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The convergence of rare disease, digital communications, and pharmaceutical marketing communications

Email Stands Its Ground in Pharma Marketing

Posted by | 9:49am on Thursday, May 31, 2012

if you took all the posts on Facebook and all the tweets on Twitter, they would only add up to 0.2% of all email traffic 

It’s easy to get excited about the shiny new tool in the toolbox (Pinterest, anyone?) and forget about the tried and true digital marketing tactics that do the job—and do the job well. We need to remind ourselves how powerful and valuable email communications can be in building relationships, especially in the world of pharma marketing.

One of my favorite studies on pharmaceutical emails was released by Epsilon back in 2009. I wish they would conduct this study again because the information is so telling. Some highlights from this study include:

  • Of those who receive permission-based email from pharmaceutical firms, 86% say that email is a great way to learn about new products coming on the market.
  • Nearly half of respondents say the email they receive from pharmaceutical companies helps them stay on medication.
  • The majority of respondents who receive email from pharmaceutical companies have a more favorable opinion of, and are more loyal to those companies.

For rare disorder patients, emails and ongoing information about coping with their disease are even more essential

Recently, SmarterTools gathered and summarized some great data in a blog post on the use of email versus other digital tactics, such as Facebook and Twitter. It clearly shows the significant role email plays in our daily life relative to social media. Here’s a powerful stat: if you took all the posts on Facebook and all the tweets on Twitter, they would only add up to 0.2% of all email traffic.

Email still dominates digital marketing
It’s clear that while social media has certainly changed the way the world communicates, email is still an essential digital marketing tactic. As David Hallerman, eMarketer principal analyst and author of the new report, The Lessons of Email: Using Digital Touchpoints for Customer Loyalty, explains, “Email marketing has been around for a long time, so it might not have the same sizzle as newer, hotter marketing channels. But don’t confuse lack of flash with lack of effectiveness. Consumers are more open to email messaging than most other digital marketing, and it still gets results.”

ExactTarget recently released their 2012 Channel Preference Survey, which shows that email remains the number one direct channel preferred by consumers for daily use for both personal and marketing communications. Also, the growing popularity and widespread use of smartphones and tablets allow more and more consumers to access their email on the go.

Additionally, the ExactTarget report shows that 77% of consumers prefer to receive permission-based marketing communications through email, compared to social channels (6%) and text messaging (5%). If anything, there is a case to be made that overloading consumers’ “personal” channels like Facebook and Twitter—often reserved for connecting with family and friends—with marketing communications can put them off and damage the relationship you’re trying to build with them.

Email continues to be effective in giving consumers the feeling of control and personalization—giving them the power to opt into a relationship and then following through by providing them with the information they want to receive. The next step and challenge is determining the best way to apply this approach across all digital channels in order to better reach your target audience and further strengthen your relationship with them.

Do you agree that email remains a crucial relationship marketing tactic?

(Image courtesy of Jonathon Narvey on Flickr.)

About Doug Yamate

As a Content Developer, Doug assists the content team with defining a consistent and engaging tone for healthcare professional and patient audiences, creating content, conducting audience research and upholding regulatory compliance. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications Arts & Sciences from Dominican University.

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