Customer Personas: Applying Target Marketing for Pharma brands


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Target Marketing in Pharma by creating Customer Avatars


Creating the Customer Avatar in Pharma


Have you defined the target market of your pharma brand?

Do you know who your ideal customer is?


A general answer to this question would be doctors, consumers, or paramedics.

And if I were to ask you to describe them more specifically – you might state them as general physicians, pediatricians, dermatologists, pharmacists, patients, etc…

And that’s it.

That is what we probably knew about our target market and were satisfied mentioning that in our pharmaceutical marketing strategy slides.

In the digital world – this could be termed more as a stranger approach

A product-centric way of target marketing where we are more interested in positioning our pharma products intelligently and competitively in the market. 

Maybe in the traditional method that was sufficient, but digital has given us the opportunity to customize our selection, communication and offerings to a select group of target customer. 

Following such a blanket approach of targeting customers, will create fuzzy marketing strategies and communications. And also compromise the pharmaceutical brand’s ROI.

An example of an ideal customer for a pharma’s target market segment

Now I want you to give a thought to the following description of a customer.

My customer is Dr. Harrison, a surgeon, who is well known and has good patient reviews. He likes to play tennis. And is very active in an online social group of medical professionals. Dr. Harrison likes to read journals like BMJ and newsletters by NEJM. He consults many patients for a disorder, but he is not satisfied with the results of the current drugs available in the market. His patients are also unhappy with the side effects of these drugs. Dr. Harrison is committed to giving the best patient experience and fears having a bad reputation. He always seeks to improve his knowledge and skills. He has a good twitter following and has a personal blog, where he regularly shares his medical experience and knowledge ….”

Just imagine how you could elevate your communication to such targeted market segment.
You will naturally just know what you need to SAY and DO for this customer and thus always feel connected..
And you will communicate like your speaking to them directly!

External Problems vs Internal Problems

With the traditional, product-centric approach, we focused only on the EXTERNAL PROBLEMS.
That is, we would try to position our product in a particular indication or problem area for a specific disorder. And we strived, for the doctor to remember our brand name in that particular indication.

And you know what?
Every brand in the market also focused on those same External problems.

As Donald Miller explains,
Companies tend to sell solutions to EXTERNAL problems, but people buy solutions to INTERNAL problems.

Only when you are able to identify with the INTERNAL PROBLEMS of your customers,

– Will you be able to develop a sense of empathy and understanding
– And want to serve your customer at the highest level

Not in terms of the product, you have to offer.

But much more than that.
All with an empathetic understanding of what your customers are striving for – which could be knowledge, decision making, guidance from KOL or improving their skills?

A strategic direction to target marketing in pharma

WHO is your customer?
This important question will provide directions to your overall strategy like –

WHAT you need to do in terms of content and strategy.
It will also guide you on Where you can find your customer,
Which digital channels you will need to adopt and 
How you can approach your customer

How knowing who your customer can help unfold your pharma target marketing strategy

Isn’t it amazing how your marketing strategy can unfold by just knowing, “Who your ideal customer” is?

In short, basically, all your marketing strategy depends on this basic understanding.
Your messaging and offerings will then be so laser-focused that it will resonate with your target customers.

Customer Avatar

Creating the buyer persona, or the customer avatar is where it all begins.
The customer avatar represents your ideal customer in the target market of your pharma brand. Your dream customer!

Creating a customer avatar is usually the first and important step in creating your digital marketing plan of action. 

The parameters for knowing your customer in the digital world calls for closer analysis. Not just the regular superficial ones like demographics, age, gender, or income but going much deeper and being able to closely know the internal struggle, pain point, fear, frustrations and the Real needs of the customer. 

How do I get the information?

Yes, I agree it will take some effort and time on your part. You would need to study your internal customer data, talk with your sales/customer support team, do some online research – study the forums, competitor blogs/sites, comments, etc…conduct interviews, surveys, ask on social media groups.

Here are 9 essential tools for Pharma Marketers, interested to know about their target market audience, that will help them in gathering information for creating the personas. Click Here

Sometimes you will be intimately familiar with the characteristics of your ideal customer and sometimes you will just have to make assumptions. 

You will be making changes to your customer avatar and fine-tuning it as you proceed,
but the important thing is to just take that leap and get started with the process of creating the avatar.

Creating the Customer Avatar for Pharma

1. What does your customer look like

Think of a fictional name for your customer avatar. You can also give this avatar a face, that represents them. Hang this picture on your wall.

Can you bring in a few real quotes used by your customers (during interviews or calls) that would define them, inspire them or that would bring in their struggles, frustrations or outlook toward life? 

It is just so amazing how your perspective changes when you have a physical picture of your ideal customer – instead of a hazy, half-formed image in your head.
– Russell Brunson

Template: What does your customer avatar look like?

2. General background and Demographics

These are pretty basic information that will be easier to fill in. But it will help, when you are selecting the targeting options for social media ads.

Customer Avatar Template: Questions for knowing the Demographic profile that will help in pharma target marketing

3. Sources of information

This will help you know where your customers usually hang out and which digital channels you can consider to reach them. Important questions to look into are,

Template: Important Questions for knowing sources of Information

4. Attitude and Outlook

This will give you a direction on how you can approach your customers and also help set the tone for your marketing. The questions you can consider looking into are,

Template: questions for knowing the attitude and outlook that will help in pharma target marketing

5. Personal goals

This step reveals the hidden personal aspirations and motivations of your customer. Finding answers to these questions will let you know, how your company can help them and be an important contributor in your customer’s journey.

template: Important questions to know the personal goals that will help in pharma target marketing

6. Internal struggles 

These are the sticky areas, which will give you an opportunity to bond with your customer. You can effectively bring them into your marketing copy – and compel them, to take an action!

template: Important questions to know the internal customer struggle that will help in pharma target marketing

7. Around your product

You might want to look into the thought process and indicators on why a customer would select your product or choose your competitor’s product.

imp questions to know objections and role of customer Around your product

Multiple Avatars

Consider doing this exercise separately for doctors, patients and whichever other categories of customers you wish to target.

Also do note that within a segment of your targeted doctors, you may have 2-3 customer avatars.
So having multiple customer avatars is absolutely fine!

In summary,
Good digital marketing practice calls for such an in-depth understanding of your customers.

And if you’re going to spend a ton of your time as well as money on crafting marketing strategies and running promotions for the customer.
Then crafting a CUSTOMER AVATAR profile is going to be a crucial component. Definitely don’t miss on this step.

Customer Personas: Applying Target Marketing for Pharma brands

Customer Personas: Applying Target Marketing for Pharma brands

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