How pharma marketers are using behavioral science



New technology has shifted the marketing paradigm from one-way messaging and simple reminders paired with education efforts to a new set of tools including gamification, augmented and virtual reality, and online interventions tailored to individual patients. Designed right, these advances stand to have a more meaningful impact: helping foster long-term behavior change to support brand objectives.

And it's not just marketers who are recognizing that shift. Medical associations, too, are starting to better grasp the importance of addressing patients' behavior in improving health outcomes. The American Diabetes Association, in its new 2017 standards of medical care, included new guidelines on the importance of addressing patients' psychosocial needs while also looking at traditional health needs.

See also: 4 trends with the potential to change behavior in the patient journey

But more can be done. Most companies still don't allot enough of their budget to create long-term behavior change in patients. When habits can sometimes take as long as a year to form, that's a recipe for relapse, according to behavioral health psychologist D'Arcy King, EVP and chief strategy officer of Daggerwing Health.

“It's about long-term sustained behavior change,” she affirmed. “That's what is missing in many cases. We don't necessarily give programs enough time to work or see success or even measurable results coming out of them.”

And while programs with life-long goals sound nice on paper, clients need to demonstrate ROI on quarterly timelines. The key? Helping patients with chronic diseases prioritize disease management so it becomes automatic behavior and then recognize that connection, King added.

See also: 3 Lessons on Behavior Change from Pokémon Go

“It's hard for patients to say each day, ‘I will take this on and I will win,' because then they burn out,” she explained. “It goes back to, as a patient, ‘What are my priorities?' And for many who succeed in managing their disease, it's about prioritizing their condition in incremental ways so they have a better quality of life.”

This eBook, spanning both HCP and consumer campaigns, elucidates how pharma marketers can leverage behavioral health learnings to help create that connection for patients. You'll find four case studies detailing how drugmakers and their marketing agencies use behavioral change techniques — such as reframing, social learning, problem solving, and others — to keep patients adherent to their treatment regimen, better communicate their symptoms, and reinforce healthy behaviors. And on later pages, six industry leaders share their thoughts on the pharma sector's progress in making behavioral science a key part of the marketing equation.

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