The Great Divide


Customer engagement is a delicate balance where the pharmaceutical industry aims to provide valuable insights to HCPs, while respecting their precious time. Different medical specialties may require more or less time and engagement than others, so it is important to look at each customer group individually and understand what HCPs want.

Our survey of Australian doctors and specialists reveals a stark contrast in the perceptions of Medical Oncologists and Haematologists when it comes to face-to-face (F2F) interactions with pharma reps. Approximately, 1 in 5 Haematologists expressed that they do not receive enough F2F interactions with Pharma, in contrast to just 1 in 20 Medical Oncologists. In other words, Medical Oncologists feel that they are at a sweet spot with current interactions. However, there are still large pockets of Haematologists who would appreciate more F2F interactions.

Fear of Missing Out

Intriguingly, despite Medical Oncologists feeling like they are at a sweet spot with the frequency of F2F interactions, the majority (2 in 3) believe that they would not miss out from fewer F2F interactions with pharmaceutical representatives. In contrast, there is strong desire amongst Haematologists to have F2F interactions, with 7 out of 10 feeling that they are missing out by not interacting with pharma reps in person, indicating that they do currently derive a lot of meaning and value from in-person engagements.

Compounding the fact that 1 in 5 Haematologists expressed that they do not receive enough F2F interactions with Pharma, 1 in 6 also stated that they either do not have enough digital interaction (e.g. email) with pharma companies, or don’t interact at all with pharma through digital channels.

The Rise of New Channels

While face-to-face engagement has long been the staple of interactions with HCPs, the landscape is evolving with the accelerated adoption of new digital engagement channels, including social media. And as you might have guessed by now, the divide between Medical Oncologists and Haematologists remains evident in this arena as well. More than half of Haematologists avoid social media (in their professional life) while almost 7 in 10 Medical Oncologists utilise social media channels in their work.

Further, none of the Haematologists we surveyed follow pharma companies via their social media channels.

We are not certain whether Medical Oncologists see social media channels as a ‘good enough’ proxy for F2F engagement, but the reluctance among Haematologists to interact through alternative channels emphasises the continued importance of regular and relevant F2F interactions.

Bridging the Divide

Understanding the nuances of pharma interactions is pivotal in devising targeted strategies to bridge the perceptual divide between Medical Oncologists and Haematologists regarding the quantity and value of their interactions with pharmaceutical companies. In the ever-evolving healthcare landscape, adaptation and personalised engagement are key.

Recognising and addressing these differences is vital for building stronger, more productive relationships between pharmaceutical brand teams and healthcare professionals. By understanding these nuances and working together, we can ensure that the exchange of knowledge and information remains beneficial for all parties involved.