Providing value beyond the pill in pharma marketing

We have entered a new era that affords Rx marketers opportunities to achieve ROI “beyond the pill” by providing value-added programs and services. Twenty years ago, value-added programs focused mainly on managed care organizations in the form of “disease state management” content and services. Then, Rx marketers began experimenting, investing and evaluating programs designed to provide brand stakeholders value beyond the specific product. These programs are often referred to as support, relationship management, loyalty or retention. Generally speaking, these “pills plus” programs have been evaluated based on how well they enhance TRx versus the campaign-based acquisition efforts designed to drive near-term NRx. Compared to acquisition programs, these programs focus mainly on extending length of therapy and retaining an existing customer. However, when compared separately to acquisition campaign investments, many of these programs are viewed to be expensive, with high production costs, higher fulfillment costs and unclear ROI.

Today, “pills plus” can, and should, mean so much more—Rx marketers are beginning to see the opportunity in providing value-added programs as a focal point for differentiating the brand and developing trust among  brand stakeholders alike. The payoff for marketers? A more sustainable relationship with brand stakeholders that involves high levels of transaction with less investment on acquisition campaigns. With this change Rx marketers must move from a model focused heavily on achieving the lowest cost of acquisition to one that also establishes strong value-added programs that enhance trust among brand stakeholders.

What's changed? Why do marketers need to adapt now? The answer is that digital channels and social media have caused changes to the fundamental way that stakeholders interact with brands, their expectations of brands and ultimately the role of marketing in today's world. As Augie Ray, senior analyst at Forrester cites in his recent blog post, “2010: The Year Marketing Dies,” “the role of the new marketer is profoundly changing—it's no longer about running campaign after campaign to persuade and drive transactions.”

Lisa Flaiz is VP strategic growth & innovation at imc2 health & wellness
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