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7 February 2020

3 Key Takeaways from the Digital Pharma Advances Conference

The pharma industry is seeing increasingly rapid change in the digital space. Last week Bryter attended the Digital Pharma Advances conference in London where we had the chance to learn about the current trends and best practices from across the industry. Thirty of the world’s largest pharmaceutical firms attended to share their learnings on digital advancements. Some showed strong leadership, and others lagged behind.

Here are three of the top themes that emerged from the presentations, panels and group discussions.

Swiss Army Knife1. Shiny new toys. In practice, digital initiatives are often innovation-led, but to be successful they must be founded on real needs. Firms can be driven by hype to try new technologies, landing them with force-fits and nice-to-haves that fail to solve any real patient or physician problems. This can also lead to negative associations with a technology, damaging the potential for future initiatives with that tech. By starting with a deep understanding of customer needs, pharmaceutical companies can ensure that investment into new digital projects is directed towards adding real value. Certain regulatory and compliance frameworks are already encouraging this approach.

crown2. ROI is king. It can be difficult to measure the impact of digital initiatives. In many cases the impact is intangible, for example a patient app that helped to build trust amongst HCPs in a pharma brand. Being able to quantify return on investment can be essential for projects to win support internally. Different industry players take different approaches to measuring ROI, and the best approach also differs by indication, product and market. The need for a universal metric was clearly expressed. There were also questions about the extent to which digital initiatives can deliver value for pharma companies at all, and whether public health institutions should pick up the bill. The debate about how best to measure customer engagement continues.

data earth3. All the data in the world. There is huge potential for data to provide opportunities that is yet to be activated. Pharmaceutical companies are already gathering vast amounts of data, but they typically lack the expertise to deal with it. Structuring these data lakes and operationalizing their use is a huge task, one that is commanding job titles, software platforms and strategic objectives. The need for sensitive, human understanding is ever more clear in a world obsessed with data and analytics.


Our upcoming report on Digital Strategies for HCP Engagement, based on extensive primary research across Europe, will be released in February. The report will cover HCP preferences for digital communications and strengthening customer relationships through digital channels.


If you would like to know more about how to identify patient and physician needs, how to develop effective KPIs and measure the success of digital innovations, and how to optimize your marketing to deliver value for customers, contact Felix on felix.maynard@bryter-uk.com, or give us a call on 0207 033 7300.

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