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Vivian Xie
23 Mar 2023

3 ways ChatGPT will impact pharma marketing teams

What does the rise of AI-powered chatbots such as ChatGPT and GPT-4 mean for pharma marketeers? 

The deployment of ChatGPT at the end of 2022 captured the attention of individuals and companies looking to integrate innovative technologies and automation into their business practices. In a nutshell, ChatGPT is an AI-powered chatbot, generating human-like text in a matter of seconds [i]. While this provides some novel fun for those of us eager to test the algorithm to its limits, ChatGPT and the recently released GPT-4 are forcing companies to reconsider how some business practices can be automated or enhanced with language-generating capabilities. In particular, the pharmaceutical industry may find that marketing to customers and businesses will be forever impacted by the rise of a technology that mimics human speech. 

In this article, we look at the ways in which ChatGPT, GPT-4, and similar language models can potentially impact pharmaceutical marketing teams and how they engage their audience. When asked how it will affect the pharmaceutical marketing business, ChatGBT responded, “as an AI language model, I am not capable of predicting specific market events or their consequences. However, in general, ChatGPT can significantly impact marketing positions in the pharmaceutical industry.” Here, we investigate the realities of what ChatGPT can and cannot do for pharma marketeers. 

AI – a less than personal touch? 

With personalisation rated as the biggest marketing trend of 2023, and prioritising customer retention over new lead generation shifting pharmaceutical marketing goals [ii], ChatGPT’s human-like speech can not only create a less robotic conversational flow, but its algorithmic capabilities can detect and recognise user preferences and interests [i]. The AI chatbot can thus aid pharmaceutical marketers with predicting the type of content a particular buyer may be interested in and several action points that could be taken in their customer journey [iii].  

The goal of most digital marketing campaigns is based on the personalisation of customer experiences with engaging content tailored to a buyer’s needs. Given the stringent regulations of the industry, pharmaceutical marketing teams can utilise ChatGPT and GPT-4 functions to elevate their creativity in designing personalised content and feedback while remaining conscious of the requirements of medical and pharmaceutical guidance [iv]. While ChatGPT’s abilities are not without flaw – data available is limited to the year 2021 and an accuracy rate of 85% (which is by no means ‘bad’...but not perfect) – pharma marketing teams can cautiously look forward to how ChatGPT and GPT-4 can enhance their campaigns with hyper-personalised content ideal for lead generation and customer retention.  

There do exist concerns regarding how personal a chatbot can really be – some buyers of a certain demographic still prefer face-to-face interactions while some marketeers may find the chatbot less than reliable for building consumer trust with their content. The key for pharma marketeers may lie in utilising the power of ChatGPT to investigate new ways of personalising content, and perhaps new types of content, rather than relying on AI for full content creation. 

Big Pharma converges with Big Data 

Along with analysing customer behaviour and insights, ChatGPT can utilise the information fed to it to improve its own performance. While useful for providing a personalised experience to buyers as mentioned above, there is added concern for pharmaceutical marketers regarding the dissemination of patient and clinical trial data and information [iii]. Text given to ChatGPT is stored, reported, and analysed, and remain in cloud storage that may or may not be shared with others. For the pharmaceutical and wider healthcare industry in particular, data confidentiality is not only a product or service protection scheme but also a legal and moral responsibility. A pharmaceutical brand may also find their consumer’s trust shaken with the collection of such large amounts of personal data. The storage and use of all data input in ChatGPT also exposes a unique dilemma for pharmaceutical marketeers: how will ChatGPT and its contemporaries impact product searches and discovery while data is being withheld? Should ChatGPT be given patient and clinical trial data to improve its search and information accuracy? Or should pharmaceutical marketing teams risk a customer journey taking a wrong turn because the AI does not have access to certain information? While GPT-4 is regarded as much more powerful than ChatGPT, with the ability to not only generate text but provide advanced reasoning, and 40% more likely to provide factual responses than previous language models [v], similar concerns remain: with limited data input, what will GPT-4 put out for consumers and buyers? 

Artificial intelligence - the path to automation 

On a less ominous note, pharmaceutical marketing teams may find that tasks such as customer interactions on websites and social media, data entry, and lead generation can be automated with ChatGPT and GPT-4 [vi]. While this benefit is not unique to pharmaceutical marketing, the ability of AI chatbots as powerful as ChatGPT and GPT-4 to distil large amounts of information into easy-to-understand answers about products and services can reduce time and costs spent on initial customer interactions. ChatGPT and GPT-4 not only personalise customer interactions but can also detect a company’s particular branding or tailor its speech to maintain and enhance this branding. Repetitive tasks like answering FAQs, product guidance, and order processing can thus feel fresher for the customer while alleviating marketing and sales teams of the strain to continuously provide a certain level of enthusiasm with every customer interaction [vii]. 

As with any instance of digital evolution, the true value and impact of ChatGPT remains to be seen for pharma, an industry built on trust and compliance. There is no doubt however that there exists a potential, and according to ChatGPT ‘my ability to analyze data, generate insights, and create high-quality content makes me a valuable resource for pharma marketing teams looking to improve their marketing efforts and drive growth’. 

[i] Introducing ChatGPT [Accessed March 17, 2023]  

[ii] 10 Marketing Trends and Predictions for 2023 [Accessed March 17, 2023]  

[iii] The Promise and Peril of ChatGPT in Healthcare and Pharma Marketing [Accessed March 17, 2023]  

[iv] Can ChatGPT revolutionize pharma marketing? [Accessed March 20, 2023]  

[v] GPT-4 is OpenAI’s most advanced system, producing safer and more useful responses [Accessed March 21, 2023]  

[vi] ChatGPT: Revolutionising the Pharma Industry’s Sales Interactions & Automation [Accessed March 21, 2023]  

[vii] How ChatGPT Will Disrupt Growth Marketing [Accessed March 21, 2023],more%20personalized%2C%20more%20human%20experience.  

Vivian Xie
Editor - Custom Content

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