Pharma companies often build relationships with payers and pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) to improve market access and reduce drug costs. Typically, these relationships involve mutually beneficial contracts or rebates. Pharma brand marketing teams are also beginning to leverage social media monitoring, also called social “listening,” as a key component of their payer marketing strategy. Social listening is another tool pharma teams can use to assess payer/PBM attitudes toward a launch or inline brand.
Payer and PBM Challenges
Before reaching out to payers and PBMs, pharma companies must understand the tremendous demands these companies face.
For example, payers are experiencing challenges that include:
- Increasing regulation
- Nuances in formulary coverage by disease area
- Increased political and public scrutiny regarding payer-pharma relationships
- Pressure to control high costs associated with prescription drugs
Pharma companies need to recognize these market dynamics, carefully assess which accounts to target and determine what financial incentives they can over. After analyzing the payer landscape, pharma teams can begin developing elements of their payer marketing strategy.
Contracts and Rebates for Improved Access
Payer contracting is a standard component of a pharma marketing strategy. During this process, pharma and payer teams establish an agreement to improve market access, reduce restrictions, or develop patient support programs for lives covered under a payer.
Here’s one approach developed by MMIT for defining a contracting strategy:
Pharma teams can also partner with PBMs to arrange rebates. PBMs can scale contracts across their payer clients to reduce consumer drug expenses.
Social Media Engagement and Digital Targeting
Another payer marketing strategy is social listening. Pharma teams monitor social media platforms to see how often payers are talking about a particular brand. For example, MMIT’s Social Signals measures payer and prescriber social media engagement across brands in major pharmaceutical disease areas. Monitoring digital activity helps pharma teams identify which brands, disease areas, and topics are most relevant to payers.
After identifying a topic of interest, pharma engagement teams can create customized presentations for individual payers. According to Sue Patton, VP/Director of Client Services at The Hobart Group:
“With tablets, account managers can easily pre-select content before a meeting, and customize the presentation based on the payer's interests and preferences.”
This type of account-based marketing (ABM) gears content to a specific audience and can significantly advance an engagement strategy, better align marketing and sales teams and increase contract values.
Developing an Inclusive Payer Marketing Strategy
Pharma teams should use a mixture of contracts, rebates, social listening tools and account based marketing strategies to connect with payers and PBMs. To learn more marketing strategies, explore MMIT’s Playbooks. These resources provide actionable insights on a variety of topics.
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