On the surface, it’s a pretty simple question: How do physicians want to be contacted by pharmaceutical companies? But as any pharma marketer knows, determining the ideal multichannel marketing mix is often anything but simple. QuintilesIMS explores this challenge of striking the right balance between digital contact and face-to-face detailing in their whitepaper, Channel Preference Versus Promotional Reality.

To understand whether providers and pharmaceutical companies were on the same page, QuintilesIMS surveyed HCPs in diverse specialities across 35 different countries on their preferred communication channels. Then, they compared the results against the actual volume share of digital communication they received.

Ultimately, they found that digital channel preference varies greatly between countries and specialty areas. For instance, many providers in digitally advanced countries like Japan and the United States felt they were “oversaturated” with digital communication and would prefer more face-to-face interactions. In another example, HCPs in treatment areas with frequent product launches and large promotional spends, like cardiology, indicated they would prefer more contact through digital channels. In the face of these discrepancies, one thing is clear: what providers want and what pharmaceutical companies think they want don’t always match up.

What does this mean for life science companies? According to QuintilesIMS, “interpreting the rush of data on the way HCPs engage, separating the signal from the noise, and then acting to create the most effective multichannel experience by HCP and country will be the key challenge of multichannel for the next decade.” We couldn’t agree more. To effectively engage with HCPs, it’s absolutely imperative that Sales and Marketing work together to gather in-depth customer insight, build out channel preference profiles, share feedback and adjust communication approaches on an ongoing basis. Today’s pharmaceutical marketing landscape has never had more to analyze, but it’s within this influx of data that we find new opportunities to provide value through personalization and choice. As channel complexity grows, so does our ability to reach HCPs with individualized messaging strategies that equip them with the information they need, when—and where—they need it.

For more detailed survey findings, you can download the complete whitepaper here.