Eric Boothe discusses the use of mobile technology among physicians, and the practical application of 2D Barcodes for sales and marketing purposes in the pharma industry.
While print continues to be a standard for marketing initiatives in our industry, new opportunities for engagement with health care practitioners (HCP) and patients are becoming readily available. Recently, I came across a study conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers that stated 70 percent of physicians currently use their mobile devices five times a day or more to access information. Additionally, 80 percent of physicians were interested in mobile technology for prescribing.
The use of mobile technology is just taking flight, and health care communication professionals must consider hopping on board in 2011. As more physicians begin to rely on the speed and convenience of their smartphones to improve the healthcare they deliver, the greater the opportunities marketers have to connect with doctors across multiple channels—one being through 2D Barcodes.
Also known as Quick Response (QR) Codes, 2D Barcodes can be read through a mobile device’s camera. A software application on a smartphone reads the code and directs the user to a phone number, contact information, website, or whatever has been programmed in to capture the physician’s attention.
Marketers can apply and use QR codes to the following materials:
• Sales Aids
The addition of QR Codes and the corresponding mobile landing pages provides enhanced physician engagement. Tracking the response of physicians is possible as well as the ability to integrate a call to action through brief surveys, or triggering follow up communications such as personalized direct mail or email.
• Managed Care Marketing
The flexibility of QR Codes can enhance the standard managed care access discussion through a more interactive experience—potentially even bringing an app into the picture so the physician is left with a great informational tool to help them make better decisions when prescribing.
• Journal Ads
Incorporating QR Codes into journal ads allows HCPs to bring the option of more information, such as a call to action, a PURL and microsite with more content, or a survey.
• Program Invitations
Whether it is training, a speaker discussion, or another type of physician program, having either a QR Code or an MS tag on a printed piece linked to the registration portal allows for a quick and accurate registration process.
• Medical Affairs
QR Codes can take the physician to an online request portal where answers can be available instantaneously or at least in a very abbreviated wait time, allowing the physician to move forward with their prescribing.
While regulatory and legal compliance issues have made some leery of entering into the mobile realm, those that are including this technology in their marketing mix are gaining a strategic advantage. As technology continues to evolve, so too, must we adapt to meet the ever-changing needs of industry professionals.
Eric Boothe is Director of Business Development—Life Sciences Division for EarthColor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.