Johanna Skilling, Executive VP, Director of Planning, US, Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide
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Finding Inspiration on Customer-Centric Marketing From Other Walks of Life
Let’s not be healthcare marketers for a moment. Let’s be us: men, women, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, children, aunts, uncles, even pet parents. Sometimes we get sick. Our loved ones may suffer a heart attack. Alzheimer’s. Osteoporosis. RA. Cancer.
Our employer-sponsored healthcare plans have higher deductibles, and the public insurance marketplace is getting narrower. Prices are high. Donut holes loom. We’re paying more than ever for the drugs, devices, and care we need. For some, the evolving healthcare economy has created a series of stark choices: what must we give up, defer, or choose as a “natural” (read: non-medical) alternative?
As we look for viable healthcare solutions for ourselves and our loved ones, many of us are learning to become value shoppers — even in times of greatest need. But value shoppers are alert to more than just the cheapest price: they’re looking for the best value for money. And therein lies the opportunity.
But healthcare isn’t the only business facing these challenges. So we decided to look beyond our industry walls for inspiration on serving our value-conscious healthcare shoppers in unique and meaningful ways — with analogs and ideas that may well spark services that can distinguish our brands from other choices — or no choice at all.
1. Think Like a Financial Adviser1
2. Think Like an E-Tailer
3. Think Like a Sustainable Corporation
Think Like a Financial Adviser2
According to Fierce Healthcare, the new health spending environment “will require the industry to create new tools and services, such as payment plans and pricing information, to help consumers pay for services.” Where better to look for inspiration than the financial services industry?
In a survey of 34 financial services pros fielded by author Angela Stringfellow,3 a few themes emerged on services and solutions that put the focus squarely on the consumer:
A new lens on education. The Hartford Fund asked MIT to partner on its Human-Centric Investing microsite: MIT’s AgeLab research offers a strong differentiated value proposition by providing content and insights around aging, financial needs — even healthy lifestyles.
Implications for pharma: Academic institutions and academic thought leaders — not just KOLs — can help consumers understand the changing landscape of their condition, healthy aging, effective caregiving, and even such areas as home design options to meet the physical needs brought on by particular conditions. Think about partnering with large academic institutions on a broad basis, so their involvement isn’t seen as promotional, but truly for the good of the consumer/patient.
A personalized approach from the first click.
Many online financial sites offer a simple first step for customer engagement — allowing for a greater understanding of each customer’s individual circumstances and better personalization of subsequent offers. One example? “Every Someday Needs a Plan,” from Fidelity, asks consumers six questions. Then a “robo-advisor” provides a score showing how close consumers are to their financial goals, with plenty of added information on how much you need to save and invest available within a click or two. More complex calculators allow consumers to decide the pros and cons of specific investment decisions.4
Implications for pharma: How can we engage consumers from the start to find more information that is relevant to their personal situation? Can we help them calculate their healthcare budget and how they can best invest in their health and well-being in multiple aspects of their lives? Can we tie their scores to personalized offers that may offset the cost of their prescriptions?
Mining the “micro-moments.” Google defines these as the moments that “consumers want what they want, when they want it.”5 Those of us who started our careers in direct marketing might recognize this formulation as an update of “right message/right time/right place,” but the added twist today is the availability of mobile to engage with people wherever they are, whatever they’re doing. Uncovering the micro-moments creates an opportunity to cue behavior change: offering highly personal, highly relevant interventions at — you guessed it — the precise time and place where they can provide the most influence.
Implications for pharma: Understanding the relevant micro-moments takes some homework. Diving into all the behaviors and questions healthcare consumers have, from how they compare side effects of different medications to how they can change prescriptions over to a new insurance company. Working closely with consumers, HCPs, and your in-house or agency research teams to identify the micro-moments — and the associated micro-behaviors, questions and hurdles — can provide a deep understanding of how to better deploy information, education, offers, and personal assistance to consumers.
Think Like an E-Tailer6
Retail, like healthcare, is an industry that continues to experience seismic shifts, driven by technology, consumer behaviors, and global trends. The lessons here are about seamless experiences, a surprise twist in multichannel marketing, and leveraging the Internet of Things.
Friction-free shopping. Taking our cue from the micro-moments discussed above, let’s take a quick look at how e-tailers are simplifying and enhancing consumers’ shopping experience. Take the Amazon Dash button: Not only has it been creating expectations among consumers that instant gratification is only one click away, it’s also been quietly providing Amazon with deeply detailed data on a household level for dozens of Dash-available products, key shopping decision moments, and repeat purchase decisions.
Implications for pharma: The first place that many smart pharma companies are eliminating friction is when patients and HCPs discuss medications and the physician enters those decisions in the EHR. The potential for providing services and added value through EHR platforms is only starting to be recognized: from click-through access to eRx, e-benefits verification and e-prior authorizations, to identifying available price discounts, to offering instant enrollment in CRM. The EHR may be the closest thing healthcare marketers have to an “easy button.”
A new look at loyalty. Numerous retail consultants have been quoting a startling statistic from MasterCard, which found in a study that fewer than one in five consumers consider loyalty rewards a top priority in maintaining their relationship with providers. What did they say they value more? Top priorities included the value of the product or service, the company’s track record, and the convenience of the purchase experience. At the same time, MasterCard found that 80 percent of consumers use technology while shopping.7No one is suggesting giving up on loyalty rewards, but companies reconceiving how consumers receive and experience those rewards is a fertile area for growth.
Implications for pharma: As consumers become more likely to keep their coupons and offers in one electronic wallet, pharma loyalty programs need to take their rightful place in the mobile experience. Imagine your loyalty offers linked to Apple Wallet or Android Pay, integrating the consumer’s healthcare experience with their everyday mobile use. Or consider creating an individual app experience, that lets consumers quickly access information, offers, and discounts—perhaps all secured with that most modern password, the fingerprint.
Pharma Pop-Ups. From Blue Nile to Warby Parker, online retailers are seeing the value of offering consumers the experience of shopping in a traditional bricks and mortar environment.8 It’s not a shift from digital as much as recognition that life — and critical decisions — are influenced in all of our customary habitats, online and off.
Implications for pharma: Just imagine the Novartis pop-up store, or the J&J consumer health experience. While naturally none of the Rx products would be for sale, consumers could download, view, or read information about conditions and medications from special kiosks, have live chats with on-site HCPs, access information about coverage, and perhaps even be able to make appointments at local clinics. Support services like virtual nurses, refill reminders and instructional videos could be live-tested for consumer feedback—and quickly modified or enhanced for rollout.
Think Like a Sustainable Corporation
Looking toward the future is good business. Millennials may not need as much healthcare as their parents and grandparents, but if one thing in life is certain, they will. It’s critical that we start looking at what’s important to this group now, so we can be prepared when they come of age as healthcare consumers.
Millennials. One important insight, Millennials care about the health of the planet and their less-fortunate neighbors, and are demanding that the companies they work with show their commitment as well. According to a recent Nielsen global online study, Millennials are most willing to pay extra for sustainable offerings, almost three out of four respondents in the latest findings, up from approximately half in 2014.9 Respondents aged 15 to 20, also known as Generation Z, are continuing the trend of willing to pay more for products and services that come from companies who are committed to positive social and environmental impact with a growth rate from 55% in 2014 to 72% in 2015.10
Implications for pharma: A report in The Guardian11 suggests several sustainability strategies that have resonance for healthcare companies:
Ethical supply chain, packaging, and labeling: Think renewable resources, recycled—or recyclable materials—fair trade practices with partners and suppliers. For some inspiration, check out companies like Green Mountain Coffee or Method.
Show the human face of the product or service. Connect the brand to the people who invent it, make it, do quality control. For inspiration, look at Southwest Airline’s celebration of everyone on their team from the mechanics to the gate agents.
Commitment to social good: Show that your company cares about more than profits. Think about putting your corporate social responsibility programs front and center, adopting a local or relevant cause, or partnering with the UN on programs that support one of the Secretary General’s 17 Sustainability Goals.
A Closing Thought
Wired pointed out recently that the majority of the top 25 global pharma companies were founded — wait for it — between 1849 and 1901.12 The only way for businesses to survive over the course of generations is to understand not just what consumers need, but what they want. Here’s to the next generation of successfully serving patients, HCPs and the community. (PV)
Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide — the health behavior specialists of Ogilvy &
Mather — is committed to creativity and effectiveness in healthcare communications, everywhere.
For more information, visit ogilvychww.com.