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October 31, 2022 Adam Hessel0

I decided to use this forum to celebrate some of the bravest and boldest work I have seen over the course of the past year. By that, I mean those brands that continued to re-set the bar for what “excellent” looks like in the DTC space. Those that help remind us all why we are in this business in the first place The following are all examples of work that really stuck with me in 2022. They run the gamut from an out of home stunt to print to innovation and film. All different mediums, but all are crown jewels of bringing great insights to life with exquisite execution.

Image Source: Twitter @booneoakley

Agency: BooneOakley, Charlotte
Client: StarMed Healthcare
Title: “Wilmore Funeral Home”

https://www.thedrum.com/news/2021/09/22/funeral-truck-drives-twisted-anti-vaxxing-message

I remember the first time I saw this striking, unconventional way StarMed Healthcare chose to generate COVID vaccine urgency. It was ballsy and poignant and atypical of how most vaccine awareness messaging was being promoted at the time. This sobering and raw campaign sneaks in with a message that’s seemingly unrelated to the “advertiser”—and it’s one that, once it hits you, is impossible to forget. The campaign was a local North Carolina push as the Delta variant surged. The mobile billboard in the image says it all with unbelievable stopping power that really makes you think. I believe the billboard also offered a quick way to help folks sign up for the COVID vaccine. Really well done.

Agency: Eversana Intouch, New York
Client: TheChrysalisInitiative.org
Title: “Erase the Line”

https://thechrysalisinitiative.org/

This campaign is an excellent use of print in its purist form. Creating such impactful awareness around an extremely important and under-shared fact: “Black women are 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than white women.” Hats off to every detail in this campaign, from the core idea of ‘Erase the line’ and the unique visual depiction of the art direction, to even the painstaking craft of the typography. Every aspect of this work creates even more awareness that our systemically biased healthcare system needs. You can’t not notice this work. Nor should you.

Agency: Leith, Edinburgh
Client: Justin Edinburgh 3 Foundation
Title “The Extra Time Badge”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHSGrGhOTKY

If a person suffers a sudden cardiac arrest, every minute without CPR could be the difference between life and death. When most people think of industry innovation in this arena, they’d typically think of big partnerships with cutting edge tech companies, but this life-saving approach is the complete opposite. Ironed onto footballers’ shirts in the place where CPR should be performed, the badge contains key information to help people learn about giving CPR. What a remarkably straightforward and effective way to get information to people when and where they might need it. ‘The Extra Time Badge’ educates young footballers, coaches, and parents in the key steps of CPR, giving anyone and everyone the quick, on-the-spot education about how to resuscitate someone in need. It’s great how a Lo-Fi technology as simple as an ironed-on patch can save lives. Such a simple and clever idea.

Agency: Arch Film Studio
Client: Human Society International
Title “Save Ralph”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G393z8s8nFY

This may be my favorite piece of work this year. It touches on a topic we are all aware of, likely feel bad about, yet don’t do much to further awareness or change our habits to address… cosmetic testing on animals. ‘Save Ralph’ hits you in the gut by showing the daily routine of a rabbit tester, while humanizing the lead character with emotions and a relatable back story. Every aspect of this short video hits it out of the park—the casting, directing, voiceover—even the well-written, dark humor script is off the charts. After seeing this I have made a personal vow to only buy products that are free of animal testing.


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September 29, 2022 Jackie Drees0
Image Source: Shutterstock

Constipation affects millions of Americans each year, but many patients have not yet found an adequate medication to control their constipation symptoms, new Phreesia data shows. However, there’s a key opportunity to boost education and help patients get on the proper treatments—and that’s by reaching them at the point of care.

Half (50%) of surveyed patients said they experience constipation all or almost all of the time, and 45% reported having dealt with their condition for more than 5 years, according to survey results Phreesia Life Sciences collected in October and November 2021 from 6,780 adults diagnosed with or treated for constipation as they checked in for their doctors’ appointments. Unsurprisingly, patients’ symptoms also seriously affect their quality of life, with 62% of survey respondents saying that constipation has a moderate or great impact on their everyday life.

Despite the prevalence of their condition, many patients do not have a strong understanding of the health risks associated with constipation—61% of surveyed patients said they understood its risks “somewhat well” to “not at all.” This lack of comprehension points to the need for more education that can activate patients and urge them to address their constipation symptoms with their healthcare providers, which many rarely do. Phreesia survey data shows that nearly one-third (31%) of patients have never discussed constipation with their doctor, and among those who did raise the topic, 41% said they brought up their symptoms in fewer than 1 in 4 appointments.

And when it comes to initiating conversations about constipation with their provider, a significant portion (43%) of surveyed patients said they haven’t done so because they either didn’t realize it was an issue to discuss, or they felt uncomfortable bringing it up to their doctor.

“Patients must first understand that their symptoms are worth talking about and worthy of prescription therapy,” says Thomas McCourt, CEO of Ironwood Pharmaceuticals. “Many of these patients feel as though constipation isn’t a serious condition; they believe that it’s their own fault because they aren’t eating right or getting enough exercise. Once they understand that it’s actually a chronic disorder causing their symptoms, they’re more likely to believe they’re entitled to more effective therapy and feel an urgency and confidence to speak up to their doctor.”

In addition to improving patients’ treatment education, better-informed provider conversations are also key to helping get patients onto prescription therapy. Despite not being meant for long-term use, home remedies and over-the-counter (OTC) medications are still the most widely used constipation therapies, according to Phreesia survey data. And while 90% of surveyed patients agreed that OTC drugs are not meant to be used long term, half (50%) of those who have used OTC medications said they have taken them for more than a year.

Reaching patients while they’re in a healthcare state of mind with relevant resources about their condition can help support them as they navigate conversations with their doctor about constipation treatments that are more suitable for long-term use. And Phreesia survey data suggests these conversations tend to lead to prescription uptake, as 32% of surveyed patients have discussed prescription constipation medications with their physicians, and 31% have tried them.

The point of care “is one of the most valuable places for patients to discuss their symptoms and educate themselves about their condition,” McCourt says. Equipping them with doctor discussion guides, prescription savings information and other relevant materials at this critical moment of their healthcare journey not only raises patients’ awareness of prescription treatment options but also empowers them to initiate the discussions with their providers that will drive adoption of appropriate long-term therapy options.


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September 26, 2022 Sharon Carothers0
Image Source: Shutterstock

The health care insurance industry is preparing for open enrollment (OE) in the fall. Insurers are plotting their approach for effective use of consumer advertising to drive OE success.  There are three unique and challenging characteristics of OE advertising for insurers:

  • specific, short time period (October – December)
  • marketplace is cluttered with advertisers
  • enrollment is a complicated, multistep process

The following are some OE advertising best practices using these three attributes as a guide. They serve as both a reminder and, in some cases, a “checklist” during successful planning and deployment of OE advertising.

  1. Short window demands starting early
  • Begin as early as possible. Don’t wait for October to start.
  • Plan your approach by layering awareness tactics first then followed by direct response marketing.
  • Most consumers don’t respond until the week before the end of the OE window so consider incentivizing earlier enrollment with deadlines —e.g., “get peace of mind before Thanksgiving by enrolling today,”. There may be limitations with government–funded program.
  1. Break through the clutter
  • It is critical to differentiate in a crowded market and especially given increasing parity across product offerings.
  • Invest in creating a unique message and imagery.
  1. Maximize the currency and ease-of-use of all information sources and channels
  • Craft proactive, authentic messages that deliver information needed to make decisions – remember to simplify the concept of insurance.
  • Robust websites with in-depth and proactive content should feel authentic and build trust with consumers.
  • Layer in a steady stream of social media content.
  • Employ a standalone landing page for open enrollment to keep messaging laser-focused.
  1. Deploy a full-funnel marketing strategy
  • Have a strong call to action that drives to high-touch contacts — e.g., phone, in-person enrollers.
    • A call center with well-informed, trained staff is key to helping consumers through the consideration process
    • Valuable to have “brick and mortar” locations
  • Collect leads from digital advertising.
  • Don’t forget the importance of direct mail.
  • Tightly integrate CRM and sales into advertising.

These advertising best practice approaches, when implemented thoughtfully and effectively, can help ensure a successful OE. While these tactics are effective for many consumers, they might not be sufficient to overcome certain barriers to obtaining coverage (e.g., gaps in healthcare literacy, language or cultural barriers or internet access). That’s why it’s important to start as early as possible.


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August 30, 2022 Jackie Drees0
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Many Type 2 diabetes patients worry about their disease, leading to a significant impact on their mental health—especially for younger diabetics. However, those concerns present fresh opportunities for pharma companies to ultimately improve outcomes for Type 2 diabetes patients by offering them the support tools and resources they most want.

Diabetes has a pervasive effect on patients’ lives, with more than one-third (37%) of Type 2 diabetes patients reporting that they worry about their condition often or all of the time, according to data Phreesia Life Sciences collected in December 2021 and January 2022 from more than 4,000 adults diagnosed with or treated for Type 2 diabetes as they checked in for their doctors’ appointments.

Those worries can often be debilitating, as 42% of surveyed patients said their Type 2 diabetes has a moderate-to-great impact on their mental health. And Phreesia survey data shows that mental health concerns are even more significant among younger patients, with 31% of Millennials and Gen Z reporting that their diabetes has a great impact on their mental health, compared with 23% of Gen X and 9% of Baby Boomers.

Listening to and understanding Type 2 diabetes patients’ mental health struggles before engaging with them is crucial to alleviating some of the burdens they face, explains Mark Materacky, Vice President of Consumer Marketing at Novo Nordisk.

“It starts with a deep understanding and empathy for the challenges people who live with Type 2 diabetes experience,” Materacky says. “Addressing the person first—not the disease—is critical.”

Despite the condition’s negative effect on many patients’ psychological well-being, more than three-quarters (77%) of surveyed Type 2 diabetes patients said they have not sought any mental health support. Those who do seek support most commonly said they talk to friends or family (16%), followed by seeing a psychologist or counselor (5%). This notable gap between the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes patients’ mental health concerns and their uptake of support spotlights a marketing opportunity to connect with these patients and share resources that can help them.

In addition to their need for mental health support, Type 2 diabetes patients also want personalized resources to help them manage their condition. For example, nearly half (49%) of surveyed patients cited nutritional information specific to their needs as their most desired resource. Other top requests included tips on recommended lifestyle changes when taking diabetes medications (37%) and resources that could help them better understand how their medication works (31%).

Pharma companies can deepen their engagement with Type 2 diabetes patients and raise their awareness of the support materials available to them by taking a more personable approach in their marketing communications, suggests Christine Mormile, Director of Media at CMI Media Group.

“It’s very easy to get caught up in talking about financials or why you should get on a medication,” Mormile says. “Something that all pharma products—not just in the diabetes space—can do better with is creating messaging that asks patients, ‘How can we listen to you?’ or conveys that ‘We’re here to support you, and this is how our product can help your long-term diabetes care-management plan.’”

One of the strongest ways to engage with Type 2 diabetes patients—and to connect them to the types of support they seek—is by reaching them with these thoughtful messages at the point of care. Phreesia survey data suggests that diabetes patients discuss various treatment and disease management options with their providers. For example, 60% of survey respondents have talked about weight loss and nearly half (44%) have discussed new prescription medications with their main doctor who treats their Type 2 diabetes.

Given Type 2 diabetes patients’ demonstrated willingness to discuss treatment options with their providers, there are multiple opportunities for pharma marketers to reach them, not only with medication-awareness campaigns while they are in a healthcare state of mind, but also with nonpharmacological resources that can holistically support their treatment plan. Pharma companies should leverage the point of care to help diabetes patients access the many support tools available to them, empowering them to implement key lifestyle changes that can help them confidently manage their disease.


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August 30, 2022 Jen Werther0
Image Source: Shutterstock

The last decade saw an explosion of health data from sources including the digitization of health records, genomics, wearables, insurance claims, and more – which by some estimates now represents about 30% of the world’s data volume.

When combined with the power of machine learning, this data has the potential to reveal new insights into patients and their unique care journeys. Just imagine an AI model that improves the accuracy of cancer diagnosis, or can help isolate the genes responsible for rare genetic conditions. Innovations like these are already beginning to improve patient outcomes, and they raise the question of how else we can replicate the beneficial application of health data more generally across the entire healthcare system in a privacy-safe way.

Digital marketing in pharma seems like a prime candidate for this type of innovation. For example, what if we could glean broad, population-level insights to deliver relevant information exactly when patients need it? Or what if we could improve the experience for the 42% of consumers who say that the relevance of the pharma ads they see are poor or very poor?

Considering that our past research has found that pharmaceutical ads can empower patients to take a more active role in researching treatments – which is also the most common factor that patients state influences their medication adherence – that would be powerful indeed. So let’s examine the state of programmatic advertising in healthcare today, dig into some of the trends holding back the use of privacy-safe health data in advertising, and explore the opportunity for pharma marketers who successfully combine the two.

The State of Pharma Marketing in 2022

For a number of reasons, linear TV has long dominated the marketing mix for pharmaceutical brands and their agencies, but viewing habits change and audiences are fragmenting. In fact, some estimate that up to 70% of streaming audiences can’t be reached by linear-only campaigns – driving many advertisers to explore programmatic formats like digital video and connected TV (CTV). The pandemic further changed the way many pharma brands view advertising, with many appreciating the important difference it made in educating consumers and providers alike.

This major landscape shift toward programmatic media by pharma represents an opportunity to rethink both ad relevancy and measurement for the industry.

First, programmatic channels offer much more precise targeting than traditional TV – with as many as four or more variables like location and household income, compared with traditional demographics. Incidentally, this aligns with what patients say they want: relevancy. According to research conducted by DeepIntent and LG Ads Solutions, 65% of the more than 2,900 adults surveyed said that targeted ads improved their experience – and 57% said CTV ads were more relevant than linear or traditional TV ads. However, the deprecation of third-party cookies in 2023 will impact the precision of some programmatic channels, making it important to invest in new tools and strategies that allow for privacy-safe audience building, targeting, and measurement. CTV, for instance, doesn’t rely on third-party cookies for audience identification and measurement.

Second, linking digital ad campaign data and health data allows advertisers to go a step beyond traditional reporting metrics. Instead of simply tracking top-level data points like the number of impressions or clicks an ad received, marketers can go much deeper and analyze real-world patient outcomes, such as the number of new patients who actually follow through with filling the prescriptions written by their doctors after viewing an ad. This is also where there is the greatest opportunity to improve audience targeting, activation, and measurement over time – and is what will soon transform digital marketing in pharma.

Supercharging Pharma Marketing With Real-Time Data and Campaign Optimization

Health data isn’t actionable on its own, and a number of challenges have historically prevented its use for advertising.

For starters, data siloing and property systems have made it difficult to extract data and collect insights from connected data sets. The need for privacy and regulatory compliance further complicates its use for advertising purposes. Plus claims data, when available, is often lagged, and a lack of integration between marketing platforms and measurement tools has made campaign optimization a difficult, time-intensive process that is nearly impossible to automate at the same depth other industries enjoy today.

But why should healthcare marketers be relegated to using tools and solutions that are second-rate and downright inferior compared to what other marketers can do? The answer is they shouldn’t, and thankfully, the latest digital marketing technology leveraging real-time data, clean rooms, and machine learning makes it possible to optimize campaigns toward real-world outcomes using digital health data in a privacy-safe way.

Within just a few days, healthcare marketers using this technology can begin to determine which of their channels and demographics are most effective at achieving their campaign goals such as audience quality and new-to-brand scripts. That information can then be interpreted using machine learning to optimize variables including creative, audience, frequency, inventory geography, and more that impact whether an ad is both timely and relevant.

For an industry that has traditionally lagged behind others like retail or finance in its adoption of programmatic, the consequences of this shift are huge. Marketers will gain a much better understanding of campaign performance, and can optimize their campaigns faster and more effectively than ever before. And for patients who may rely on a new drug or therapy, the effects of this transformation can be literally life-changing.

 


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June 28, 2022 Jackie Drees0
Image Source: Shutterstock

While the notion has long prevailed that rural Americans live in the “digital dark,” new data suggests that rural patients are actually online just as much as their urban counterparts. And, thanks in part to widespread smartphone and data-plan usage, pharma marketers can now reach all patients—no matter their geographic location—more easily than ever before.  

Still, there’s no denying that city dwellers have better wireless and internet services. Rural residents were found to be twice as likely to have “somewhat weak” to “no wireless coverage” (24%) compared with urban residents (12%), according to data gathered from Phreesia Life Sciences, which surveyed more than 4,700 patients—including more than 1,800 rural patients—as they checked in for doctors’ appointments in December 2021 and January 2022. But despite these infrastructure challenges, smartphones are helping close the digital-access gap.

“There are a lot of misperceptions about life in rural settings, often portraying rural folks as less tech-savvy or less connected to online services,” says David Linetsky, Phreesia’s Senior Vice President, Life Sciences. “We’re really proud to be able to do this work of actually talking to patients who live in rural communities to better understand their stories and experiences.”

Phreesia survey data found that only 7% of rural patients say they don’t have access to smartphones and data plans—just a percentage more than the 6% of urban patients who say they lack such access. Therefore, given that rural patients are becoming just as accessible online as urban patients, pharma marketers should tailor their efforts to meet these populations in the digital spaces they frequent, Linetsky advises. 

“Digital platforms such as Phreesia, telehealth services, and other digital communications technologies are making healthcare more accessible to rural patients and also making it easier for manufacturers and marketers to reach those patient audiences with important health information that can help them better engage in their care,” he says.

The top activity for smartphone users across geographies is checking email, with some 82% of rural patients and 84% of urban patients listing it as an activity they use the internet on their smartphones for. Web browsing rates as all users’ second-most-popular activity, with 70% of rural patients and 72% of urban patients reporting that they browse the internet; and social media rounds out the top three, with nearly two-thirds (60%) of rural patients using their smartphones to scroll through social media, even more than the 55% of urban patients who use the internet for the same purpose.

Considering these browsing and scrolling percentages among rural patients, smartphone-optimized content is a great way to engage them. Even more notably, rural patients most want tools to help them manage their health. Top requests include: personalized resources specific to their health condition (44%); remote physician or nurse support (36%); and resources that can teach them where to find health information (27%).  

“In places with lower population densities, a lot of traditional out-of-home marketing tactics are ineffective,” Linetsky says. “Reaching patients that live in rural communities is best done through the use of digital platforms that are capable of identifying high-quality audiences that meet the specific clinical and demographic criteria you’re looking for.”

Still, in determining digital-marketing strategies, it’s important to note that rural patients find it slightly more difficult to gather healthcare information online than their urban counterparts. For instance, a little more than one-quarter (26%) of rural patients are uncertain about how to use the medical information they gather in an internet search to make health decisions, versus 23% of urban patients. In addition, rural patients tend to consider the online health information they track down less helpful than urban patients do. Fewer than one-fifth (19%) of surveyed rural patients categorized the information they found online as “very helpful,” compared with 23% of urban patients. 

That disconnect underscores the importance of making sure that the online health information marketers provide to patients is easily understandable and based on their specific needs. In addition to engaging with patients in the online spaces they already frequent, such as social media and email, optimizing pharma educational and support materials for mobile devices further increases opportunities to connect with rural patients by helping them build their healthcare awareness.