Seth Godin's blog post today on marketing started with the following provocative question (Seth's good at that): Are consumers responsible for the behavior of marketers?
Ours certainly are.
de Toqueville once said that "If it's a democracy, people get the advertising they deserve."
David Ogilvy said, "Clients get the advertising they deserve."
And in our business, patients get the marketing they deserve.
Relationship marketing — what we do, as if you couldn't guess — is all about establishing an ongoing relationship between the consumer and the brand. Although we enjoy our work, we don't do this for fun. We do this because in healthcare, adherence is a huge problem.
Up to 50% of patients stop taking the drugs they need within 120 days of it being prescribed. And this isn't because of cost, at least not entirely. It's because particularly with chronic conditions, patients don't see any kind of improvement as a result of taking their meds. And taking the meds is a pain. Sometimes literally, as with diabetes injections, and sometimes it's just one too many hassles for them.
And patients are human. So they fall off the medication wagon. Which is bad for them, and bad for us.
Patients deserve to get better. They deserve to get the full benefit of the hundreds of millions of dollars that went into developing the drug. They deserve to have all the benefits of their treatment.
Pharmaceutical marketing used to be considered the opposite of treatment. Now, it's becoming more and more apparent that particularly with respect to chronic conditions, they're all part of the same continum. After the patient's diagnoses, and a treatment's prescribed, the process is just beginning. The patient has to accept the diagnosis and the change in their situation. They have to integrate the treatment into their lives, and their self-image. And they have to KEEP AT IT.
Our job is to understand what motivates them at every step, and to tune our marketing in to that so the marketing we deliver resonates with the patient, and helps them to stick with their therapy, and ultimately, to get better.
That's what they deserve.