China Insights

Doctors not satisfied with current digital marketing activities

Adele Li

Senior Commercial Director, Health

Health 21.04.2019 / 20:20

Female doctor on X-Ray and mobile phone

Chinese doctors’ satisfaction about pharmaceutical companies’ digital marketing services drops back to the level of three years ago.

They say that you get only one chance to make a first impression. That may be especially true for engaging Chinese physicians on digital channels.

While many companies have multiple WeChat public accounts for company level, product level and even activity level objectives, Kantar's 2018 Digital Life Physician and Patient study shows that only 42% of physicians subscribe to company public accounts. Furthermore, what's even more alarming is that many physicians have developed a habit of cancelling subscriptions if they feel that the content of the accounts is not helpful or professional enough.

Digital health technologies have effectively brought the “fast access" component to physicians, where they can get quick access to items such as updated guidelines, but physicians are also demanding depth in the information they review that will bring more value to their academic needs.

True Digital Innovation

In 2015, innovative and traditional channels shared equally in delivering information to physician stakeholders. By 2016 and 2017, innovative channels had surged to become the main channel of information distribution, with many expecting that 2018 would yield similar results. However, in a big shock and a red alert for our industry, the numbers reverted back to those of three years ago. This has triggered a major debate on what happened, with many questions being raised and many thoughts and assumptions being questioned.

In Kantar's view, the answer is that the market needs more truly digital innovation activity. While three years ago many companies were unable to distinguish between webinar and webcasting, today almost every pharma company has the means to host hundreds of webinars and webcasting events. Moving from traditional face-to-face engagements to online engagements certainly brought convenience and expanded coverage at first, but we must be mindful of what the true motivation is for the physician attending – is it because the channel is convenient or because the speaker is knowledgeable and delivers value.

Looking to the Future

The good news is that more physicians want to try, or have already tried, advancements such as Internet Hospitals. In fact, in our latest Digital Life Physician and Patient study, 76% of physicians are optimistic about the future of Internet Hospitals. These physicians are saying:

•     "It's a supplement and assistance to physical medical treatments, integration of online and offline."

•     "It's the trend of future development, and will gradually replace the traditional medical treatment mode."

•     "Medical visits are no longer limited by time and place, providing convenience for physicians and patients."

In addition, physicians perceive artificial intelligence as coming and helpful, with 38% saying that in the future artificial intelligence can replace part or some of doctors' work, and 42% saying that artificial intelligence will become an aid to future doctor diagnosis. Finally, in a sign of the times, the age of social media driven content is creating its share of Internet celebrity doctors, with 5% saying: "I have a certain degree of popularity on some platforms and have many fans."

To learn more about how digital health innovation delivers value to physician engagement, please check out Kantar's 2018 Digital Life Physician and Patient study, or please feel free to reach out to contact us directly with any questions! 

Source: Kantar

Editor's notes

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