It would be an understatement to say that 2021 is different for businesses and customers compared to 2020, a year since the start of the COVID pandemic. Businesses that adapted to the new normal now fight for their customers’ attention, since there is no going back to the old ways.
But what exactly is the new normal? What industry patterns did we observe in the last year that sets apart the COVID pandemic from the past global economic phenomenon like “The Great Recession”, “The Global Financial Crisis”, and various others, which changed how consumers interact with businesses? The way businesses navigated through harsh periods in the past must change. The same strategies cannot be used to oversee crises today. In the 2008’s crisis, businesses cut down on marketing expenses which had contributed to a sizeable portion of their total cost. This strategy helped businesses in keeping their operations afloat. Today, having access to cheaper and more available technology, businesses prefer to adopt digital channels for reaching their target audience. Today, businesses need to streamline their expenses by doing smart investments in digital technologies.
The new normal must be more about the increased adoption of such digital avenues. Studies already show a significant increase in the consumption of digital technologies within the last 18 months. This happens also due to the fact that more consumers are willing to take a hybrid approach, where they go touch, see, and try products offline, but don’t necessarily complete their purchase offline, but can also go online and order the items later.
Businesses should also understand that being just digital will not be sufficient. Having their presence across all business channels (omnichannel, omnipresent) will be the key going forward. While digital adoption is easier in a B2C scenario, in the case of B2B, most sales happen over in-person meetings, tradeshows, and seminars. Because of this, the adoption of digital technologies might be slower, but if done right, will leave a significant impact on the B2B landscape.
What is Impacting the Global Pharma Sector
A 2020 survey conducted by McKinsey on the Pharma Industry in Europe shows that the average number of in-person contacts by sales reps was 70 percent lower in September 2020 than before the pandemic. Whether it involved the release of a new drug or the production of an existing one, pharma organizations faced a more difficult challenge in getting their products to Health Care Professionals (HCP) due to disruptions in the supply chain, unlike CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) companies which had resorted to channels like Amazon or Flipkart to reach their customers.
Changing Dynamics in Pharma Marketing Pre & Post-Covid:
An increasing number of HCPs are adapting to the digital approach, which gives them the flexibility to inquire and understand all information related to the products(drugs) while keeping their offices open and attending to patients.
Why Revisiting the Business Processes is Key
Training and educating the sales personnel to get them familiar with the digital channels is important. Messages that sales representatives will deliver over the digital channels like video calls/webinars, will have to be structured differently from the ones used for face-to-face interactions.
With digital adoption creates a new pool of data, businesses should make the best use of it. Investing in AI/ML/Bots will help them solve key issues like identifying the right marketing mix, optimizing their marketing spend, and optimizing their sales visit.
While the global economy is still recovering, businesses reap the full benefit of the changing market dynamics and consumer preferences. Technology adoption alone is not sufficient, it needs to be paired with being agile in making business decisions by revisiting the processes, value chains, and making the necessary changes as required.
Seasoned Analytics professional, driven by curiosity to solve problems. Equipped with modern analytical tools and techniques, and business acumen to make sense out of complex business problem across domains like CPG, Retail, Finance and Marketing.