Historically, marketers may have focused their marketing plans on the different channels that could be used to push out communications to customers about a brand based on certain business objectives. Traditional thinking has been that we would influence HCPs to prescribe if we reached them enough times with the same message. However, due to the complexity of the healthcare marketplace, including the evolution of patient care, new competitors, influence of health systems/payers, and the exponential noise online through many different channels, healthcare professionals need even more clarity on brands and disease states—and they need to receive it in a different way.
How often do we stop to think about the overall brand conversation we want to have with our healthcare professional customers? Understanding the current beliefs of our HCP customer segments (through ongoing listening) allows us to engage with them on a different level and create provocative discussions that may challenge those beliefs. This should be an important element of a marketing plan each year.
Start with Behavior
Start with the desired behaviors you want to change, and what attitudes and beliefs are creating those behaviors. This is still aligned within your business objectives, strategic initiatives, and patient journeys. From there, develop a brand story that you want to share that resonates with your HCP customers and meets the needs of your medical and regulatory colleagues. This brand story should be integrated into all of your marketing plan tactics so that your customers receive a consistent set of experiences and messages. This collective set of integrated customer experiences will help your audiences become more knowledgeable, better understand your disease state and product, and has a greater likelihood to generate brand advocates.
While traditionalists might argue that your brand story should never change, we know that today’s healthcare world is moving too quickly not to adjust your brand story each year. New competitors entering the marketplace, new types of technology available, patient and clinical experiences, and changing healthcare trends can all potentially impact how you might adjust your brand story.
Defining your brand story within your marketing plan has many benefits:
- It will provide a consistent set of experiences for your customers.
- It will keep your story relevant to your customers.
- It will ensure that you are keeping your business objectives aligned all the way through the content within the tactics.
- It will help you select the best channels to conduct customer conversations about your brand story.
Marketing plans focus on the tactics and how they align with the strategy. By developing/enhancing your brand story each year, you can find ways to be more targeted with the types of experiences you are creating and in a more impactful way.