Healthcare is becoming a consumer business

2012innovationFrom Strategy & Business: In the years ahead, healthcare will evolve into a B2C industry, in which consumers will take a much more active role in their healthcare decisions and expenditures. And, as a result, every healthcare company and organization will need to become more consumer-centric. The deck is being reshuffled, and there will be new winners and new losers, depending on how companies play their hand. 

Of course, before a customer experience can be improved, it must be understood. This starts with a mapping of the current customer experience and a clear understanding of how consumers interact with healthcare brands and make decisions concerning healthcare treatments. More importantly, it requires an in-depth understanding by each health condition.  People who make healthcare treatments for allergy medications, for example, are not going to spend as much time online looking for health information as people who have more serious health problems like diabetes.

Idea in chalkboard with yellow chalk

What does consumerization of the healthcare industry mean for pharma companies and DTC marketing?  It means that rather than pushing scientific label information to consumers pharma marketers need to laser target audiences with messages that are relevant to THEM not to their marketing decks.  It also means they need to give consumers really good reasons to consider their products beyond “it works”.  Finally, it means that they need to listen to what consumers are saying about their brands, health conditions and treatment options.


Pharma companies that become more consumer centric are going to reap the rewards, but it won’t be easy.  There will be legal and regulatory hurdles and it will involve some risk.  However, what they need to determine is “can we afford to let our current marketing become more and more irrelevant to our audience?”