Christiane Truelove is editor in chief of Med Ad News and R&D Directions, two Canon Communications publications that cover the pharmaceutical industry with a focus on product marketing and clinical research. She is also the blogger behind the company's Pharma Blog Review. Truelove spoke to BtoB not only about what marketers outside the industry should know as they reach into the vertical.
BtoB: Pharmaceutical companies traditionally have employed large sales forces to reach doctors. What is the trend now?
Truelove: A lot of salespeople are being cut. It's no longer the case that more sales calls equal more prescriptions. Doctors don't want to see salespeople. Doctors are pressed for time, and they have a couple of [sales representatives] detailing the same drug hitting the same office each day. It is overkill.
BtoB: Where are pharmaceutical marketers moving their dollars?
Truelove: They're looking at more online initiatives. They're looking at virtual or online detailing. But even then they have to find ways to get to where the doctors are. Doctors don't want to be sold to. They want to be talked with. They want transparency from the pharmaceutical company. They want information on their own time. They don't want a message pushed at them.
BtoB: What do vendors' marketing products and services to pharma companies need to know before they approach this vertical?
Truelove: Everyone is trying to market to the pharmaceutical companies: marketing consultants, sales representative trainers, medical education companies, packaging people. If anyone thinks they can approach a pharmaceutical company without having an in, they're going to have a very tough going. They really have to know what the company is looking for, who their vendors are now. New companies popping up are doing e-media and social media marketing. —C.W.