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May 27, 2022 Corina Kellam1

From a revenue perspective, there may be no industry that benefits from relationship marketing more than healthcare. And for rare disease’s patient/caregiver activations, it’s especially critical.

Relationship marketing does what it says on the tin: it refers to any practice that extends the relationship between a brand and its target market, nurturing toward conversion (and long-term, ongoing conversion, when applicable). Any tactic that falls under lead nurturing or retention/adherence is relationship marketing, and unlocking customer lifetime value is the ultimate goal.

Relationship Marketing’s Deep Healthcare Roots

Under the relationship marketing umbrella are some enormous marketing tools: CRM, omnichannel, test-and-learn, and personalization of all kinds. Any one of these is worthy of an article, but when you consider them together, you see why relationship marketing is relevant across the healthcare spectrum.

The highest customer lifetime values come from chronic conditions, of course. More than half of Americans have a chronic condition, according to the CDC[i], and almost half of Americans have two chronic conditions. That alone presents an incredible amount of Rx opportunity. Relationship marketing keeps patients and caregivers adhering to treatments and keeps healthcare professionals (HCPs) prescribing treatments.


Pre-launch, relationship marketing often has a crucial role. Rare’s unbranded disease education initiatives often launch a year or more before an FDA approval of the treatment, and relationship marketing keeps these audiences primed for a branded launch.

Fundamentally, any marketing beyond the first touch is relationship management, so getting a patient to Rx and then to the first fill/administration—all of that is relationship marketing, as is engaging with HCPs via reps or within a speaker’s bureau.

Rare Disease Marketing
Image Source: Pexels

Why Rare’s Patient Relationship Marketing Is Extra Critical

Relationship marketing is probably most critical for rare diseases, specifically for patient/caregiver marketing, because EVERY SINGLE one of those leads may be critical to success.

To understand why, look to the opposite side of the healthcare spectrum from rare. In the biggest chronic healthcare spaces—diabetes, blood pressure, mental health, birth control—brands have so much of America to choose from, there’s some freedom to get it wrong. Sure, no brand wants to get it wrong, but volume builds in opportunity to fail. Test and learns can try bold options that fall into “love it or hate it” territory. Optimization can look for the most responsive audience with the lowest cost per conversion and cater just to them.

When it comes to rare patients and caregivers, you simply don’t have those options. You prospect where targeting shows any decent volume, likely widening the net to go a bit higher in the funnel, then give every semiqualified lead the white glove treatment.

Most rare brands at least include a considerate, differentiated surround sound that speaks to a broad content strategy framework. Lately, we see some rare brands going all the way to omnichannel.

The unique nature of rare consumer audiences’ relationship marketing needs can’t be overstated.

  • SMALL TOWN REPUTATION: These patients/caregivers often have a community established, and they will talk about you in it. When you think of the existing Facebook group, subreddit, or advocacy group of a rare disease, think of it like a small town—gossip travels fast, good and bad. Try to give them something good to talk about.
  • DIG DEEP & DELIVER: These patients/caregivers are in some stage of rare’s diagnostic Odyssey (the exhausting process of getting properly diagnosed and treated). Although the consumerization of healthcare is applicable across the board, these patients and caregivers may know more than their HCPs about their condition. If you give them the same basics found in the first two pages of a Google search on the condition, they will not be impressed: you have to bring more to the table.
  • RESPECT QUANT DATA: Whatever meaningful data you can find, worship it. For example, there’s often a chasm between what information these patients/caregivers are searching for and what content exists. There’s great opportunity for brands willing to stretch a bit to meet those content needs and incorporate search-discovered topics into their content strategy framework… even if these topics haven’t come up with patient panels and don’t resonate with that small pool.

If everyone who guides rare patient marketing takes away just those three bullets (consider your small town reputation, dig deep and deliver on content, and respect what quant data you have), rare patients will be in a better place. And considering the journey they’ve been on, we really owe it to them to deliver.

Connect: www.linkedin.com/in/corinakellam/


[i] https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/index.htm



January 30, 2022 Carly Helfand0

Pharma companies don’t typically market directly to caregivers of patients with chronic conditions. But they might want to consider it, new data from Phreesia Life Sciences suggests.

More than half of chronically ill patients rely on their caregivers to make healthcare decisions for them, according to a nationwide survey of more than 2,000 caregivers conducted while they checked in for doctors’ appointments, either for themselves or for their patients. In addition, another 30% of patients always discuss their treatment options with their caregivers before making a decision.

In fact, a combined 92% of caregivers say they typically take a leading or active role in doctor-patient discussions, and nearly 9 in 10 (87%) are involved in those discussions all or most of the time.

Source: Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

These statistics point to a largely unexplored avenue for pharma marketers: directly engaging caregivers. The pharma industry’s current messaging and imagery overwhelmingly focus on patients and their experience, but with so many caregivers so deeply involved in their patients’ treatment planning, drugmakers may find success targeting communications specifically to this group—especially in disease areas where patients rely heavily on their caregivers.

So what should those communications look like? If pharma wants to connect meaningfully with caregivers, it’s important to understand the caregiver experience and the many struggles they face.

For starters, 75% of caregivers report moderate-to-extreme stress related to their caregiving duties—no surprise, considering the myriad tasks they juggle, often without pay and/or on top of another job. In addition to accompanying patients to appointments and discussing their care with their providers, many caregivers also are responsible for monitoring their patients’ health symptoms (70%), coordinating appointments (73%), making pharmacy trips (69%), managing medications (64%) and more.

Caregivers also grapple with feeling ill-equipped for their responsibilities. In fact, 2 out of 5 caregivers (40%) say they don’t have the resources they need to provide optimal care for their patients, even after many years in the role—65% of those surveyed had been providing patient care for three years or more.

To broaden their medical knowledge, caregivers frequently turn to the web, piling up hours of research on top of their long list of duties. Indeed, 69% of caregivers say the internet is the first place they go to look for information that can help them provide better care, followed by their patient’s doctor (53%) and the doctor’s office staff (43%). Overall, 73% of caregivers go online for health-condition-specific information at least once a month, and 20% search online a few times a week.

Pharma marketers need to take this timely data under consideration and create messaging that specifically engages caregivers in authentic, empathetic ways. Reaching caregivers where they’re already searching for information—online and at the point of care—with educational materials, training, medication information and other resources can go a long way toward easing their many burdens, ultimately better supporting both caregivers and the patients they serve.



December 10, 2021 Carly Helfand0

Since May 2018, several calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) inhibitors have entered the migraine field, with no fewer than seven gaining U.S. Food & Drug Administration approval for acute migraine treatment and/or prevention. Thanks to this influx of new prescription therapies, the global migraine market is expanding, with some analysts expecting to see its value soar as high as $13 billion by 2027. But if drugmakers want to realize the market’s full potential, they’re going to have to double down on raising public and provider awareness, new data shows.

Only about half of migraine sufferers (52%) have tried acute therapy, and only 37% have used preventive therapy, according to research from Phreesia Life Sciences, which surveyed more than 4,000 migraine patients when they checked in for their doctors’ appointments. What’s more, many patients aren’t even talking to their doctors about new migraine drugs: Among patients who have discussed migraine with their doctor, 36% have not discussed acute migraine medications, and 46% have not discussed preventive treatment options.

Those numbers point to a need for more provider education—particularly for primary care providers, many of whom may not be up to speed on the many new treatment options. Since migraine patients far outnumber headache specialists in the U.S.—in 2020, there were just 700 specialists for 39 million migraine sufferers, according to the Migraine Research Foundation—that’s an audience pharma needs to take into greater consideration.

But pharma marketers also need to get the word out and improve brand recognition among patients. Nearly half (47%) of surveyed patients couldn’t recall a single brand name in the preventive migraine category, and the only brand that came to mind for more than 10% of patients was Topamax, an older drug that gained approval for migraine back in 2004.

Source: Mohamed_Hassan via Pixabay

So what can CGRP drugmakers do to convert more patients to brand? For starters, they can strengthen their messaging aimed at prescription-naïve patients, many of whom don’t think their condition is serious enough to warrant prescription treatment—and, in some cases, to even discuss with their doctors. Nearly one-fifth of surveyed patients (19%) said they had never talked to their doctors about their migraine symptoms, and among those who hadn’t brought up migraine with their doctors in the past year, 45% said their headaches weren’t serious enough to discuss, and 38% said they were using over-the-counter medications to control their symptoms.

Pharma also can supply the tools and resources that migraine patients want and need to make treatment decisions. When asked what types of information would increase their interest in a new preventive migraine medication, 36% of patients said they wanted information about its side effects, and 28% requested cost information. Separately, when asked what migraine-care resources would be helpful to them, 36% of patients said they could use more information about how a medication works, and 25% said they would find doctor discussion guides helpful.

Drugmakers who can successfully help migraine patients understand that they don’t need to suffer through their symptoms, encourage doctor-patient conversations and empower patients to actively participate in their migraine treatment will benefit as the CGRP market grows increasingly crowded.



December 9, 2021 Kathryn Ticknor Robinson0

For years, the DTC National Conference has showcased the best in direct-to-consumer Rx marketing. At the heart of DTC is the “Patient Experience,” essentially the sum total of each person’s unique journey from illness to treatment and, if the experience is successful, back to some kind of health or “new normal.”

Companies use various metrics to characterize what a good patient experience is like. Many of them are similar to a personalized eCommerce experience where buyers’ needs are met, expectations exceeded. Today’s end-users demand convenience, responsiveness, and ongoing support.

For patients, the stakes are even higher because their health and often their very lives are at risk. Healthcare brands understand this urgency, and they devote significant resources to market research with the hope of understanding patients and optimizing their healthcare experience.

Market research at its best helps pharma brands thrive by providing actionable insights into unmet needs, personal attitudes, treatment options, audience behaviors and triggers, and the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. To accomplish these goals, research agencies traditionally use a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods. But challenges persist, and hybrid approaches often fall short of the insights brands need to succeed.

Recent advances in digital technology have revolutionized market research, and healthcare brands are taking notice. Many of the techniques used by Big Tech giants like Apple, Google, and Amazon are now part of our DTC market research toolkit.

The global pandemic has accelerated progress in digital health, exemplified by increased telehealth adoption and the digitization of market research for pharma brands. From data collection to analysis and reporting, let’s take a look at how digital is changing the game.

Image courtesy of inVibe Labs

The Digitization of Data Collection

A challenge of traditional market research is similar to that facing the health system itself: How do you collect biometrically rich and accurate data to best inform diagnostic and treatment decision making? The human body is speaking to us through data, but are we able to listen?

Patients are speaking, too, and the time has come for market research to do better than fill-in-the-blank surveys and questionnaire bubbles, unnatural interviews and focus groups, and other self-limiting formats. Even rigorous observational studies are subject to bias.

In contrast, consider the power of a patient voice recording compared to a written response from a survey or questionnaire. Patients are already sharing their thoughts and feelings about their experience with a disease state, vaccine, or treatment from their own smartphones.

Not only does a voice recording contain 100x or more data than the written word, but no data is lost or filtered during the input process. The data is also acquired conveniently, candidly, and efficiently, and in a manner that can seamlessly and relatively rapidly scale to need.

Unlike eye-tracking widgets, heat mapping, and other tech, voice offers a comprehensive window into the thoughts and feelings of your patients. By letting them speak for themselves, researchers can listen to the unfiltered essence of what’s on patients’ minds.

Image courtesy of inVibe Labs

A Human & Machine Approach to Data Analysis

After market research data is collected, the information must be analyzed to extract actionable insights. For quantitative research, the application of complex mathematical algorithms is usually involved; for quantitative, human researchers take a much more subjective, and often laborious, approach.

Given these differences between quant and qual data analysis, brands again feel tradeoffs are necessary: mountains of quant data is anonymized and statistically processed for generalized insights, while more dimensional, deeper data sets from smaller qual samples are extrapolated for more nuanced analysis of smaller sample sizes.

Innovative voice technologies offer a better way: trained language scientists conducting qualitative analysis assisted by an AI-powered processing interface that utilizes machine learning tools. Such a hybrid approach reveals insights lost or never inputted in the first place through mere checkbox surveys.

Layering advanced sentiment analysis on top of transcribed textual responses reveals added dimensions of subtle nuance and behavioral indicators. These emotional responses reveal the why behind patient behaviors, providing pharma brands unique insights.

Learning from the likes of Big Tech, a combination of sophisticated software and human-powered analytics can reveal the underlying needs of patients and fulfil unmet expectations for an ideal experience with your pharma brand.

Image courtesy of inVibe Labs

The Digitization of Market Research Reporting

The whole point of conducting market research is to better understand and hopefully improve their experience. Extracting key insights are just the first step – brand teams need effective recommendations to translate data into action.

From Google AdWords and Analytics to Microsoft Azure, Big Tech again leads the way. The presentation of data results in a visual, intuitive, and compelling way is the hallmark of digital supremacy, as PowerPoint decks are replaced by visual, interactive, and intuitive digital interfaces that tell stories.

Layered, dimensional output is another benefit of collecting voice data as opposed to text or other limited inputs. Voice data lends itself well to a dynamic dashboard with insights that drive action, from study design structure to endpoint recommendations to a health-literate lexicon.

The more patient biometric data you collect and analyze, the more nuanced your reporting opportunities. Being able to play original source audio files instantly connects brand teams back to their key stakeholders; hearing the subjects speaking for themselves infuses the output with transparency, credibility, and passion, which gives the research unparalleled credibility.

“Without data,” W. Edwards Deming once said, “you’re just another person with an opinion.” And without a visual, intuitive, and KPI-driven way to dynamically report actionable recommendations back to brand teams, your market research results could get lost in the noise.

Image courtesy of inVibe Labs

Bringing the Patient Experience to Life

Adept brand stewards identify research opportunities across functional teams and the product life cycle, from clinical trials and R&D to primary and health economics and outcomes research, et al. Tailored combinations of quant and qual are the norm – now enhanced with digital.

To best understand patients and their unique needs, you need a market research approach with agility and power. The current opportunity demands a capability with the fluidity and speed of quant and the depth and dimensionality of qual. Digital innovation fills that gap.

Opportunities abound for innovative approaches, such as when patient recruitment is time consuming or tricky; you have more questions and need another layer of insights but have minimal ramp up time; or campaign stimuli need to be tested during the creative development cycle.

By harnessing the natural power of the patient’s own voice, a fresh approach to market research gives additional flexibility and strength to the arsenal of tools already at a brand’s disposal. By embracing the potential of voice for market research, the patient experience is revitalized.

When done with empathy, personalization, and innovation, market research helps explain what the optimal patient experience should be like, and it recommends how healthcare brands can assist in creating it. The digitization of market research adds to the arsenal of digital health and maximizes the power of DTC marketing.



December 9, 2021 Jessica Obriot0

Social media users respond to voice and human connection. People like people. This makes working with influencers an excellent way to impact your target audience.

When the words “social media influencer” are thrown around, it can sometimes trigger thoughts of makeup brands, clothing companies, or even beauty supplements. However, the vast world of social media changes every day, and one of the more recent changes is that anyone can be an influencer. If an online user has followers that hit your target audience, and their content is “brand friendly,” you have the perfect pairing for an influencer partnership that will get you ROI. Healthcare marketing is no exception.

During the pandemic, we’ve seen doctors become even more interested in being connected to brands they love and to their fellow health care professionals. Doctors are open to sponsoring products and devices they’re passionate about, just as a beauty influencer would promote a mascara they love.

Finding the Right Influencer

A lot of brands focus on the number of followers a person has and want to select influencers just based on this number. Don’t get me wrong, having a lot of followers is a great start, but it’s not everything. Influence isn’t just about follower count. Micro-influencers can actually have the biggest impact if they’re the ones who are engaging with the audience you most want to reach.

We are looking for KOLs – Key Opinion Leaders. Whether you’re on the hunt for patient or physician influencers for your brand, you want to ensure that their followers (no matter the number) are within your target audience and are engaging with the potential influencer’s posts.

You also want to make sure the influencer is “brand friendly.” Are they putting out relevant content that aligns with the brand’s message? Are they posting competitor products? Are they using profanity or language that the brand doesn’t want to be associated with?

Analyze an influencer’s profile and feed to determine who fits the brand’s bill. It’s important to establish with the brand’s marketing team that these points are what’s important when choosing influencers. Create a checklist with the marketing team that everyone signs off on. This way, once scouts are sent in to hunt down potential influencers, you are working off a consistent, agreed-upon standard that aligns with the brand strategy.

Choosing the Best Channel

Sometimes there will be questions about which platform to use for influencer programs. I’ve found that researching hashtags is the best way to find out whether a platform is appropriate. For example, if we’re looking for an influencer for a diabetic macular edema drug, we’ll search “DME” or “diabeticmacularedema” in hashtags across platforms. This not only helps give a sense of the conversation but also may provide insight into who is talking about your product or disease state the most.

At the moment, we’re running campaigns on Facebook and Instagram. That’s where the influencers are. But there’s always new players, right?

Enter TikTok. The channel is still new territory in terms of the medical field, but we’re keeping our ear to the ground because of the number of our target audience members that use it. More physicians are moving to TikTok to talk about procedures and patients’ stories. Patients are also going viral with their own stories. This is the kind of platform that can make a campaign go viral.

Image source: Shutterstock

Content That Matters

When it comes to building the content, we put a lot of focus on staying within FTC and FDA guidelines for distributing information for sponsored content. However, we also try to cultivate a strong, trusting relationship with the influencers.

Get an understanding of their aesthetic on Instagram and how they speak in their posts. Content development is much more of a collaboration than a plug and play. Don’t say, “Okay, we’re going to make this post for you. Here it is. We’re paying you to put it on there.” It’s more that you are getting the influencers’ true thoughts, feelings, and opinions.

It’s important that the posts are in the influencer’s voice. Their audience needs to feel the person behind the post, and the influencer needs to feel they are being properly represented. This is why the working relationship with the influencer is so important.

Encourage influencers to follow along with prompts that are given to them to best align their posts with the goals of the campaign. For example, say, “Tell us about the first time you prescribed X to a patient.” Then take their answer and create a post for them, ensuring that all FTC and FDA language is incorporated. A copywriting team will ensure that you are retaining the influencer’s voice, while also staying compliant. Designers can then add the brand’s logo or important safety information as needed.

Legal Review Can Be a Breeze

To some, especially your MLRC or legal teams, it can be daunting to consider having influencers as branded partners who are not tied to the brand in the way an agency would be. Working with a team member experienced in social media marketing helps marketing teams approach their internal and the legal teams to communicate both the importance of social media influencers and the safeguards put in place to meet FDA and FTC requirements.

A good way to frame it is that this influencer is a kind of contractor. They are working with the brand, they signed a contract, and they are being compensated accordingly. Be careful about who you select. Once that person is on board, they should be trained and monitored the way an agency would be, and their duty to comply with company standards is included in their contracts. It’s important to make these teams comfortable with the idea of influencers and to reiterate that the risk is low and the potential ROI is high.

Once you have the influencer’s posts compiled and the influencer has signed off on them, put the post through internal or MLRC review. Any changes made from this point forward are communicated to the influencer, and work with them to ensure that the post is still in their voice.

After the MLRC team approves the post, provide a post distribution schedule to the influencer with the dates and times their post should go out. They’re given all the assets they need to post it on social media and be successful in doing so.

Ensuring Compliance

On the date a post is scheduled to go live, check that the post is live, that everything looks compliant, and that everything is posted as it was approved.

All branded language in these posts is tied to compliance the same way it would be in a normal post that goes out on a brand channel. FTC requirements have become very direct over the years and their requirements are easy to incorporate. For example, at the top of the post, you need to have “#ad” or you need to disclose that this is a paid partnership.

The biggest question for brands is always about how influencers interact with the community once they have distributed these posts. The post goes live and people are commenting on the post. How is the influencer going to interact under that post? How are they going to interact in direct messages? There’s always a big question about adverse events (AE), too. How is this person going to report an AE?

Consider creating a training document that can be molded to your brand. It can include approved responses that the influencer agrees to use under all sponsored content, and also a full briefing and overview on AE reporting and the steps an influencer needs to take to ensure an AE is reported to the brand.

If the brand prefers, the influencer can turn off Instagram comments under their posts so that all interaction on the post is restricted to direct messages. This isn’t ideal as we WANT engagement under the influencer posts, but it’s a compromise we’ve seen in order to push programs through approval.

Brand Impact

Working with social media influencers is new to many pharmaceutical and medical device brands. I’ve found that a key to success is having clear, strategic steps that not only help retain control over the outcome, but also make all internal brand teams comfortable with the process.

It is vital for the brand to be properly represented and for regulatory authorities to be satisfied. It is also important for the influencer to feel authentic, which should happen naturally when you select doctors who truly love the brand.

To take full advantage of the potential in these campaigns, the personal voice must stay in the posts. People respond to specific, relatable facets of other human beings.

Again, I think it is important to emphasize that for these campaigns the reward is so much higher than the risk. We’ve seen amazing responses to influencers and from my POV, HCP and patient influencer campaigns deserve to be a standard part of brand planning moving forward for pharmaceutical and med device companies.



December 9, 2021 Eric Peacock0

For the six in 10 Americans living with a chronic health condition, the COVID-19 pandemic took an especially difficult toll. 69% of people living with chronic disease report the pandemic has made it more difficult to manage their condition, and one in three say the symptoms of their condition worsened during the pandemic. Just as they were beginning to venture back out to in-person appointments with their doctors and to pre-pandemic exercise regimens and social engagements – the Delta variant swept in and put a damper on returning to life as normal.

(Image courtesy of MyHealthTeams)

There is a huge opportunity to engage and help patients with chronic conditions right now by giving them the content and information they need and want, in the setting where they feel safe and comfortable. Follow these six strategies to get an unfair advantage in engaging patients in Q4 and 2022 (all while feeling good knowing you are helping patients).

1. Answer the questions they have – not the questions you want them to have

On the surface this may sound obvious, but it’s amazing how often the healthcare system and pharmaceutical companies fail to address the most important, pressing questions on the minds of the patients they are trying to reach. Case in point – COVID vaccine recommendations. Exactly nobody with Crohn’s disease, or Multiple Sclerosis, or leukemia, or multiple myeloma were comfortable following the CDC’s general guidance about getting the COVID vaccine. They wanted to know whether it was safe for them, given their diagnosis, and their current medication (often an immunosuppressant). If you spend all your time marketing to people with leukemia, then get in their heads. Understand the pressing questions and figure out a way to get them to content that has trusted answers. Doing so will show that
you are on their side and interested in helping them achieve better outcomes – not to mention catch their eye, get them to stop what they are doing, and engage with the content you are sponsoring.

2. Bring the experts to the masses

The number of people utilizing telehealth services surged during the pandemic, and while that is a good thing, it is still one patient at a time and reliant on everyone having access to good specialists via telehealth. But now is a great time to bring the specialist, leading experts in a disease, to the masses. Not every patient with vitiligo has access to a dermatologist involved in clinical trials and research in that condition, for instance. So why not do a Live Q&A with the vitiligo expert and make it available to thousands of people with vitiligo (or whatever condition you are serving)? In one hour or less, a doctor can address about 10 hot topics that are top of mind for thousands of people facing the same disease and grappling with similar day-to-day challenges. And for those who can’t make the live event you can always record it for later viewing. Here’s the thing – hospitals don’t typically do this. Insurance companies don’t typically do this. Pharma companies absolutely should do this to engage patients – just make sure you do it with a partner, in a way that is at arms-length, so you don’t have to spend half of your life in MLR review.

3. Empower patients with virtual rehab sessions

Sheltering in place for months on end drove many people living with a chronic condition to try ondemand, at-home opportunities to care for their health – and it worked. The Home Rehab Network, for example, created virtual pulmonary rehabilitation sessions for COPD patients when the pandemic stopped all in-person sessions with respiratory patients. Short, two-minute video tutorials proved especially effective, with 71% of patients who regularly practiced the techniques reporting improvement in their shortness of breath. The content was engaging. Two-thirds of those who tried the techniques made them a daily habit. This type of approach opens up opportunities across many chronic conditions, serving patients who are seeking tips for how to incorporate simple condition-specific rehab exercises into their daily routines.

Image courtesy of MyHealthTeams

4. Think beyond the pill to serve the whole person

When surveyed, chronic condition patients consistently point to two factors that most influence their satisfaction with doctors: “Listens to me and understands me” and “Spends enough time with me.” In most cases, what they’re really seeking is recognition and practical advice for some of the things they are facing due to their chronic condition such as stress, anxiety, sexual dysfunction, bladder issues, sleeping issues – or – tips on how to eat healthy and workout safely while living with their specific disease. Filling this gap is a valuable patient engagement opportunity. Resources such as condition-specific nutrition recommendations, recipes and shopping guides, and even destigmatizing topics around mental or sexual health for example, can go a long way toward serving the whole person.

5. Foster strong social connections

There’s a growing body of evidence that strong social connections improve health outcomes. Finding ways to foster communication among people who share the same chronic disease diagnosis helps them share their unfiltered truth – firsthand experiences with treatments and side effects, practical tips for navigating challenges at work or home, emotional support for getting through the tough days, guidance for questions to ask at the next doctor’s appointment. This can happen through traditional patient support groups, of course. But in today’s digitally-driven world, it increasingly happens online – especially in condition-specific patient social networks.

6. Prioritize direct relationships with diagnosed patients

For marketers tasked with reaching diagnosed patients, it’s more important than ever before to prioritize audience quality when evaluating media partners. As Google phases out third-party cookies in a couple of years, these partnerships will be key to reaching and engaging target consumers. First-party data will be king, and the time is now to start building those trusted relationships. Connecting with patients when and where they are actively discussing and seeking information about their health will be essential to patient engagement success in 2022 and beyond.

Ultimately, following these strategies will not only get you strong results, they will also help improve health outcomes by empowering people to make informed health decisions and take the actions that are right for them.



November 18, 2021 admin0

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Services and Offerings: Completely Connected

InStep Health has created an exclusive digital-to-physical continuum that spans patient visits to their physician, local pharmacy, home, and workplace in the ordinary course of maintaining their health. Our approach starts with custom audience models and geolocation data to locate a campaign’s footprint using advanced digital tactics. InStep Health Arrivals provide just-in-time impact, allowing clients to reach their target audience as they enter our network physician offices and pharmacies.

We know engaged HCPs are critical to any program’s success. InStep Health Emails provide a day-to-day connection with HCPs who opt-in to our in-office programs, reaching them in their email boxes throughout campaigns. Added to this is our ability to target opted-in HCPs on a 1:1 basis as they access the internet on work and personal devices.

Pharmacy

InStep Health was the first to recognize the pharmacy’s extraordinary effectiveness as a media channel. Our Pharmacy Displays, placed at the shelf in targeted health and personal care aisles of the retail pharmacy, engage consumers as they seek health information. Our aisle-by-aisle targeting approach leverages patient behaviors related to their health conditions.

The Pharmacy in 2020: Reliable, Essential, More Valuable than Ever

The stay-at-home orders from COVID-19 response nationwide interrupted many typical doctor-patient relationships as access to clinics and hospitals were curtailed or discouraged for non-emergency, nonessential concerns, and public transportation was interrupted. So pharmacies became an even more natural and logical healthcare destination. And pharmacies leaned into that responsibility.

As CVS CEO Larry Merlo said in the company’s second-quarter earnings report, “The environment surrounding COVID-19 is accelerating our transformation, giving us new opportunities to demonstrate the power of our integrated offerings and the ability to deliver care to consumers in the community, in the home and in the palm of their hand which has never been more important.”

Pharmacies opened thousands of on-site COVID-19 testing centers and became de facto leaders in transmission reduction for retail stores. In concert with the Department of Health and Human Services, pharmacies expanded vaccine services by broadening the range of vaccinations approved for administration by a trained pharmacist. In hard-hit communities, pharmacies stepped up their telemedicine and delivery options, even launching drone services to minimize contact and spread. Some locations even opened customers’ eyes to the full scope of services for the first time when they applied their compounding skills to make hand sanitizer during shortages.

Healthcare Providers

Our network of 250,000+ HCPs is the largest in the industry and includes all provider types in virtually every medical specialty nationwide. InStep Health’s Professional Education Kits and Patient Activation Bags, delivered throughout network offices, are ideal for educating HCPs, staff, and patients about new or established treatments. They are also a strategic solution for supporting pharma sales forces and overcoming reduced personal interactions with providers.

Measurement

We employ a flexible platform that utilizes best-in-class data and third-party partners to deliver metrics and insights for every program across whatever channel we execute with our clients. For example, prescription lift and ROI, changes in prescribing at the physician level, physician recommendations and awareness, response to digital ads, and digital audience composition are among the performance indicators measured.

Learnings from a time of uncertainty

Today, we can see clearly that although COVID has accelerated the rate of change in healthcare, many of the essential priorities have remained the same. The role of technology will expand to reach more patients faster to achieve better outcomes. The pharmacy played a distinct role in the pandemic response and emerged as the quintessential essential business. Across all disciplines, health care professionals will require new ways of reaching patients–with a better ability to serve them ondemand and in any setting. Consumer appetite for convenient access to trusted providers will only grow.

We recommend creating adaptive plans using your answers to these questions as a guideline:

Learn more about the InStep Health platform and marketing solutions. A continuum of care. Meet with an InStep Health team member at DTC National or visit completelyconnected.life.



November 18, 2021 admin0

Sponsored Content

It’s clearer than ever — health inequities exist, and they need to be addressed. So how can we, as marketers and content creators, help bridge the gap? Which methods and strategies are most impactful?

In this Q&A, Verywell’s Chief Medical Officer, Jessica Shepherd, MD, shares her thoughts on creating positive change and evolving our thinking around how health content is created and disseminated to be inclusive for all audiences.

Verywell: What has happened over the past 18 months to bring health inequities to center stage?

Jessica Shepherd, MD: The COVID-19 pandemic shined a strong light on American health disparities — we saw firsthand differences in access to testing, care, treatment, and more across communities and populations.

At the same time, we saw the mighty power of information in narrowing the existing gap. We needed technology and reassuring messaging to empower people and drive them to take action, whether it was getting tested, staying home, wearing masks, getting vaccinated, or seeking help.

These events were eye-opening in these regards. They highlighted existing health inequities and the power — and responsibility — that we, as health information disseminators, have to address them.

At Verywell, we did our part by providing information that was credible, easy-to-understand, empathetic, and relevant — pillars that KR&I, in research sponsored by Verywell, found matter to people in their moments of need.

Verywell: As both a physician and CMO, you have unique insight into this topic. Where do you think publishers and advertisers have the most opportunity to create positive change?

Jessica Shepherd, MD: As a physician, I have countless opportunities to give my patients information that is understandable and relatable, and as CMO I see that opportunity extended to the online publishing space. Over the years I’ve seen changes to where people are getting information and how they’re interpreting it, and unfortunately what they’re finding is not always as relevant as it can be, which makes it less impactful. That is the gap we need to fill.

When we think about “equity,” we know it refers to fairness and justice. Addressing “equity” means recognizing that we do not all start from the same place and adjusting our content accordingly. The process is ongoing, requiring us to identify and address intentional and unintentional barriers arising from bias or system structures, including health-specific barriers like cost of care, lack of culturally competent care, socioeconomic status, race, location, and more. This is how we can create resources that are relevant to everyone.

Verywell’s Anti-Racism pledge, shared publicly, outlines the goal best — we offer a detailed promise to all who visit Verywell, so they may see themselves in the voices and content that are shared. We took this commitment as a first step to driving positive change, to ensure that anyone and everyone feels represented.

Verywell: What steps can publishers and advertisers take to ensure they are properly representing all communities? In other words, what does “getting it right” look like?

Jessica Shepherd, MD: To accurately address the problem, you first need to understand the problem, so it’s important to ask questions and lay the foundation for why this work needs to be done. At Verywell, our first step is always research. We evaluate the existing literature, asking questions like “what is the prevalence” and “who is affected, and why?” We also partner with our Anti-Bias Review Board — a group of physicians, DEI experts, psychologists, and more. They help us gain a deeper understanding of what we don’t know and how we can best address it.

This base-level understanding often naturally leads to solutions that support the real people who are experiencing a health-related issue and seeking answers in their moment of need. For example, if lack of education and awareness are in play, we make sure new and existing content fills that gap. If resources are an issue, we help connect people with leading organizations who are there to help. And if representation is lacking in clinical materials, we’ll make sure to offer specific imagery, voices, and more.

The most important aspect of “getting it right” — the outcome you want to achieve — is making sure that every reader who visits your resources easily finds the credible, relevant, and empathetic information they’re looking for. KR&I, in the same study sponsored by Verywell, found that users are more likely to feel better and take a positive health action when they encounter content that embodies these four factors.

Verywell: What are some of the challenges in making sure everyone is represented in online health content?

Jessica Shepherd, MD: Most challenges relate to one simple truth — we don’t always know what we don’t know. Representing “everyone” is a complex task, which is why research, partnership, and highlighting diverse voices is so important to “getting it right.” The health inequities affecting different communities require attention and detail and collectively we are stronger, can learn from one another, and can all help each other live healthier lives.

Related to that, we’re working towards changing how content has been written for a long time. As with any change, it’s important to maintain a caliber of curiosity and openness to learning what matters to different groups of people. The more we can put a human lens on our users’ needs, the better we can meet them where they are and humanize their health experience.

Verywell has one specific purpose—to help others feel better and more empowered about their health. To learn more about Verywell’s approach to addressing health inequities online, or for more information on partnership opportunities, contact us at sales@verywell.com.



November 18, 2021 admin0

Sponsored Content

WHILE “NEW” MAY SEEM AN OXYMORON FOR A COMPANY THAT IS NEARLY FOUR DECADES OLD, IT IS TRUE. HERE’S WHY:

Today, the pace of change in healthcare communications is not just fast, it’s hyperspeed. The brand marketing plans of just two years ago are more than out of date. As the world evolves beyond the pandemic crisis phase in the US, pharma brand marketers are evolving the way they reach physicians and patients. Every day. And, at Health Monitor, so are we.

In the first six months of 2021, we introduced three new products – all digital offerings – to reach both physicians and patients in new ways. These products are, of course, a complement to the award-winning existing communication platform we have built in our industry-leading largest physician office network of over 200,000 offices.

In addition, during the first six months of 2021, we added several key new senior leaders across the organization – from network sales, industry sales, marketing, and data analytics and technology. All the investments are in the service of continuing to build our platform, serve our physician office and brand marketing customers, and continue to further enhance our offerings.

Some things, though, have NOT changed.

Our commitment to bringing the highest quality, bespoke educational content to patients and physicians through our in-house content studio and our own medical advisory board of leading KOLs across virtually every specialty remains unchanged.

Our company values of transparency, initiative, and teamwork remain unchanged. Transparency means we always do what’s right in support of that physician and the patient communication in the exam room. Every time.

Finally, we are in a business that demands transparency and accountability. That’s why all our marketing programs come with our industry-leading ROI guarantee and measurement.

I am immensely proud of our four decades of history. Our products. Our people. I am very excited about our future, with the major investments in people and new products. I believe strongly in the #HealthMonitorDifference.

David M Paragamian
Chief Executive Officer



November 18, 2021 admin0

Sponsored Content

Healthcare marketers who target consumers by age, gender, race, and ethnicity, or income, are potentially over-spending on media and missing a key to unlock both motivation and action.

That’s because our current marketing and advertising ecosystem is built on demographic targeting instead of what consumers think.

For decades, marketers have been limited to media buys such as radio and television ads targeted based on audience age and gender. It’s possible to reserve ads in time slots which attract adults at least 65 years of age, for example, or in programming aimed at women between the ages of 25 and 34.

Who’s to say that the women within either of those groups hold a core set of common beliefs which influence how favorably they will respond to a particular message?

Thanks to attitudinal research, we now know that they don’t.

Marketers who want to stand out can gain a competitive advantage by accessing insights uncovered by our research showing that age, gender, race and ethnicity, and even income are transcended by shared attitudes that have no demographic distinction. These powerful beliefs, if understood and used as the foundation for segmentation and personalization, can transform any brand.

Here are the top four things attitudinal segmentation makes possible.

Reach the right customer, with the right message, at the right time

Of course, every marketer knows the importance of reaching their target audience with an appealing message at a time when it will motivate them to take action. What isn’t as obvious is the attitudes and beliefs which need to be addressed in these messages and how target audiences break down in terms of holding common beliefs.

That’s where attitudinal segmentation marketing research shines.

LAVIDGE, which serves numerous healthcare industry clients, conducted a nationwide survey in early 2020 and amended in May 2020, to learn the attitudes of healthcare consumers and define segments that share those attitudes—pre-pandemic and during the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

The “LAVIDGE Healthcare Industry Marketing Report” revealed four distinct attitudinal segments which bubbled up to the top based on survey responses.

The study uncovered four key healthcare consumer segments:

  • Team Players – like and trust their doctors and are confident in the healthcare system.
  • Bystanders – are intimated by the healthcare system and healthcare providers.
  • Crusaders – feel that everyone should have equal access to quality healthcare.
  • Boss – conducts their own healthcare research and challenges their doctors.

In the process, LAVIDGE uncovered six insights tied to how motivating beliefs impact healthcare consumers’ decisions on how they do or don’t interact with healthcare providers.

The segments, combined with the additional insights, have proven to be an invaluable resource for serving the needs of numerous healthcare industry clients, which has grown since LAVIDGE published its findings.

Optimize budgets through better targeting

It’s important to note that LAVIDGE didn’t know going into its study how many segments would bubble up or which attitudes would be most common among respondents who answered a series of thought-provoking questions.

Once the four segments revealed themselves, however, it became clear that all of them exist across all demographic criteria, with slight skews for different segments.

The revelation that shared attitudinal segments do not adhere to demographic criteria turns traditional healthcare marketing targeting strategy on its ear.

LAVIDGE learned that healthcare consumers respond to content that resonates with them emotionally and aligns with their beliefs. This gives healthcare marketers a significant leg up on the competition.

While others are busy crafting messages for audiences with common characteristics (whose core beliefs about healthcare are not necessarily aligned), marketers with attitudinal segmentation insight can launch laser-focused campaigns based on what makes healthcare consumers tick.

Better targeting leads to more efficient budgeting, which makes it possible to get the most out of marketing funds allotted to each campaign.

Improve media efficiencies

Knowing what makes an audience tick can make knowing where to reach them easier.

  • What types of media will reach them?
  • Do they drive or use public transportation?
  • What mix of traditional and new media will be most likely to not only be seen or heard, but to make an impact on them?

While our survey didn’t ask these questions overtly, knowing what healthcare consumers in each attitudinal segment believe about a variety of lifestyle choices makes it possible to choose media with messages aligned with those core beliefs.

And when marketing messages resonate with the intended audiences, improved media efficiency isn’t far behind.

Inform opportunities across the organization from product development to customer service

Marketing isn’t the only department which can benefit from seeing a clearer picture of what motivating beliefs drive the business’s consumers to action.

In fact, the more departments that can be made aware of what will attract and retain patients and clients—as well as what will turn them away—the more effective each organization can be in implementing effective strategies companywide.

After all, being consistent in what is promised all the way from the first touch in a multi-touch marketing campaign to the actual service—and if applicable—clear through to any follow-up satisfaction surveys following service, is a sure way to bake authenticity into your brand.

Meet LAVIDGE: We specialize in discovering and communicating insights which engage, motivate, and inspire. Our clients—in health care, real estate, education, technology, sports marketing, personal care, food service, and other public and private industries—count on us to make a difference. From brand awareness to lead generation and improved sales, to positioning them as thought leaders and enhancing perceptions, it’s what we do. And we’ve been doing it successfully since 1982. Intrigued? Visit LAVIDGE at 2777 E. Camelback Road in Phoenix, Ariz., online at LAVIDGE.com or get social with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.