If a challenger brand announces a new drug and no one notices, did it really launch?

The pharma industry is crowded. Without a strategic plan, challenger brands risk drowning in a sea of competitors and become categorized as just another option. To truly impact the status quo – and create a launch worth paying attention to – pharma challengers need to be heard, and engaging with strong vocal advocates for your brand is one of the best ways to do just that.

But there’s one big problem: these influencers can be tricky to reach.

The normal mailers, sales rep meetings, and mass emails won’t always work. Instead, get creative. Some effective strategies include:

  • Video Assets: Don’t limit yourself to whitepapers or brochures. A compelling video can convey research, the problem with current market solutions, or even testimonials from clinical trials.
  • Paid Social Media: Social media ads allow you to target your key influencer audiences with tailored messages. It’s easier to arrange an in-person meeting when the influencer already recognizes your brand.
  • Industry Gatherings: Take advantage of the moments when members of your audience are all in the same place at the same time. Speak on a panel, host a happy hour, or set up a product unveiling.

Remember, connecting with health care influencers is only half the battle. Challenger pharma brands need to strategically leverage these relationships to get the most value.

Exactly how you utilize influencers in your marketing strategy depends on your goals, brand features, audiences, etc., but some proven tactics include:

  • Social Media Campaigns: Partner with your influencers on creative social media campaigns or content series relevant to your product or brand, allowing you to tap into their networks on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Co-author a whitepaper: Co-authoring content related to your niche combines your research and expertise with their industry insights and clout, adding extra value to your audience.
  • Video Spotlights: Notable influencers can attract views to your videos, helping expand your audience and give credibility to the information you’re conveying.
  • Use Your Research: Provide them with your original research that can help support their own content (such as an industry blog). Influencers who produce content on a regular basis are always on the lookout for compelling data.

A few words of advice: be careful before you dive straight in and avoid being too heavy handed. Consider who you align your brand with – you want a partner who’s authentic, credible and unlikely to damage the reputation of your brand in the future. 

At the same time, the influencer you partner with must maintain their credibility. Allow them to express the information in their own voice and be transparent about their role and any compensation. Refrain from over-scripting talking points, and above all, stay transparent with your audience.

Influencer marketing content delivers 11x higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing, making it a powerhouse tactic in your communication strategy.

As top marketer Joe Tripodi says, “Awareness is fine, but advocacy will take your business to the next level.”

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