Written by Richard Marcil on March 22, 2013
in Healthcare Marketing
Check out this article titled “In Barcelona, navel-gazing pharmas find patient engagement lacking.” Wow. That’s a kick in the gut.
But there are real insights here, too. Think of the quote: “Some companies will look at a video once a month, or they might have a patient come in for a meeting, and suddenly they’re ‘patient-centric’.” Been there, done that?
The reality is that patient marketing and engagement are newer to pharma. And while we have some catching up to do, it’s definitely a capability that we increasingly value in order to achieve better health outcomes.
Specialty pharma got religion earlier than primary care thanks to its patient support approach – and a need to achieve outcomes for payers. But we’ve been spending lots of time on this with primary care marketers recently. Here’s what we need to focus on:
- Understand the importance of the patient – in terms of sales – in your therapeutic category, from acquisition to start of treatment to patient compliance.
- Recognize that a patient is a consumer, and a savvy, demanding, impatient one at that.
- Understand the radically differently ways in which consumers are engaging with brands today – through channels ranging from digital to social to mobile. Check out comScore’s “2013 U.S. Digital Future in Focus” Report.
- Appreciate that Canadians are without borders when it comes to health content consumption.
- Stop practicing old-school direct-to-consumer marketing.
- Instead, map the entire patient journey from symptoms to diagnosis to treatment. Remember that patients spend 99.9% of their time NOT interfacing with healthcare providers.
- Realize that content is NOT king. Many marketers assume that creating and assembling masses of information is what patients/consumers want. It’s already all on WebMD and Everyday Health.
- Instead, think Context is Emperor. Deliver the right content, to the right patient/consumer, at the right time, in the right channel.
- Own the patient’s first 24 hours. The new goal is getting to the patient/consumer within 24 hours of their prescription, and holding their hand through the first week of therapy.
- Own engagement – emotional and functional engagement. This requires far more than the ol’ DVD or “newsletter” adherence program.
Bottom line: Let’s up our game and show healthcare providers and the PatientConsumer™ that there IS so much more “beyond the pill.” The reality is, this is our future.
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