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Thought leadership

Hello. My Name Is Artificial Intelligence.

Jose Araujo, StrategyBy Jose Araujo, Senior Manager, Strategy

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The countless applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in our daily lives only seem to be increasing. From Netflix show recommendations to Amazon’s suggested purchases, we are constantly interacting with algorithms that continue getting smarter and more sophisticated.

For pharma marketers, it’s easy to get distracted by all the hype being generated around AI and lose sight of what it actually means and its application. AI has been used in other industries for quite some time and has been evolving consistently across the board. Understandably, however, the pharmaceutical industry has been taking a cautious approach. The risks of noncompliance with certain regulatory frameworks are just too high to let an algorithm run free to “learn” and provide output directly to consumers. As healthcare marketers, our challenge is to ensure the balance between compliance and brand personality. Which leaves us with the question: are there useful applications of AI in pharma marketing today?

Although the pharmaceutical industry may be wary about fully embracing AI, we can get creative in the types of tools we use and how we incorporate them into a marketing plan. We recommend introducing lower risk tools before taking the plunge and “letting the computer do all of the work.” And the best part is that these tools are already in market today, and we’ve been putting them to work and refining them with our clients.

Getting Started With AI

Below is a glimpse of what can be done today and what may be on the horizon as these systems become more sophisticated and universal.

1. Language Solutions—Did a Computer Really Just Write this Copy?!

A number of vendors, such as Persado or Wylei, provide solutions that use AI to leverage comprehensive databases of marketing words and phrases to deliver copy that entices users toward certain actions across a number of channels. By looking at the type of target audience and understanding the ultimate goal, AI solutions are able to deliver variations with preapproved language for email subject lines, text messages, CRM signup forms, etc., and then test them to find the optimal language combination.

2. Website Chatbots—Nice to Meet you, Mr. Robot.

As we've previously detailed, pharmaceutical companies are realizing the benefits of providing a more personable approach to their digital experiences. Chatbots have become embedded in our daily lives and provide a familiar interface to interact with on a website, which can be beneficial to the overall digital experience. This is particularly true for patients who may be searching for specific information.

Similar to language solutions above, chatbots can live in what is called a “closed loop” system. They only provide predefined answers, which can be precleared by regulatory teams to ensure full control of what is being said and how. The use of AI comes from processing the types of questions someone may ask and how they ask them, then providing the most relevant answer immediately in a personable way. This means that a patient can come to a website and type a question as if they were asking a friend, and get an answer that feels as though they’re chatting with another person. This can be a very useful resource for obtaining information such as co-pay, support, or additional resources available on a website.

Assess for AI Innovation

A simple place to start to understand how AI can fit in with your overall goals is to assess areas for possible innovation, which may include:

  • Assessing your current brand needs that are challenging to address without the use of machine learning

  • Collaborating with a cross-disciplinary team to understand your organization’s appetite for risk

  • Approaching technology partners with a clear set of business and risk mitigation requirements

  • Working through process changes that might be needed before a technology solution is decided upon

The Evoke AI Center of Excellence helps pharmaceutical and healthcare marketers enhance the value of their tactics with the benefits of AI technology. Our cross-disciplinary experience includes staying up to date on the newest technologies and showing clients how they can leverage these tools to improve customer experience. To request more information, contact