Marketers must embrace the connected patient

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Change is here. Not around the corner…it has turned the corner, moved into the fast lane without signaling and dropped it into overdrive. The driver is the hyper connected patient. Industries that play the role of the cane-laden octogenarian mid-crosswalk are bound to be flattened and left behind bleeding.

The brave will embrace what doctors, patients and caregivers are already doing. They have not really changed what they do, just how they do it. They still write, shop, read and become educated. They still share, socialize and provide support. The difference is they now do it in such a compact and distilled way that fluff becomes obvious, intolerable and irrelevant. They are now smarter then the marketer.

The brave have stopped pretending that the old rules apply and are reinventing how they make healthcare brands relevant. Pharma needs to tap the courage in their corporate DNA, and take the first of many steps that will pave the way for a new communications paradigm.

The biggest challenge will be trust. Regaining and maintaining trust that has long suffered from blows landed by the irresponsible actions and efforts of a few.

So how do we regain that trust? We start small, deliver real value through the wonder of technology and let the basic actions and instincts of the human condition take over. The “Faberge Effect”: then they told two friends, and so on and so on. The movement of empowered e-patients who already turn to the web for more then just a re-jiggered TV spot will applaud.

Here are three absolutes:
1) Healthcare marketers must be driven by digital innovation, not fluff strategy providing band-aids, spit and glue. This will happen through collaboration with service providers that are a new breed, and you need to choose wisely.

2) Everyone wants consumable treatment and device information. We need to deliver more engaging education in formats that will actually be consumed. Print and TV can't do that…the web does.

3) Social media will drive a groundswell of patient support, peer-influence and compliance through behavior changing applications created by the new breed of healthcare marketing companies that make a major change to their competency and delivery model while keeping “health” and “care” first.  

The result of these absolutes will be trust. In this new world of pro-active consumer influence having such impact on business, that trust will drive directly to the bottom line. Trust me.

DJ Edgerton is CEO, Zemoga; co-founder, www.pixelsandpills.com

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