Virtual reality tools help digital pharmaceutical marketing
As health care and health care marketing grows, so too will the number of tools designed for medical and pharmaceutical marketing. Innovations include Flash animations, 3D presentations and video webcasts. Now pharmaceutical companies are making scientific content come alive through VR, otherwise known as virtual reality.
VR allows for event experiences that were impossible just a few years ago. Pharmaceutical companies can use VR in medical conventions rather than hauling around heavy, expensive equipment. Virtual reality also helps convention attendees explore mechanisms of action in a completely new and engaging way.
VR sessions can increase the quality and attractiveness of visits by medical representatives. With virtual reality, the user becomes actively involved in the presentation. A health care professional looking through a pair of VR glasses can explore pharmaceutical machinery that is in a remote location or vacuum sealed. The clinician can also interact with the virtual environment to learn how to use the machinery.
Augmented and virtual reality is changing the way people interact with technology. Once the stuff of entertaining novelties and science fiction stories, technology is now finding its way into all avenues of life – including business.
Whether it’s augmented reality-powered smart glasses helping field service engineers superimpose schematics over real machines or virtual reality technology allowing travellers to tour destinations before deciding whether to book a flight, this incredible tech has almost unlimited applications.
However, one arena in which the technology has yet to find a firm home is in pharmaceutical marketing and sales. This could be set to change in 2021, however, as brands are beginning to see the potential for AR and VR tech to help sell pharma products.
We’ve seen dozens of consumer brands using augmented reality to offer their customers unique experiences, such as cosmetics companies using AR apps to allow their audience to virtually try on different looks without having to apply make-up to their faces. Similarly, clothing brands are installing AR-powered mirrors which offer a range of features such as enabling customers to switch the colours of clothing with a swipe of their hand.
While this technology may not immediately seem like a good fit for pharmaceutical marketing, the opposite is, in fact, true. There are lots of opportunities to use AR and VR to help patients and healthcare providers make better choices when buying medical products.
Pharmaceutical Product Visualization
When consumers are shopping in drug stores for off-the-shelf medications, the selection can often be overwhelming. With many different brands to choose from and many variants of the same medication even within those brands, customers can often be left confused and frustrated.
Choice aside, there are also many other considerations to be made when selecting an off-the-shelf medication. Consumers must be cautious about possible side effects, any dietary restrictions which may be applicable, and whether the product will react with any other medication they might be currently taking. Much of this information is often contained in a leaflet within the product packaging, making it difficult for these customers to make an informed choice.
An augmented reality-powered smartphone app or smart glasses could help with this decision-making process. By holding the smartphone camera or glasses over the product, additional information could be superimposed onto the image which helps customers better understand all the factors discussed above
Another problem patients face is understanding their medical conditions. Assuming they possess no medical training themselves, a lot of the terminology and descriptions surrounding these conditions can be esoteric and confusing.
If patients can’t understand the nature of their condition, it stands to reason they will also have difficulty understanding the treatment options and related products available to them.
Augmented reality can help with this again. An AR-enabled device could be held over the affected area – for a skin condition, for example – and could show them how the illness might progress and explain the associated terminology. The display could then assist with treatment by demonstrating the best way to apply ointment, dressings, or other interventions. This will help patients become more confident about their treatment, and they will look favourably upon the pharmaceutical brand that assisted in their learning.
The AR guide will also help with treatment adherence and boost clinical outcomes, which benefits both patients and healthcare providers.
Implant and Prosthetic Education
One of the most traumatic and difficult-to-process medical situations a person can face is the loss of a limb or other body part. The sense of loss and lack of control that comes with such an injury can leave people feeling a range of negative emotions. The psychological recovery from such an event can take a significant amount of time.
Virtual reality technology can help these patients take control of their recovery by helping them visualize how different prosthetic options will appear on their limb and how they will operate.
The tech can also help with physiotherapy. For example, when a patient is learning to walk again with a set of prosthetic legs, virtual reality can help immerse them in a more natural environment, helping to remove the stress and discomfort which can often be felt in a clinical setting.
Producers of prosthetic products can incorporate these services into their offerings, helping to make their interventions more attractive to sufferers of these debilitating conditions.
Virtual Reality and Pharmaceuticals
There are almost unlimited benefits of virtual reality in pharmaceutical marketing today. VR gives pharmaceutical marketers an opportunity to deliver to their audiences the closest experience possible with a product, service or place without actually being there. VR gives pharmaceutical marketers an ideal way to engage customers.
Branding and digital ID
Pharmaceutical companies can use VR technology to promote brand awareness in a unique way. Consumers are far more likely to remember the extraordinary experience of virtual reality than a PowerPoint presentation. VR allows retailers to market products more cost effectively – marketers can provide the viewer with an immersive virtual reality experience instead of lugging around expensive, heavy machinery.
Virtual reality creates an innovative approach to visual storytelling for pharmaceutical and biotech marketing, enabling marketers to tell stories in a completely new way. VR always creates a buzz and builds excitement about a product, even when the product is as mundane as a syringe or tubing.
The “wow factor” of virtual reality attracts clients while well-placed substantive information leads consumers to the “eureka moment” of real understanding of the potential benefits of a particular pharmaceutical product. Virtual reality creates excitement that grabs the attention of a target group and entices them to learn more about a product. Marketers can then make information available that might not be accessible or interesting through traditional media.
Because VR is exciting and engaging, it helps pique and retains an interest in biochemical processes, clinical trials, equipment and more by creating an interactive, intuitive and sometimes playful learning environment. It allows pharmaceutical professionals and other health care workers to become active, rather than passive, consumers of information.
Virtual reality provides a tangible and powerful product experience not possible with brochures, speeches, websites or even videos because it allows potential clients to “test drive” equipment without actually having to touch the equipment. The VR experience is the difference between walking around a seaside resort, for example, rather than merely seeing pictures of it.
Virtual reality can build empathy. Because of demanding workloads and the scientific complexities of their jobs, practitioners can sometimes lose sight of why they became doctors in the first place, which is to help patients. VR helps them regain empathy in a truly impactful way, one that helps clinicians.
VR helps clinicians “experience” what it is like to have Parkinson’s or chronic migraines, for example, as they feel their hands shake or see as a migraine aura distorts their vision. The experience engages users in a way that makes them more receptive to brand messages.
Virtual reality can facilitate training. A company that produces stents, for example, can use VR to let clinicians experience how it feels to use the device without the fear of failure. VR shows the production process and educates consumers in an immersive way. Viewers get an inside look at machinery and physiological processes normally hidden from view.
At the drug introduction stage, virtual reality serves as a tool for raising awareness among doctors. At the product growth and maturity stage, VR reinforces traditional promotional tools and increases market penetration, which leads to more sales, frequent use of the drug, use of the drug by new patients and more.
Making Scientific Information Come Alive Through VR
An increasing number of companies now embrace the idea that making scientific content come alive through VR can improve interest in new products during medical conventions, conferences and other events where doctors, administrators and other medical professionals gather. A growing number of pharmaceutical companies are utilizing virtual reality to engage physicians and create memorable brand experiences.
Augmented and virtual reality can help the manufacturers of pharmaceutical products add new experiences to their service and allow patients better understand their conditions and the treatments available to them. This will help instil confidence in the brands providing these products and boost sales as a result
If you’d like to learn more about pharma digital marketing and how a digital strategy can drive your company forward, schedule a consultation with the marketing experts here Abdallah Battah