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Many patients don’t feel connected to the pharmaceutical industry due to their healthcare advertising campaigns, according to recent research.

Of the 31 people who took part in the research, carried out by Wego Health Solutions in March, 25% claimed they don’t see themselves in the marketing with which Pharma companies use to advertise their products. The company behind the research went on to call the findings a “wake up call” for the healthcare advertising industry, claiming there is a real need to rebuild the connection between drug makers and patients.

Their suggestion is that Pharma companies need to use patient advisory panels and focus groups to provide a better insight into what their clients look for in terms of marketing, and not just when the product launches, but throughout its entire lifecycle.

Todd Kolm, Wego’s SVP of strategy, said: “If a brand is serious about connecting with its patients, it needs to involve them as stakeholders and use that insight to evolve with them. This is certainly not a one-and-done endeavour.”

The data and information achieved via this kind of research can also help shape the interactions between sales reps and medical practitioners, while encouraging companies to reach out to patients in different ways than they have previously used.

Advertising and marketing companies have also been advised to use real patients and their stories in their campaigns in order to better resonate with the public. Currently, the majority of pharmaceutical products are endorsed by models and actors, who the audience feel would never actually use the drugs or devices they are attempting to sell.

As well as this, companies should also be looking into Behavioural Targeting techniques aka interest-based advertising. This uses information collected on an individual’s internet browsing (using cookies) to tailor specific adverts to the individual based on sites they have previously visited. This could also help to better connect the industry to their audience.

Despite this, the advertising industry is on the rise, particularly in America where drug companies spent $4.54 billion on marketing, an increase in spending of 21% compared to 2013, according to research firm Nielsen NV. During this period, Pfizer spent the most with $751.9 million on television ads, while owning seven of the top 10 most-advertised drug brands.

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