I sat down with Charlie Greenberg, a respected healthcare industry veteran and an expert in point-of-care (POC) marketing, to discuss current trends in healthcare marketing. It’s a topic Charlie knows well, having worked for more than 30 years in the industry with giants like Saatchi & Saatchi, Wyeth, and Merck. Charlie currently serves as a media and marketing consultant, so he spends a great deal of time thinking about the ways brands can improve their reach and maximize their return on investment.
Q: How has healthcare marketing changed during your time in the industry?
A: Market research on patient population profiles and their attitudes toward treatment options has become increasingly more sophisticated. We no longer focus only on demographics and affinity interests, but now incorporate attitudes toward treatment options, healthcare status, and relevant multicultural distinctions within an overall target universe.
Paid media in the marketing mix has embraced this more sophisticated market research by employing greater targeted media tactics. This is not only a function of the evolution of digital media but greater opportunities within the point-of-care arena and the availability to refine how mass media can reach a target audience.
Q: What’s the biggest thing healthcare marketers aren’t doing that they should, or that they should be doing more of?
A: Good marketers set themselves apart from the pack when they are willing to make bold decisions and address the marketplace by shaping customer thinking. Adopting a mindset of “test and learn” around how marketing dollars are spent needs to be better embraced. Short-term thinking often leads to stagnation and missed opportunities.
Secondly, marketers should also be investing more in communication which has the goal of building health literacy. This will not only support the ability to shape consumer thinking, but health literacy campaigns have been shown to lift the efforts of branded commercial campaigns when the two messages are running together.
Q: What effect can point of care (POC) have on the overall media plan? What benefits can brand managers and media planners realize from adding this channel to their mix?
A: Adding POC to a plan will increase the ability to laser target reaching prospects and patients. This complements the efforts of other tactics within the plan. Secondly, POC offers a guaranteed ROI, which also enriches the promotional effectiveness of the overall marketing plan.
Q: Why is healthcare personal to you?
A: It is rewarding to be able to feel a sense of achievement from launching that new snack food item on shelf, introducing a new car model or driving purchases of yet another shade of red lipstick. However, healthcare marketing offers a benefit of knowing that you are helping people understand health conditions and offering treatment to increase their quality of life.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about being a New Yorker?
A: New York City offers real mobility since it is one of few places in America where you have the option to walk to get to your destination rather than being tied to your car.