They’re my patients

mypatientsWhile talking to a product manager at a biotech company I noticed a hand written letter pinned up on her office wall.  When I started to read it I saw that it was from a patient who was wrote to say “thank you” for the product that she works on.  “I keep that letter there to remind me of what’s really important here.  People like her sometimes get lost in all the meetings and maze of getting things done”.  Amen !

It’s easy to forget that our primary focus should be on our customers or patients and that looking at ourselves through their eyes is how we should approach marketing.  In fact a recent Forbes magazine marketing insight indicated that marketers’ priorities are now more customer-centric.  More than half (52%) cited customer retention as their top current priority, followed by customer acquisition (38%), and customer profitability (29%). These will remain top priorities a year from now as drug development is getting harder and more expensive.


The biopharma industry has not really focused too much time or effort in customer retention (compliance & adherence).  In most drug sales models they assume that a patients will stay on medications for a specified amount of time before dropping off generating a certain amount of revenue.

The reasons that patients stop taking their medications is both complex and irrational at times.   It cannot be solved by just one initiative it has be solved through a multichannel multifaceted behavioral with the patient.  In other words it’s going to require both time and effort. However, when a patients stops taking his/her medication we all loose.

I am a big believer in listening to patients and customers.  No, I am not talking through focus groups, I am talking about using channels like social media or patient community groups.  The excuse “we don’t have the time” is pure BS because services like Nielsen offer services that can compile what people are saying about your brand or around a certain health condition.   Once we understand what they are saying and identify needs we need to respond faster with magnetic content that not only answers their questions but answers it in a tone like a friend talking to a friend.


They’re my patients and every time we reach out to one and win them over we not only build brand equity we learn that we can in fact make a difference one person at a time.  Remember people want to be treated as people not market segments.

3 thoughts on “They’re my patients

  1. Pingback: They’re my patients | Pharma Marketer

  2. Good point, Richard… every patient is an individual human being as ourselves, and even if pertains to a similar group, when it comes to approach and talk with him/her, the ‘group’ should disappear for a while, and we focuse our attention on the individual (and relatives) in front of us… Let’s talk in ‘market language’ among us, not with patients. Regards, Tulio Cimerilli, MD.

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