Vantage Point

Share this article:
The best sales messages are relevant and address customers' needs. But how does a brand team create such messages if they don't understand who their customers (patients) are?

Firms in other industries are light years ahead of most pharmas in knowing their customers, creating customer segments, and then coordinating marketing programs. Those industries, though, don't have to abide by strict privacy laws such as HIPAA and can collect plenty of information on consumers.

However, technology exists to overcome the hurdles associated with healthcare privacy restrictions. In fact, over 10 years ago the first methods for taking a patient's information and converting it into a de-identified patient key, or algorithm, were developed.

Over time, use of that technology has grown more sophisticated. Today, patient activity is tracked over time and across sites: pharmacies, physician offices, hospitals and labs. Patient key technology is applied to expand what is known about patients that can't be found on standard healthcare claims. Altogether we know more than ever about patients' healthcare behavior and what factors influence their choices.

With all of this information, more complete segmentation models can be created in which each customer group looks and acts differently. Brand teams can then develop more influential and relevant sales messages based on the characteristics of patients in each segment and what drives their behavior.

In today's challenging economic environment, as pressure to produce positive ROI is intense and budgets are tight, brand teams should be taking advantage of all available patient information to reap the biggest bang from their marketing bucks.

Melissa Leonhauser is director, strategic marketing, at SDI
Share this article:
You must be a registered member of MMM to post a comment.

Next Article in Vantage Point

Email Newsletters

MM&M Future Leaders

Register now

Early bird $1,950 before 31 October 2014

*Group discounts available on request 


Patient access to pharmaceuticals is a tale of two worlds—affordability has improved for the majority, while the minority is hampered by cost, distribution and red tape. To provide marketers with a well-rounded perspective, MM&M presents this e-book chock full of key insights. Click here to access it.

More in Vantage Point

Vantage Point: Payers—the "experts" in healthcare research

Vantage Point: Payers—the "experts" in healthcare research

Access to payers is about knowledge, about understanding what they do in their jobs

Vantage Point: Determining "fair market value"

Vantage Point: Determining "fair market value"

Should pharma formulate a super matrix to determine the FMV of research incentives?

Vantage Point: Marketing Support for Clinical Trials

Vantage Point: Marketing Support for Clinical Trials

Pharmaceutical companies must provide robust marketing support for their clinical trials