Pharma visual aids: Why should you update yours?

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Do you know pharmaceutical companies are spending as much as 14% on advertising (Source: Forbes) but not on pharma visual aids?

Do you know this is the second highest spending after the technology sector?

The need to bridge the gap between the latest research and doctors is big. And the role of pharma visual aids in doing so cannot be underestimated. However, most of the doctors refuse to give Medical Representatives their time and attention. Do you know why does this happen?

The biggest reason is the failure of pharmaceutical visual aids to provide useful insights to the doctor. One cannot expect a doctor to hear that pantoprazole is a Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) or Ibuprofen is a Non-Steroidal Inflammatory Drug (NSAID). This is the knowledge the doctor already has. And most of the pharma companies are using this kind of information in their visual aid books.And this is not what the doctor wants to hear. However, what the doctor may not be aware of is the latest research on the molecules, any revisions in the indicated uses of the drugs and also comparable efficacy reviews and other ongoing studies. So, an efficient visual aid needs to have not just more but better. Here, quality is a priority and not the quantity of the content.

Then, there are several other shortcomings like outdated designs, lack of effective images, plagiarized work, non-referenced statements, lack of strategic design mixes, inappropriate designs, mixed kinds of information, etc. For instance, a dermatological use of an antibiotic medicine is explained to a gynecologist only because the MR has learnt it from the VA. Well, the same medicine may be used in different segments, but for different indications. Your pharma VA needs to identify the target audience in order to generate the best results.

An effective pharma visual aid contributes to best marketing practices and so, it can do wonders. On the contrary, an ineffective non-performing pharma visual aid can bring down your company’s sales.

What else?

Then, a doctor has only a limited time that can be spared for Medical Representatives. But if this time is not giving them any useful information, they will be reluctant to give their time and attention. However, something new, something useful can push them to give their attention towards something that can improve treatment outcomes. After all, that’s what a doctor needs.

Most of the pharmaceutical visual aids used especially by the Pharma PCD companies (Propaganda Cum Distribution) fail to identify and display this relevance in their visual aids. And that’s what they do only for cost-cutting of their marketing budget. Instead, they prefer spending more on advertising. We will discuss that too in detail in our future posts. For now, let’s stay with the pharma visual aids in this post.

The evolving landscape of healthcare and doctor expectations:

The healthcare landscape is in constant flux. It is driven by advancements in technology, shifting patient demographics, and evolving regulations. This dynamic environment also impacts the way doctors receive information. Additionally, it influences on how they make decisions about their patients’ care.

Understanding these changing dynamics is crucial for pharma companies when designing visual aids. These materials, once viewed as simple product brochures, now need to be strategic tools that cater to the evolving needs and expectations of doctors.

Here are some key trends shaping the landscape of healthcare and doctor expectations:

Patient-centric care:

Firstly, the healthcare focus has shifted towards empowering patients. So, a lot of focus and emphasis is on actively involving them in their healthcare decisions. So, this would mean that the doctor today need concise, accurate, and accessible information to share with their patients. Therefore, visual aids should be designed to facilitate clear communication.

TIP: Clear and concise information.

Information overload:

Doctors are bombarded with information daily from various sources. Besides concise information, they require visually appealing and evidence-based content. This can help them quickly grasp key product information and its potential benefits for their patients. So, today’s pharma visual aids need to be have the latest information that can help the doctor.

As a growing pharma company, you need to work with healthcare providers to identify what information may be new. The work here just begins! Identification is one step. The next step would be to include this kind of information in the most appealing and concise manner. Also, for the doctor to trust the new information and also to access the full study, which obviously cannot be included in one or two visual aid pages, it is advisable to include authentic references.

TIP: Reference-based latest updates.

Time pressures:

Doctors have limited consultation time. So, it is essential for visual aids to be easily digestible and allow for efficient information sharing. Interactive elements and engaging visuals can help capture attention and retain key information.

TIP: Interactive designing

Increased scrutiny and transparency:

Regulatory requirements and ethical considerations demand accurate, unbiased, and transparent communication of product information. So, your pharma visual aids must adhere to these standards and avoid promotional bias.

TIP: Authentic information

Technological advancements:

Doctors increasingly rely on digital tools and platforms for accessing information and interacting with pharma reps. So, pharma visual aids should be adapted to these digital formats and leverage interactive elements to enhance engagement. One of the best means to do so can be using animated visual aids and product presentations. These are not only advanced and more visually appealing, but also time-efficient and cost-friendly pharma visual aids.

TIP: Merge innovation and information.

Rise of personalized medicine:

Tailoring treatments based on individual patient needs is becoming increasingly common. Therefore, pharma visual aids should be flexible enough to adapt to different patient profiles and treatment scenarios.

Beyond these trends, it’s important to remember that doctors are individuals with diverse preferences and learning styles. Also, pharma companies should conduct research and gather feedback from their target audience to understand their specific needs and preferences for visual aids.

By staying informed about the evolving healthcare landscape and doctor expectations, pharma companies can develop effective visual aids that resonate with their target audience and ultimately contribute to better patient care.

Why outdated pharma visual aids can hinder communication and effectiveness?

In this dynamic world of healthcare, information is constantly evolving and patient expectations are shifting. So, outdated visual aids used by pharma companies can become significant barriers to effective communication and hinder the success of medical representatives. Here’s why:

Accuracy and Relevance:

  • Outdated information: Firstly, medical knowledge and treatment protocols change rapidly. Therefore, visual aids based on outdated data can mislead doctors and compromise patient care. This can therefore result in the lost credibility of the doctor on the pharma company and medical representatives.
  • Lack of relevance to current needs: Secondly, doctors need information tailored to their specific patient populations and treatment scenarios. So, outdated visuals may not address their current concerns or considerations.

Communication and Engagement:

  • Text-heavy and static presentations: Next, long blocks of text and outdated visuals can be overwhelming and fail to capture the doctor’s attention. This hinders information absorption and meaningful interaction. For instance, compare the two designs of a visual aid for the same drug, Rosuvastatin. You can easily identify the difference between text-heavy visual aid from the one with less text but meaningful information.
Pharma visual aids

Similarly, you can see the difference between a static visual aid from an animated visual aid. For examples, visit: Animated/Digital visual aids

  • Lack of interactivity and personalization: Static visuals don’t allow for the exploration of data or adaptation to specific patient profiles. This therefore limits the potential for deeper engagement and tailoring information to individual needs.

Brand Image and Trust:

  • Outdated design aesthetics: Outdated visuals can create a perception of a stagnant or uncompetitive brand, undermining doctors’ trust and confidence in the company’s products.
  • Inconsistent messaging: Visual aids that don’t align with other marketing materials can create confusion and damage the brand’s credibility.

Missed Opportunities and Compliance Issues:

  • Ineffective communication: Outdated visuals may fail to effectively communicate vital product information, leading to missed opportunities for updating doctors with advanced research.
  • Non-compliance with regulations: Moreover, outdated visuals that don’t adhere to evolving regulations or ethical guidelines can expose the company to legal risks and reputational damage.

Impact on Return on Investment (ROI):

  • Inefficient interactions: Outdated visuals can lead to longer and less productive interactions between medical representatives and doctors. Hence, it can impact ROI in sales and marketing efforts of the medical representatives.

By addressing these challenges, pharma companies can leverage the power of up-to-date and engaging visual aids to:

  • Enhance communication and engagement with doctors.
  • Establish their companies and their representatives as reliable and trustworthy sources of information.
  • Maximize the effectiveness of their sales and marketing efforts.

Investing in modern, data-driven, and interactive visual aids is not just a best practice, but a strategic necessity for pharma companies to thrive in the evolving healthcare landscape.

The Cost of Outdated Visual Aids: Beyond Missed Opportunities

While the negative impact of outdated visual aids on communication and effectiveness is undeniable, the true cost extends far beyond missed opportunities. Here’s a deeper look at the tangible and intangible costs associated with clinging to the past:

Financial Costs:

  • Production and printing expenses: Outdated visuals require repeated printing, incurring unnecessary costs that could be redirected towards more effective materials.
  • Reduced sales and marketing ROI: Ineffective communication can lead to lost sales opportunities and a lower return on investment for marketing and sales efforts.

Brand Reputation Costs:

  • Perceived lack of innovation: Outdated visuals can create a perception of a stagnant or uncompetitive brand, impacting its reputation among doctors and patients alike.
  • Erosion of trust and credibility: Inconsistent or inaccurate information can damage the brand’s credibility. So, it can make it harder for the pharma company to gain and retain the trust of healthcare professionals.

Human Capital Costs:

  • Reduced productivity of medical representatives: Ineffective visuals can lead to longer and less productive interactions with doctors. An unproductive communication can therefore impacting the efficiency and effectiveness of sales representatives.
  • Demotivated workforce: Using outdated materials can demotivate sales representatives and negatively impact their morale and performance.
  • Missed opportunities for talent acquisition and retention: A company relying on outdated tools may struggle to attract and retain top talent in the competitive pharma industry.

Ethical Costs:

  • Misleading information: Outdated visuals can lead to the dissemination of inaccurate or misleading information. As a result, it can compromise patient care and ethical standards.
  • Failure to address evolving patient needs: Clinging to outdated visuals can hinder the ability to effectively address the changing needs and preferences of patients. Hence, it can compromise the ethical responsibility to provide optimal care.

Long-Term Competitive Costs:

  • Falling behind the competition: By not embracing modern pharma visual aids, companies risk falling behind competitors who are utilizing innovative and effective communication tools.
  • Difficulty adapting to future trends: Sticking to outdated methods can make it harder to adapt to future advancements in technology and communication preferences. Hence, it can hinder long-term growth and competitiveness.

Therefore, the cost of outdated visual aids extends far beyond their initial production price tag. By considering these various facets, pharma companies can gain a clearer understanding of the true impact of clinging to the past and make informed decisions about investing in modern, effective visual communication tools.

Key Reasons for Updating Your Pharma Visual Aids

As evident from the above discussion, clinging to outdated pharma visual aids can be detrimental to your brand image, communication effectiveness, and ultimately, patient care. Here are the key reasons why updating your visual aids is not just a suggestion, but a strategic necessity:

1. Ensuring Accuracy and Relevance:

  • Stay ahead of the science curve: At first, medical knowledge and treatment protocols undergo continuous advancements. So, regularly updating your visuals ensures they reflect the latest scientific evidence and best practices. Further, it ensures best treatment outcomes.
  • Address current needs and trends: Doctors need information tailored to their specific patient populations and treatment scenarios. Therefore, updating your visuals allows you to address their evolving needs and align with current trends in healthcare.

2. Enhancing Communication and Engagement:

  • Move beyond text-heavy brochures: Ditch the dense information overload and embrace visually engaging formats like infographics, animations, and interactive elements. These capture attention, enhance information retention, and facilitate more meaningful interactions with doctors.
  • Personalize your approach: Modern visual aids allow for customization based on individual doctor preferences and patient profiles. This creates a more relevant and engaging experience, fostering deeper connections and better outcomes.

3. Building Brand Image and Trust:

  • Showcase innovation and leadership: Outdated visuals can create the impression of a stagnant brand. Whereas, updating with fresh designs and cutting-edge technology demonstrates innovation, builds trust, and positions your brand as a leader in the field.
  • Maintain consistent messaging: Ensure your visual aids align with your overall brand image and marketing efforts. This creates a unified and credible message, strengthening brand recognition and trust among healthcare professionals.

4. Maximizing Opportunities and Compliance:

  • Don’t miss out on doctor engagement: Outdated visuals might fail to effectively communicate vital product information. As a result, it leads to missed opportunities for doctor engagement, education and treatment adherence. On the other hand, updated visuals can bridge the gap, ensuring better health outcomes.
  • Stay compliant with regulations: Evolving regulations and ethical guidelines demand transparency and accurate information. So, updating your visuals ensures compliance with current standards and minimizes legal or reputational risks.

5. Boosting ROI and Competitive Advantage:

  • Enhance the effectiveness of your sales force: Modern visual aids empower medical representatives to deliver more compelling presentations. As a result, it can lead to better engagement, higher conversion rates and a maximized return on investment.
  • Stay ahead of the competition: In a competitive market, outdated visuals can leave you behind. However, by embracing modern communication tools, you can stand out, attract top talent and gain a competitive edge.

Updating your pharma visual aids is not just about aesthetics; it’s a strategic investment in your brand, communication effectiveness, and ultimately, patient care. By embracing these key reasons and taking action, you can ensure your visuals stay relevant and impactful and contribute to your success in the dynamic world of healthcare.

Contact us for a consultation on updating your pharma visual aids.

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