Fitbits and YoYos

Will “quantified self” change human behavior? It’s an important question in healthcare since it’s the next big step in the rise of the consumer in healthcare decisions. If people are truly monitoring and modifying their behavior as a result of cool new technologies (this year CES was drowning in self-monitoring options), then heathcare brands need to strategize how to integrate these exciting gadgets into their marketing initiatives.

Will they really change human behavior? It’s easy to be skeptical given how there’s so much evidence that we don’t always do what’s best for our health. Think: Rising obesity rates, adherence cliffs and even among healthcare workers—alarming number who don’t regularly wash their hands (!), rates of obesity among HCPs, etc.

I think we’re at a turning point—and we can really start to think optimistically about broadscale change in consumer behavior as it relates to their health. Why? For one, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. Food manufacturers, technology firms, home appliance and improvement companies, software developers are determined to drive behavior change. Their combination of design expertise, understanding of consumer motivation, dexterity in mobilizing social networks to drive change, etc., surrounds the consumer like never before. And, social networks will support and encourage. It will be The Biggest Loser on steroids.

Here are a few thoughts as you think about your brand strategies:

1. Drop the one and done marketing strategy like is so often modeled in adherence programs. Accept that people will be on the wagon and off and pulse activities accordingly.
2. Create meaningful goals. How can your therapeutic area goals be translated to meaningful markers that in turn can be measured on a digital, tracking platforms?
3. Quantify the improved outcomes over time (rather than an immediate ROI). This is a journey ROI, as in a longer term value. Metrics matter but what are you going to measure? Think outcome shifts (which payers value) rather than short-term impact.

  • Janet Winkler

    Janet Winkler is Group President of Publicis Healthcare Communications Group. Janet leads a team of inspired professionals who are motivated to drive growth for clients. More than ever that means disrupting the conventional and providing ideas and solutions that leverage technology, insights, data & analytics, and consulting services, and do so in an integrated way.