There is a misconception within marketing that just because people are using a certain technology or going to a certain website that they want marketers to follow them there. The rule seems to be for startups “build it, get a mass audience & then intrude and interrupt consumers when they are there”. For pharma marketers agencies are trying tell them to “get into mobile marketing” because “mobile marketing is growing rapidly and is where the eyeballs are”. This is far from reality and far from the truth.
Application marketing is not easy. Pinch Media reports that only 30 percent of iPhone apps are used beyond the day they are downloaded or purchased, and after 20 days that number plummets to around five percent. Mobile app users are a fickle bunch: while they’re willing to give new apps a try, 26 percent of the time the apps never get a second shot, according to a study by the analytics firm Localytics.
The big takeaway from the news for mobile app developers is that first impressions of your app matter greatly, and you should also pay more attention to the number of people who keep using your apps, instead of just looking at download statistics.
In addition research has shown that people with certain healthcare conditions do not like to be “reminded” that they are sick by applications that pop up and tell them to stay compliant and take their medication. What I have learned is that, however, it varies by health condition. For example, people with Type 1 diabetes are more likely to like an app that helps them stay compliant in doing things like checking their blood glucose levels. The other side of this is that people who have other health conditions like high blood pressure or high cholesterol do not like apps reminding them to stay compliant.
So should pharma open the door to app marketing ? It depends on how well you know the wants and needs of your audience. However there are some guidelines that require a lot more attention to app marketing:
(1) Extensive research in determining value to users (target audience) as well as usability research to determine if the app meets the users expectations on use and value.
(2) You need to hire an agency that can not only develop the app but also can update as necessary to ensure the app stays up to date as new operating systems are released.
(3) While ROI is important you need to think more about user needs and then build in a back end analytic solution that clearly shows how the app is adding to business and brand objectives. This means going beyond the number of people who download the app and showing a straight line to ROI.
Application marketing can be a valuable tool if marketers do the legwork necessary to ensure that patients want to use them and that they are indeed a valuable resource to help them better manage their health without being intrusive.