Vantage Point: Ringing in the new market

Richard Vanderveer
Richard Vanderveer

In many ways, 2013 has seen greater recognition of basic changes in our space.  One example can be seen by examining Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives. With 80% of US prescriptions being filled generically, and with formularies and the standardized treatment protocols being promulgated by Accountable Care Organizations reducing prescriber discretion, the impact of PSRs and the samples they delivered has been diminished.

My prediction:  In 2014, the “new healthcare marketing” will become more discontinuous from the old.  The markers indicate that 200-300 fully integrated networks will soon provide most US medical care. In this market, companies will have little need for traditional activities such as sales, marketing and marketing research. Product use will be driven by evidence of value, not promotion.

What's left for those of us in healthcare marketing and marketing research to do?  Plenty! Look for us to move toward:

• Working to refocus healthcare on “wellness,” rather than on “sickness.”
• Replacing blind “patient compliance” as a desired outcome with informed “patient engagement.”
• Using integrated networks of digital “apps” to help us to accomplish the patient engagement goal.
• Drawing on “Behavioral Economics” and “Health Psychology” to replace creative art with science.
• Cooperating with providers to analyze “Big Data” to inform diagnostic and treatment decisions.
• Replacing traditional marketing research “studies” with ongoing Insight Communities.
• Eliminating the traditional barrier between “clinical” and “marketing.”

Personally, I am excited by these challenges and opportunities.  I hope you are, too.

Richard Vanderveer is chief solutions officer, rbv3.