of HCPs care about corporate reputation and almost the same state that a negative reputation would influence them NOT to prescribe.
One way pharma companies can show up locally is by mapping their territories, creating archetypes, and aligning tactics. A one-size fits all strategy is no longer effective in winning in difficult areas; a 50 state strategy is not time nor cost-effective. But creating archetypes, finding commonalities and understanding nuances across territories provides a happy balance and allows reps the leeway to target physicians in a way that is meaningful for the audience itself.
SponsorMotion is an AI powered database of healthcare conferences, symposia, CME and other sponsorships ranging from local to national. Our platform allows pharma companies to find engagement opportunities that align with their brand objectives. The platform also provides tools to filter, sort and manage investment.
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