Examples of blind spots in marketing towards HCPs
Insight 1 — the busy life of the neurologist
Neurologists are time pressed. They often use their downtime to complete their patient visit notes, often needing to spend mental energy to remember what happened based on simple notes taken during the consultation.
Concept 1 — the “lunch” patient visit report app
A patient visit report app with tag-based text entry. It is easy to use one-handed: simply tap one or more tags. Tags are organized in a hierarchy with predictive tags based on category. Predictive tags help to jog the HCPs memory — providing them with prompts as to possible items to include in the report. HCPs can add their own custom, commonly-used text fragments
Insight 2 — “hit & miss” hypo snacks
People with diabetes struggle with potentially dangerous hypoglycemic events and many use unhealthy snack foods to combat them. Different types of snack are used for different levels of hypo — potato chips, chocolate, fruit juices etc. have different amounts of sugar and the sugar is processed at different rates. These snacks can be consumed by family-members, so when they are needed in an emergency, they are no longer there. The selection of the right snack for the particular hypo is imprecise and the effects can be “hit and miss”. The snacks are often extremely unhealthy containing ingredients such as saturated fats.
Concept 2 — hypo snack snack box
A subscription delivery “snack box” for hypo management in partnership with an existing snack subscription service. Each box would contain a variety of different snacks, each one specially formulated for a different hypo scenario. Snacks would be a healthier alternative to “ordinary” snacks. The “calibrated” nature of the snacks allows for a more controlled and moderated sugar intake, thus reducing weight gain. Snacks would be tasty but clearly labeled that they are for managing hypos, therefore would be less likely to be consumed by other members of the household (perhaps).
Insight 3 — the impact of the isolation of the elderly
Elderly people living alone can become isolated — they can forget to eat and may not interact with anyone for days on end. This can lead to depression and physical decline. Depression can lead to skipping meals and inadequate hydration which exacerbates their negative mood. Depression can mean that people don’t actively seek out interactions with family or friends
Concept 3 — Hearing aid monitor for nutrition & isolation
Hearing aid-based solution to monitor nutrition, isolation and possible abuse. It monitors food and liquid intake using internal sound recognition. Uses internal sound monitoring to recognize that a wearer has not interacted with anyone within a set period of time. It applies external sound monitoring to recognize angry or abusive voices. Delivers custom voice prompts either via hearing aid or smartphone. Connects wearer to family members or friends via smartphone.
Nice to Haves & irrelevant solutions?
Making the (bold) assumption that the above example solutions would actually create value for the relevant stakeholders, why would marketeers choose not to go forward and bring the solutions into the market.
First, when a marketing team defines the decision journey mapping for a given drug, it is unlikely that e.g. enhancing the work productivity for the HCP is defined as a solution for triggering a given change in belief or action that links to the brand team’s Marketing Objectives. A typical desired future HCP belief, would be something like “believe that drug X offers a superior MOA versus the current Standard of Care treatment paradigm Y”. And the marketing solution to trigger this belief would often be to offer educational material disguised in an appropriate creative wrapper to attract the attention of the HCP. In other words, a solution such as a “lunch patient visit report app” would not appear to drive more prescriptions this quarter?
Second, a typical argument would be that is not the role of the Healthcare company to provide such services due to a general mistrust and because the core competency with pharmaceutical company resides in the area of drug Research & Development. Therefore, crudely stated, the role of Marketing function is basically to educate about what R&D has developed.
Moving beyond an educational role to a Share of Life™ mindset in Marketing
In a recent Vertic survey among people working in the Marketing and Communication functions in global healthcare companies, the majority respondents agree that HCPs would have little or no difficulty in finding a replacement drug or device that they would consider equally suitable for the patient at hand**. Likewise, they confirmed that patients are, by and large, unaware of the brand that produces the medicine they take. As regards the smaller portion of patients who are aware of the brand, most perceive the Healthcare company as simply the manufacturer of a functional product*.
In other words, there is a transactional relationship between the Healthcare company and its customers. And a transactional relationship constitutes a significant business risk given the associated likelihood of switches to a competitor product.
You may argue that HCP and Patients stakeholders do not want to be in anything but a transactional relationship with the Healthcare company. But evidence shows that this not necessarily true. We all look for a deeper relationship — searching for what Forrester Research’s James L. McQuivey, calls Hope*** — including relationships with companies and brands.
Through these type of solutions you cement the relationship through respecting and servicing the customer more widely and relevantly than through products. You earn, what we at Vertic call, Share of Life™.
* Next Generation Relationships in Healthcare, Vertic 2019
**Excluding launch products