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:

  1. Understand the importance of the patient – in terms of sales – in your therapeutic category, from acquisition to start of treatment to patient compliance.
  2. Recognize that a patient is a consumer, and a savvy, demanding, impatient one at that.
  3. 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.
  4. Appreciate that Canadians are without borders when it comes to health content consumption.
  5. Stop practicing old-school direct-to-consumer marketing.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Instead, think Context is Emperor.  Deliver the right content, to the right patient/consumer, at the right time, in the right channel.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How can we help you today?

Are you happy with your results? Do you feel you have a true understanding of your customer, their goals and their journey? Perhaps you’re looking for new and innovative ways to connect with them?

Ariad understands the value and power of consumer-centric programs and can arm you with the right tools to help your buyer buy.

We can help you on where to go next

Talk to us today