“Advertisements now are so numerous that they are very negligently perused.” 2016? Not even close: 1759. Dr. Samuel Johnson, an influential British author was referring to the explosion of personal classified ads—an explosion so monstrous that it resulted in great difficulty in getting people’s attention to read any one specific ad.
Sound familiar? Today we face an explosion of images, messages, videos, ads etc.—sometimes by the minute, let alone daily. It’s estimated we’re served up 3,500 messages a day. The ability to get people’s attention through all this “clutter” has never been more sought out.
It’s a Totally New Ball Game
For marketers, it was much easier when TV was the dominant channel in the era of mass communication. Advertisers focused on coming up with a big idea that was translated into a single campaign and they simply pushed out their message to the customer. Now, with the proliferation of platforms, channels and choices, and customers who are deciding where they will focus their attention and for how long, it’s a whole new ball game.
In 1999, Seth Godin introduced the concept of “permission marketing,” He stated that traditional methods of “interruption marketing”—the idea of attracting attention by taking the consumer’s focus away from what they were doing (such as a TV spot during a hit show or a website pop-up)—were no longer effective in a marketplace with so much choice. His concept of “permission marketing,” the need to get the customer’s permission to engage, is the exact opposite of “interruption marketing.”
Interruptive Ad Blocking Increases
And yet, interruption marketing is still happening today. A 2015 Ad Blocking report by Adobe and PageFair (bit.ly/1WOgwTs), found that ad blocking increased by a whopping 48% in the U.S. from 2014 to 2015 (41% globally). On a positive note, visitors to health websites were found less likely to block advertising than other sites but the fact remains: Many people find ads interruptive and so they block them.
So ask yourself: Are you and your brand interrupting patients’ and HCPs’ lives with your message or tactic? Or are you integrating contextually relevant and value-added content and experiences into their lives?
We need to continue to evolve from thinking only about getting our customer’s attention and ensuring we’re creating engaging, productive, and valuable experiences to earning their loyalty and trust. Creating trust is especially important in our industry because patients and HCPs are making life-saving and life-extending decisions based on the information and experiences we provide them.
These are four ways to create engaging productive experiences for our customers:
Core to creating a relevant positioning is determining your target patient and/or HCP. In today’s environment, we need to know more about them than ever before. Do you know what they need; what they want; where they are and when so that you can engage with them in a more meaningful personalized way and provide them with the right experience in the right context at the right time?
Your brand needs to be “always on,” which means constantly optimizing messages and experiences to remain relevant to customers. You also need to continually measure impact to ensure you are indeed delivering on customers’ needs to optimize accordingly.
3. Visual Storytelling
With the rise of video, video sharing, and the interest in virtual and augmented reality technologies, we have the ability now to engage our customers with visual stories that can help them learn in a more experiential way. For example, virtual reality is advancing traditional patient and caregiver education, healthcare professional training, and immersion therapy. The platform also provides a new way for biopharma companies to communicate and educate physicians and patients on the method of disease and method of action for therapies, providing a more immersive and more effective experience than standard scientific animations for roughly the same cost.
4. Consistently Delivering on Your Brand Promise
It’s essential to establish a differentiated meaning for your brand so that your key customers really care about it. And of course, you need to be able to deliver on it brilliantly and consistently across many channels and in many forms. Do what it takes to keep the promise, keep it relevant, and meet customer expectations wherever they touch your brand. Ask yourself and your teams: Do each of your customer experiences deliver on your brand promise?
The world has changed exponentially since the days of Samuel Johnson but the ability to break through the clutter and connect with customers in a meaningful way is still essential. After all, it’s what builds great brands. To be successful, we need to create experiences that our customers find engaging, relevant, and productive. We need to help patients along their journey and help HCPs help their patients better manage their conditions in ways that are meaningful to them.
Ultimately, it will be our customers who determine our success as they decide if they want to participate with our brand and share their views about their positive or negative experience with others.