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What Pharma marketers need to consider when pursuing digital innovation

Many of our pharmaceutical clients are challenged when tackling projects that involve digital technology or interactive tools like chatbots or webinars. The creative may be solid, the technology may work, but moving healthcare projects from concept to launch requires seeing them through rigorous promotional review meetings (PRM). Getting digital submissions “PRM ready” – or as close to perfect as possible – takes proficiency, recognition and mastery.

Proficiency in the approval process is key

PRM can be intimidating, but knowing the lens through which reviewers are assessing your digital projects can help ease the process. As the brand lead, you are focused on getting the most impact visually and contextually, while your PRM counterparts want to ensure that promoting your pieces won’t steer the company in the wrong direction from a compliance and accuracy standpoint. Success, or approval, means both sides must negotiate to arrive at mutually agreeable solutions that don’t lose sight of promotional goals or compromise medical/legal/regulatory responsibilities. The more meetings you attend, the more confident you will feel in presenting new digital initiatives and the more proficient you will become at navigating and winning the negotiation portion of the PRM.

At Luckie, we have a submissions team that anticipates and solves for PRM requirements. One client asked us to help submit a dynamic chatbot experience that could quickly connect a busy healthcare professional (HCP) audience to key treatment information for their patients. We helped our client develop a variable chatbot script approach that maintained a conversational tone well suited to engage the HCP audience and kept brand messaging on target for regulatory approval. The result was a seamless and relevant digital HCP tool and a win-win for the client as well as the PRM team.

Recognition of how digital pieces will be viewed impacts approval

Digital projects require different considerations than traditional print and follow separate digital standards and guidelines. Recognizing the platforms and devices on which your digital pieces will appear – and understanding the importance of presenting information across them all effectively – can help get your digital pieces through PRM more efficiently. As the brand ambassador, you want your creative to have the starring role, but you should recognize that your PRM team likely views the creative in a supporting role. The digital creative might look a little less prominent after tweaking based on non-negotiables. Some non-negotiable items on any branded digital piece are fair balance, brand logo placement, and the presentation of the Indication and Important Safety Information (ISI). Branded websites, for example, require that the Indication appear in close proximity to any claim, the brand logo is prominently pinned on each page, there is equal mention of risks and rewards of the brand, and that the ISI is in full view or one click from full view.

One client challenged our submissions team to help design and submit a cross-brand webinar platform that could be updated as new webinar content became available, without having to resubmit for each new webinar event. During meetings with the brand lead, we decided to submit website and email templates – which included appropriate placement of non-negotiable elements for each brand across various desktop and mobile layouts – separately from the dynamic webinar dates, descriptions and speaker bios that would populate them.

Mastery of the approval process starts with collaboration

Mastering the approval process means staying abreast of digital standards and guidelines and working closely with your regulatory team. Your company may have a portal or document that covers the digital standards, guidelines and processes you will need to mitigate roadblocks or address questions that might arise during PRM. Make it a practice to check the guidelines often, as the documents are living, breathing resources that are updated on a regular basis. Especially when you are preparing to submit a platform unaccounted for in current guidelines or seeking exceptions to a standard rule, your regulatory team might be able to help you navigate possible deal breakers prior to the full PRM. So proactively, it is worthwhile to have an ongoing rapport with individual PRM team members. It’s also helpful to use a “discovery” or “concept review” meeting to get a feel from the full PRM team before taking your project through a formal review meeting.

Our submissions team can help you maintain effective communication with all members of your PRM team to anticipate and address potential limitations of your digital initiatives. We consistently aim to be a good partner and do our due diligence to support brand leads by staying on top of evolving digital brand standards via the agency portal and collaborating with the PRM team. This kind of tenacity has helped facilitate streamlined, record-breaking PRM approvals.

Looking to expand your brand digital portfolio and unsure of how to design or develop new digital tools and technology? The submissions team at Luckie Health can help. Contact John.Petersen@Luckie.com to learn more about Luckie Health.

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