Category: Healthcare marketing

If You Think It Works…

Scientific American A recent study has found that the placebo effect for analgesics has gotten stronger in recent years. BUT, this finding has only been seen in America. Picture the impact of this on clinical trials. If you are a company trying to get a new analgesic product approved, you are having a harder and harder time beating out sugar pills. Bottom Line. Why? It has been hypothesized that Americans, who are the only patients in the world subjected to an ongoing barrage of DTC commercials for analgesics, have become brainwashed to believe that if they take a pill, any pill, that is purported to relieve pain, it will work. Except for the impact of this belief on clinical trials, this might not be such a bad thing! Think about it!

More Semantics

Suneel Dhand In my previous blog, I talked about the importance of semantics in determining the balance between physician clinical judgment and patient inputs. Here’s another physician commenting on the importance of words. “Doctor,” he elaborates at some length in this post, is a term with denotations and connotations that are important in the delivery of medical care. Likewise “Physician.” Much is lost, he argues, when doctors allow themselves to be referred to as “providers,” “prescribers,” etc. Bottom Line. Quite simply, Dr. Dhand believes that physicians should push back on semantic abuse. How? By informing those developing computer systems, telephone menus and other media that they will no longer stand for being peripheralized in the name of equality and political correctness. I think he makes a good point!


Seth Godin Sort of amazing, really. Seth Godin has been writing about Permission Marketing for 15 years now, and advertisers are still spending gazillions of dollars a year buying advertising time and space for jingles and noise. BUT. As Seth notes in this blog, technology is increasingly making it possible, even effortless, to block out ads in many media. “Fast forwarding” past commercials. Refusing to see Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives. And yes, patients are doing it, doctors are doing it, everybody is doing it. Bottom Line. Note the fundamental Permission Marketing “building blocks” that Seth restates at the end of the blog. Heeding these words of wisdom will increasingly be what it takes to avoid getting “blocked.” Importantly, please note that these building blocks haven’t changed in the past 15 years that Seth has been writing about Permission Marketing and I have been talking about his writings. More importantly, note that these principles are not likely to change in the next 15 years either. I guess marketers may as well get used to these principles and begin to act as if these building blocks are gospel. They are!

Permission Marketing!

Cover Here is a new white paper that will help you to avoid chaos in your email campaigns. Peruse it. File it for future reference. As with the majority of resources that I commend to you, the price ($0) is right. As you ponder these helpful hints, remember Seth Godin, the father of “permission marketing.” Seth is the one who taught us that unless you have the customers’/prospects’ permission to communicate to them, your marketing will be perceived as an “interruption.” It will be ignored and/or rejected. Bottom Line. This white paper describes how to optimize personalization and other procedures for rising above the noise level in your prospects’ email boxes. It will be wise for you to consider the hints provided to be techniques to earn your prospects’ permission to continue communicating.   Otherwise, the hints are just tricks and will get you nowhere.

Question: How Many Kardashians Does It Take To Get A Pharmaceutical Company In Trouble???

Kardashians Answer. Apparently 1.5. Check out this recent post that discusses how Kim’s Instagram of the announcement of her “partnership” with a pharmaceutical company that manufactures pills for morning sickness, from which she has suffered, has gotten the company into regulatory hot water with the FDA. No fair balance discussion of side effects, etc., were to be found in her giggly little blurb. Interesting that this Social Media tactic tried to parlay off the “celebrity” phenomenon we discussed in a recent blog, but sort of missed some basic hygiene factors. Like being compliant with FDA guidelines. Bottom Line. Duh! I’m thinking that maybe a little drug company like Duchesnay couldn’t see this one coming. But all of the major pharmaceutical companies would know better. Wouldn’t they?

This Has Nothing To Do With Anything

People BUT. I think you will find it sort of interesting. Go take this quick quiz. Okay, you won’t find the questions themselves very interesting. What I think you will find informative, however, is the percentage of people in varying demographic categories who know virtually nothing about current events. Bottom Line. More generally, note the simplicity of the quiz taking system. The smooth interface, the standardized question format, the instant knowledge of your results vs. those of the “average Joe (Josephine).” Elegant! I compare the few minutes of enjoyment that it took me to take this test with the frustrating experience of completing some customer satisfaction questionnaires (the worst was from Jaguar!) which had the unanticipated (?) consequence of converting me into a dissatisfied customer. Marketing researchers can learn a lot from this!


Seth Godin As always, this thought kernel from Seth Godin is both simple and profound. Why, he asks, do we feel that toast is so much more special than bread? Warm, especially made for me, and ephemeral (cold toast is not really toast anymore!) are answers that he offers up. Bottom Line. Seth concludes the short piece by asking an important question. What, he ponders, are the valued elements of “toast” that can be incorporated into our products and services? Think about it!

Pediatric Digital Health???

Pediatirc Let’s face it. When we say “Digital Health,” we usually are talking about neurotic adults with smartphones. But what about the kids? An upcoming conference is going to focus on them.  More specifically, the “impactpediatric health pitch competition” will allow entrepreneurs with startup ideas in this space to make their case for investments in front of four leading U.S. children’s hospitals. Here are some finalists. Go check it out, including the sponsors and the meeting context in which it is being held. Bottom Line. Duh! I hadn’t previously thought much about the different market segments for Digital Health. Kids are sure different enough in this regard to constitute their own segment.  But how many other meaningful segments are there? Old/Young? Men/Women? Do we segment by race? By socio-economic status?  Market segmentation is always important. How will it work in Digital Health?

The $$$ Value of Word Of Mouth (WOM)

Word of Mouth We always knew that having people say good things about your product was a good thing. But what was the actual, quantitative value of WOM? This report provides that answer. More specifically, it gives us insights like WOM drives 13% of consumer sales. And in the supposed age of social media, two thirds of this effect is still accomplished by offline WOM. To get an overall picture of the findings of the landmark study on WOM, click on the infographic at the site, or go put in a request to download the entire report. Maybe you will even want to join the WOMMA and/or get their communications. Bottom Line. WOM is demonstrably a big deal. And it is a different kind of deal than traditional marketing/advertising.  We need to pay more attention! 

It Will Take You Three Seconds….

Hispanic Health Market Go to this page, click the download button, fill in the three pieces of required information and receive this great report. Free! In it, you will find important information about:
  • The fact that the insured Hispanic marketing is rapidly growing, especially with the advent of Obamacare.
  • The economics of the Hispanic Market. In 2011, less than 1% of pharmaceutical advertising was directed at this market segment, despite the fact that it is the largest and fastest growing minority.
  • The epidemiology of Hispanics. Hint: it’s different than it is with Anglo’s! For example, Hispanics have a higher incidence of injuries, e.g., burns, getting shot, etc. They also have strokes at a younger age than Anglo’s do.
Bottom Line. The real focus of the piece is “cultural competence.” Putting together communications that actually speak to this population segment. My favorite quote from the report in this regard states simply: Putting everything in Spanish isn’t the answer. Go learn what the answer actually is!