The pharmaceutical rep has been an industry symbol for decades: smartly dressed, with a rolling suitcase of samples and endless lunches catered to doctors’ offices.

This method of selling isn’t only expensive, but it also takes up valuable time and resources this digital world just doesn’t have the ability to spare. According to the Wall Street Journal, 23 percent of doctors are “no-sees” because they won’t meet with drug reps anymore.

Pamphlets — the other industry standard — are similarly ineffective. When was the last time you pulled out a pamphlet for a little light reading? Even when patients do take the time to read, studies indicate they retain only 10 percent of the information.

So, what’s a transforming industry to do?

The Benefits of Video

Simple, easy-to-understand videos are the key to the problem. With the advent and growth of YouTube, people are used to watching videos for just about everything. There are plenty of reasons pharmaceutical companies should leverage video to increase sales.

1.     People enjoy watching videos. They do it to relax and take a break. You don’t usually see employees sneaking a quick look at a brochure when they should be working. Because good videos are engaging and short, you are more likely to get the attention you need.

2.     You can share more information with a two-minute video than you can with hundreds of words of copy on a website or in a brochure. Videos can be entertaining and simple, making them an effective way to communicate with any audience.

3.     Assuming someone actually does read a brochure, 72 hours later, he will only retain 10 percent of what he read. With video, this recall increases to 68 percent. And because of the easily-shared nature of video, people can quickly invite their friends to view, too. Getting the information in front of more people who will remember more of it just makes sense.

Why Video Works

The evidence for the effectiveness of video isn’t just anecdotal. There is significant science that backs up the use of simple video in marketing.

1.     Working memory: People can only take in so much new information. Effective video focuses on one clear, simple message.

2.     Connecting to prior knowledge: Metaphors are indispensable. If you want patients to remember your message, you have to connect it to things they already know and understand. Video is perfect for this because you can use visual, as well as verbal, metaphors to get your message across.

3.     Dual coding theory: This goes back to the percentage of information a patient remembers. Basically, you have two choices: You can achieve 10 percent memory with written words or 68 percent with video. What are the odds you’ll change patient behavior if they only remember 10 percent of your message?

How to Make Your Story Stick in Just 60 Seconds

First, always keep things simple. When people are watching a video, they are using working memory to process the new information. There’s a finite amount of space in the working memory, and the information must connect to the long-term memory in order to be retained. If you have too many ideas coming into the working memory, it’s impossible to process or remember them all.

The most effective way to do this simply is metaphor. Let’s say there’s a business that connects dog owners with other dog owners so the dogs can play. They could go into great detail about the benefits of the dogs playing together, the importance of just the right match, and how their company does this better than anyone else.

Or, they could simply say, “We’re the eHarmony for dogs.” It’s simple, and now everyone knows exactly what the company does. That’s the power of metaphor. Your story only matters if it solves someone else’s problem, and you have to come up with a way to express that concisely. Metaphors and other simple messages do that.

Inform Purchasing Decisions with Video

If you think video works for other arenas but not yours, think again. Seventy-nine percent of physicians have watched video clips online, and 57 percent have watched videos revolving specifically around drug information, according to Manhattan Research’s “Taking the Pulse” v 10.0.

Pharmaceutical companies rely on physician and patient knowledge to make money. But to turn information into knowledge, it has to be connected to things the audience already understands. This is especially true in pharmaceuticals, where topics can be complicated. Simple, well-done videos will help busy, distracted patients or healthcare providers remember your brand, which, in turn, increases sales.