HCP engagement

How to extend reach with self-guided detailing


Increase and extend customer reach over the long term and provide an immediate solution to the HCP access problem created by COVID


A self-guided detailing system & digital assistant to enable HCPs to explore brand content on demand and at their own pace


High HCP engagement, with sessions lasting up to 18 minutes, at a low cost per engagement


A major global pharma company wanted to increase reach and better support HCPs, especially in remote regions of China and Brazil where traditional face-to-face visits are uneconomical.

While this project was running, the COVID pandemic immediately halted physical meetings in many markets – further heightening the need for an online engagement tool that could support customer teams and strengthen existing relationships.

The company also wanted to better understand customers for improved segmentation and identity their content needs more precisely.

  • Maintain HCP relationships during the COVID pandemic
  • Support customer teams in their engagements
  • Build relationships with HCPs in remote regions
  • Generate customer data


Working closely with the client, Anthill developed a ‘self-guided’ detailing solution that put the brand content securely online. This enabled HCPs to access the material at any time, explore at their own pace, and return to again – picking up right where they left off.

The customer experience was further enhanced with what we call a ‘digital brand assistant’. This is uses ‘chatbot’ technology to guide the HCP through the content, replicating some of the work that a rep does in face-to-face meetings.

It also ensures a more interactive and personalized experience than would be possible with a basic menu navigation system from a standard website.

Rather than a completely open system in which the HCP could ask any question, the brand assistant deliberately used a decision-tree structure with predefined pathways through the content.

This ensures that HCPs still feel in control – you ‘choose your own adventure’ – while presenting them with options that they may not have considered themselves, effectively guiding them through the content.

This approach also safeguards against the possibility of pharmacovigilance event reporting, which might mistakenly occur with an open text field – greatly assisting with MLR.

In fact, approval was achieved very easily because the solution content was based on an existing eDetailer and the decision-tree format ensured that all pathways can be scripted and reviewed in advance.

At Anthill, we work with a Modern Marketing process to always look beyond the solution itself and take account of the wider context in which it will be used. That ensures that projects meet the realities of the market and don’t end up as ‘good ideas’ on the shelf.

In this case, it was important to ensure that the self-guided detailer was integrated into other channels and that the customer teams were on-board.

Self-service solutions need to be promoted. They do not draw organic traffic to themselves because it is secure content, to which HCPs must be connected.

It was essential therefore that reps understood that this was an extension of their customer engagement and not a replacement for their work.

This was achieved by involving customer teams, clear internal communications, and then enabling them to offer the self-service solution during their live remote detailing meetings and via approved emails.

The solution was, in addition, promoted on the brand websites, which further drove uptake.

Project development stages


The self-guided detailer was initially launched in Europe, China and Brazil. The solution quickly achieved impressive engagement levels in those markets, with HCP visits lasting up to 18 minutes.

There was also a very low cost per visit, as the system repurposed existing eDetailing content, and the team succeeded in integrating the solution into existing channels and energizing customer teams for promotion.

The high level of engagement has produced quality customer data for much improved segmentation and understanding of content value to HCPs. For example, the company is now better able to pinpoint precisely which efficacy studies HCPs are most interested in, and deploy that knowledge in wider sales and marketing communication.

The project’s success resulted in a further expansion of the system to include additional indications – opening new avenues of HCP communication, while also keeping the content fresh to encourage repeat visits. And, in addition, the solution will now be launched in the USA, following the success in other markets.

  • Implementation in Europe, China and Brazil
  • High engagement with sessions lasting up to 18 minutes
  • Low cost per engagement due to content repurposing
  • Improved market segmentation and content value assessment
  • Expansion to include additional indications
  • USA launch following success in the initial markets

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