Category: Healthcare Marketing Research

“Hazardous” Yes and No Questions

Check this out. What you will see is a great riff by a psychiatrist on how hazardous yes and no questions can be to a relationship. Or even to a conversation.  So many times when you get a curt yes/no response, what the responder actually means is “Yes (or no), but…..”

The plot thickens. Ask a person a series of yes/no questions, and the thought process behind the answers becomes more and more stilted. And more and more information gets left on the table.

AND. It is fairly easy to see that repeatedly being subjected to that kind of prosecutorial questioning can have a negative effect on interpersonal relationships. 

Over the course of my 50-year career collecting information from physicians for my pharmaceutical company clients, I have increasingly moved from “interviews” to “conversations” for exactly the reasons talked about in this article. Only by using phrases like Dr. Adelman is recommending (“Talk to me about….” “Catch me up on…” “I’m all ears”) can we understand the whole story that the discussant wants to share with us. Only by using these phrases can we understand the salience of individual themes to the discussant. What comes up first? What gets talked about the longest? And by listening carefully to the story being told, we can also understand its overall emotionality, as well as the emotions engendered by various parts of the story. 

Bottom Line. If you really want to understand what someone is thinking, don’t ask them questions. Let them talk!

Can Physicians Change Vaccine Hesitant Patients’ Minds??? Nah!!!

Check this out. What you will see is some mildly interesting stuff concerning telehealth. Skip over that and go to the section on VACCINE HESITANCY. 

There you will find some interesting numbers. More specifically, you will see that 52% of physicians believe that they need 2-3 conversations with patients to change their minds about vaccinations, BUT 67% of physicians believe that most patients’ minds can’t be changed. 

Put together, these numbers would support what I have been telling our On Doctors’ MindsSM subscribers based on my recent conversations with physicians, and that I also noted in a recent post.  That is, almost a year into vaccine availability, many doctors are largely giving up on evangelizing the COVID-19 vaccines with the unvaccinated. Why? In summary, they see time spent on these efforts as wasted, and they simply don’t have the time to waste. Put another way, doctors believe that anybody who hasn’t gotten vaccinated after a year is not likely to do so in the near future, no matter what their HCP says.

Bottom Line. The plot thickens. It should be noted that with the approval of new booster protocols and pediatric vaccinations, this whole dance is going to start up all over again. 

My bet? People that are already “fully vaccinated” should be ready to get their third shot. No problem.

On the other hand, how people will feel about getting their munchkins vaccinated will be interesting to watch. New objections? Same old? We shall see! 


Check this out. What you will see is an interesting piece on “How to Choose an Agile Market Research Healthcare Vendor”.

I’m not going to comment too much on this piece. I just want you to think about the concept of “agile,” and where and when it might be important. And how important it might be in choosing a marketing research “vendor.” Focus in especially on the first criterion offered up. i.e., “speed-to-insight.” I have thought a lot about the definition presented here, i.e., speed to project completion, which is sort of the underlying theme of the whole piece. 

Bottom Line. Are there times when it is important to get a project done mach schnell? Hell, yes! BUT.  In an increasingly complex world, how important is speed in comparison to accuracy? Or brilliance? Or actionability? Or…..?

Think about it!

Multifactorial Obesity

Check this out. What you will see is a reminder to physicians of the variety of psychological, social, and environmental factors that cannot only contribute to patients developing obesity, but as importantly, to their failure to comply with a treatment plan. 

And the explanation here is very well worded. The factors listed above don’t, at the most fundamental level, really cause obesity and treatment failure. Rather, they “…can trigger existing genetic substrates to promote obesity.” That’s different. Evolutionary Psychology (Go read this book!) teaches us that thousands of years ago, our ancestors on the savannah who learned to “calorie pack” were more likely to survive in a food-scarce environment, and thus more likely to pass those genes down to us today. When triggered, the behavior caused by these genes can cause obesity that is extremely unhealthy and difficult to modify.

Bottom Line. As I continue to ply my trade of marketing research, I have become increasingly convinced of the importance of learning to understand the layers of what I call the Behavior Pyramid. For example, most pharmaceutical marketing research focuses on physician prescribing “decisions.” But very few behaviors are actually based on decisions. Dig a little deeper, and you will find that most behavior is the result of habits. Look one more layer down, as in obesity, and you will find the impact of genetics.

Yup. Understanding these layers is important to physicians treating obesity, and to those of us who study these doctors!

The Dangers Of “Patient Satisfaction”

No, I am not saying that having satisfied patients is dangerous. That’s silly. Or is it? Check this out. Last week, we talked about the dangers of “rating” in medicine. How chasing good ratings can get in the way of a doctor’s delivering quality medical care. Today, we zoom in on a special case of this phenomenon. In this post, you see a report that telemedicine doctors who prescribe antibiotics for patients with colds obtain much higher patient satisfaction ratings than doctors who don’t prescribe such unneeded drugs. A couple of thoughts come to mind. The first of which is “DUH, of course they do.” I didn’t really show up at a telemedicine portal, credit card duly charged, to be told that a prescription won’t help, and I should wait quietly for tincture of time to cure my cold. $50 please!!! More generally, ThinkGen Advisory Board member Neale Martin, Ph.D. has demonstrated conclusively that “customer satisfaction” is a measure that should not be used in most circumstances because it is not a reliable or valid predictor of behavior. While most behaviors are driven by habit and/or emotion, satisfaction questions tap into the “executive mind” where few decisions are actually made. Bottom Line. Actually, two bottom lines here. First, we should stop doing satisfaction survey research of any kind. While it looks and sounds important, it really isn’t. Second and more importantly, we should stop putting physicians in a position where they have to practice bad medicine in order to get good satisfaction ratings and keep their jobs.

The End Of The World As We Know It?

RFL I very much value Bob Lederer’s daily video updates on the world of marketing research. I don’t miss many of them. I have repeatedly suggested that you watch all of them yourselves, but recognizing your time limitations, I try to call out ones that I find especially important, and here is one of those. In this video, Bob reports that several major consumer packaged goods companies have slashed their marketing research staffs in a cost cutting effort prompted by poor financial performance. Whoops! When the likes of General Mills cuts its staff of professionals on whom they have notoriously depended throughout its history, some fairly poignant meanings can be inferred. Has, Bob wonders aloud, marketing research lost its “seat at the table?” Is the ability of marketing research to contribute to the bottom line rather than detract from it being fundamentally questioned? Bottom Line. I’m going with “yes” as an answer to both of these questions. I’ve long believed that in the era of “Present Shock,” marketing research doesn’t have the power that it had when Toffler’s “Future Shock” was a best seller. Things are moving too fast to rely on yesterday’s survey research, and “Big Data” might not be the turbocharger of selling cereal that management might have hoped. Watch the video, and think about whether the days of MR as we have known it are numbered.

The World Is Now Awash…

zdoggmd in musical/medical parodies. Many of them are produced by practicing physicians or medical students. Like this one, from our old friend zdoggmd. Each of them has a message. Here? Prevent readmissions! Bottom Line. All of these parodies provide important insights into the thought processes of the doctors involved. Their considerations. And, their concerns. Their terminology. I’m thinking that this is a rather important, cost-effective new marketing research methodology.

Micromarketing Revisited

PMI Some of you may recall that a few decades ago, I was in a joint venture with Medco. Remember? It was called Physician Micromarketing Inc. At PMI, I used the Medical Marketing Group’s individual physician level prescribing database to institute “Call Guidance” at a number of major pharmaceutical companies. I preached that Call Guidance had three levels. Level I was good old-fashioned targeting based on prescribing volume. Levels II and III added media mix optimization and threw in guidance as to the message to be employed. Only problem was, this was all prior to the advent of the digital age. Remember hard copy “Visual Aids?” Since iPads hadn’t been invented yet, one of my clients went slightly overboard with these customized “detail pieces.” For one detailing cycle, they had their Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives’ trunks filled with over 140 separate sales aids. The rep had to pick and choose among them based on a target physician’s call guidance profile for each of the products that was going to be detailed on a particular call. Needless to say, this system was not very popular with that company’s reps! Scroll forward. Literally. Read this article and you can see that Call Guidance has now been reborn, and digitally empowered, under the Customer Relationship Manner banner. Predictive analytics are employed to help less experienced PSR’s learn from their more experienced colleagues. Interesting stuff. I think the philosophy of sales-approach customization was right when I preached it, and is still right today. HOWEVER. One big challenge remains. ZS Associates, one of the partners in this venture, publishes an annual report on Physician Access. Guess what? The percentage of doctors willing (or able, if they are employees being told what to do) to see PSR’s continues to drop. AND. HCP’s are increasingly likely to want to dictate the length and the nature of any “sales” interaction that they do permit. Bottom Line. Predictive analytics work well in the hands of such marketing giants as Amazon. They are really good at making recommendations, based on my past purchases, that cause still more “happy boxes” to show up on my doorstep. But how well will this approach work in the healthcare marketing sphere? Will this work better than “Closed Loop” marketing, a previous fad where a physician’s own response patterns to previous presentations helped to customize the next digital presentation the doctor got to see? Time will tell!

A Hopelessly Self-Serving Announcement!

Unleashed For several months now, the rbV3 website has been showing a count down clock set to expire at Midnight on June 30, 2013.  Why?  What is going to happen on July 1???  Today is July 1, and I am excited to announce my next venture:  rbV3 Unleashed!!!  Beginning today, we will make healthcare marketing research more than it’s ever been before. We take it out of the “same old” mindset and into the future.  Bottom Line. Check out our Web Site for more details on what’s going on.