Physicians continue to decline as the target customer base for industry marketing, according to survey repondents.

In its third annual Pharma Insights study, a survey of commercial and executive management among pharma, biotech and generic manufacturers, Cegedim Relationship Management (Bedminster, NJ) finds an intensification of trends that began last year: a growing emphasis on managed care; a rising importance of IT and communication platforms (especially mobile devices); and greater interest in social media as both an external and internal communication channel. Overall, the dominant factor remains “the changing commercial model”, ranked first by 74% of respondents. “Respondents report strong focus on business model changes, as well as next generation and mobile technologies,” said Angela Miccoli, president of the company’s North America unit.

The decline of physicians as the primary customers of pharma marketing efforts continues: this year counted them as 28% of the primary audience, versus last year’s 42%. “Government” and “managed care” together equal physicians in 2012; patients represent 10% of the primary customers. (Interestingly, the largest category of audience, at 34%, is “other”–which likely ranges from pharmacy directors to PBMs, GPOs, wholesalers and others in the pharma supply chain.)

Deciding how to invest in information technology has become a higher-level executive decision, according to Cegedim. “Executive management” is now the primary driver of new technology investment among 46% of respondents, as compared to 28% last year. Business units, IT management, regulatory compliance and others all fall behind.

The trend toward mobile technologies–interactive tablets and smartphones–is inescapabale, and the Cegedim survey reflects this. One interesting result is that while 50% of respondents are, or plan to, be using the Apple OS platform, 30% plan to use Microsoft Windows, ahead of the Google Android. (This result might reflect picking up usage of Windows-based tablets and laptops that precede the iPad wave of the past couple years; just recently Microsoft released both a new mobile platform and hardware to go with it.)

The full survey is available from Cegedim.

From Pharmaceutical Commerce, Dec. 3, 2012