How mobile will revolutionize pharma marketing

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The mobile phone has grown into a remote control for our lives. It's an always on, multichannel interactive device. The most ubiquitous consumer electronics device the world has ever seen is also intensely insinuated into the fabric of our lives. There are currently more than 3 billion cell phones in the world, and users are different too; we are way beyond the early adopters as advances in technology and design have opened up the market to all customer segments and demographics.

The carriers have matured, what wireless company doesn't now have a 3G network? And, while Apple has somewhat blazed the trail here, BlackBerry, Microsoft, Google, Nokia or the Palm Pre all foretell the ever more sophisticated services that are about to emerge. Consider the success of the Apple App Store, users have now downloaded more than 1 billion applications from the store—a 60% increase in two months. The number of apps available for download has now surpassed 25,000, more than 1,500 of which are related to health and wellness.
 
What does this mean for pharma marketing? The relationship that consumers form with the only truly personal communication device is unique; people develop far closer attachment to their mobile devices than to their home PCs or laptops. It is this very special mix of the trust and dependency that consumers feel in relation to their mobile devices that make it the ideal channel to use to communicate anything of a personal nature.

It is this device intimacy that provides pharmas with unrivaled possibilities to symbiotically marry marketing and utility to create personalized messaging.

Useful mobile marketing that can be deployed by pharmas might include adherence applications. The Pill Phone, an FDA approved application to provide SMS reminders to take the medication, track compliance and replenishment is a great example. There are others, imagine a “tell me more” SMS short code on a package or ad for a product which would allow consumers to instantly get related information. Sensors are now being incorporated into iPhone accessories to measure such factors as blood sugar levels for diabetes.

Five things to keep in mind:
  1. More than ever, be relevant.
  2. Use the channel to start conversations, not blast messages
  3. Mobile marketing can lead a multichannel approach.
  4. Go beyond SMS, no other channel allows such personalized interactions.
  5. Focus on the patient value exchange.
Let the revolution begin…

Mark Taylor is managing partner at Rosetta
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