KEY TAKEAWAY: There are two things that today’s patients’ want in health care; empathy and to be heard. Pharma has to find a way to take a more empathetic approach to DTC marketing if we want our efforts to be effective.
When I am with a new client I always try to take an empathic approach to developing great patient marketing. What I have found, however, is that very few pharma companies have people who are responsible for patient voices. The worst thing that can happen to any brand is turning a deaf ear to the voices of their customers.
There are those who throw up roadblocks to listening to patients, citing adverse event reporting and other regulatory issues, but I would argue that patients’ voices are too important to ignore. Marketing today is more about a conversation and less about pushing irrelevant information.
Patient voices can also help pharma marketers improve their online marketing. I just completed a project collecting insights from MS patients and translating them into opportunities to improve online marketing. The biggest challenge to implementing this is to ensure that you do this, however, while the topic of conversation is still relevant. If your regulatory process delays changes to your online content you’re at a significant disadvantage.
Today our health care system treats patients, not people. This is contrary to everything patients want and need. Every organization should have a senior position that encompasses patients’ voices. We need to humanize our approach along the whole healthcare continuum.