Matt Connor
Mar 17, 2011

Five things you need to know about healthcare marketing

Matt Connor, APAC regional director of Wunderman World Health based in Shanghai, points out five key things you need to know about data-driven, patient-centric healthcare marketing in Asia.

Matt Connor, APAC regional director of Wunderman World Health, Shanghai
Matt Connor, APAC regional director of Wunderman World Health, Shanghai

1. Data is vastly underleveraged. Insight- and data-driven relationship marketing, as well as performance-based optimisation, is very much in its infancy in APAC.

To date, the traditional model of PR and professional marketing has prevailed but in today’s highly dynamic world of healthcare, in which the internet, technology and social media are democratising the distribution and access to health-related information, past practises are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

This includes social media listening platforms to monitor patient conversations and understand their unmet needs; shared databases to allow patients and doctors permission-based access to personal health information; ongoing, open-field dialogues with patients to deepen trust, enhance understanding, and drive more tailored and relevant messages; and content that focuses on lifestyle and life stage needs rather than product.

2. The traditional focus on therapy has become myopic for business. APAC governments are contending with legacy policies that are no longer financially viable, or, in the case of China, investing substantially in improving the quality and ubiquity of delivering healthcare services.

What they all share is a keen interest in moving away from therapy focus to one on improving long-term health outcomes for patients while driving down overall costs.

This new paradigm puts the patient at the center of what has often been the contentious dynamic among the needs of the HCP community, healthcare delivery systems, payer formularies and government reform measures. It requires data capture and analysis to provide the common thread stitching the various constituencies together.

3. Patient centricity is creating a new generation of patients. Certain countries in Asia, such as Japan and South Korea, have long been defined by the unassailable role of doctors in making prescribing and treatment decisions.

The internet has eliminated the information asymmetry that once defined the patient/ doctor relationship and is engendering greater consumer empowerment - be it among younger patients or caregivers for the growing elderly population - to more fully participate in their healthcare decisions.

Digital is also demanding greater transparency from pharma in communicating with a more sophisticated audience.

4. Failure of treatment, driven by failure to communicate, is now open for conversation. Doctors are quickly emerging as the central figure in the newly developing world of dynamic treatment intervention. Mobile technology is enabling real-time interventions - facilitated by Bluetooth-enabled devices such as blood glucose monitors - between doctors and their patients struggling to manage chronic diseases like diabetes.

5. Good things come to those who don’t wait. It’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when. Who will emerge within the pharma industry as the innovators in bringing everyday technology and the extraordinary power of data together to offer acclimation, compliance and persistency programmes that will truly impact patient behaviour?

It will be the courageous visionaries willing to test the waters of change, or at least agree to some simple A/ B or multi-variant testing to validate content, messaging and presentation of new programmes, new technologies and new approaches.

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