Today’s healthcare marketers are confronted with managing diverse communications channels and increasing regulatory challenges. It’s the marketer’s call of duty to make instant and continuous connections across multimedia platforms, while providing clear and consistent messaging.
What’s more important is perhaps not where we’re communicating, but what we’re communicating. While so many of us focus on how many fans, followers and +1’s we’ve amassed, have we lost sight of the very DNA of our profession? Our increasingly complex environment underscores the need to go back to basics and analyze our core messages. Are we just pushing a product sell, or is it something more? Today’s patients demand—and deserve—important resources from the pharmaceutical companies in which they make physical, emotional and financial investments.
So how can we succeed? Quite simply put, we need to bring it back to core messages. While “Keep It Simple, Stupid” originated as a design acronym, it applies naturally as a healthcare marketer’s guardrail. Today’s customers have awakened to a more holistic approach and to their responsibility for managing their care. Therefore, pharmaceutical companies need to be taking a broader look at their audiences—from pill to patient to people. It’s no longer solely about drug delivery, it’s about health outcomes. Consumers are thinking beyond just taking a drug; they’re thinking about their bodies and health from mental, spiritual and financial perspectives. They want information in an immediate and personalized way, and they want to vet it with their peers. In fact, 36% of social network users value other consumers’ knowledge before making healthcare decisions. Today’s consumer may receive a message, but he or she may no longer accept it without validation from friends and family—the simpler the message, the easier it is to engage people in a discussion.
A K.I.S.S. messaging approach is also applicable for healthcare professionals. With more online resources to tap into and less interaction with the sales rep community, healthcare professionals need information in a shorter, faster, easier way that accommodates their busy schedules. Healthcare professionals want to prescribe the best treatment options as well as provide their patients with the right resources and education. Companies who recognize the value of this balanced approach will thrive; those who continue to push treatment alone will not.
As healthcare communicators, we live in a constant state of gray with an ever-evolving marketing environment. Popular communications channels may ebb and flow—and potentially disappear —but underneath all the bells and whistles, the core messages of helping the patient in a holistic way should remain resolute. Patients are not just sick people. They are empowered individuals who will be loyal to those who help them navigate through the various stages of their health, those who help them along the way.
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