Category: Marketing Strategy

How Healthcare Professionals Should Handle Negative PR

Actually, let’s make that catastrophic PR. Like resulted at a couple of fertility clinics a few weeks ago when they allowed thousands of frozen embryos and eggs to defrost. Check out this piece. This brief post offers four key principles in dealing with negative PR in the healthcare world. You can watch the video, read the transcript, or both. Either way, what you will see is common sense, but unfortunately common sense that is often forgotten when the poo hits the fan. Lawyers, for example, often tell their clients (soon to be defendants!) to shut up in the face of negative PR. Wrong! We often believe that the negative publicity facing another organization like ours won’t catch up to us innocent bystanders and paint us with the same brush as the guilty party. Wrong again!! AND. Healthcare organizations faced with negative PR often try to come off as cold and clinical, failing to include sincere empathy as a component of their communications program. Totally wrong!!! Bottom Line. Fertility clinics are not the only organizations that can face negative PR. Pharmaceutical companies, consulting groups, and so forth can certainly have the same problem. Maybe we should all internalize the four communications principles laid out in this piece and keep them handy if the tom toms suddenly start to beat out bad things about us and our organization.

Abbvie’s “There for Them” Genius

Go watch this commercial. Brilliant! Rather than focusing on what Irritable Bowel Disease does to the patient, it focuses on family members who get left behind, alone, while the IBD patient runs off to the bathroom. Note that this marketing ploy is divided into two parts. First is the commercial you see here. No voice over. No brand. That all comes in the follow-up commercial. Bottom Line. As 2017 once again saw a significant rise in DTC TV spend, it will be interesting to see if this creative, but expensive, new approach will rise above the clutter to yield a good return on investment. Stay tuned!

Customer Relationships???

Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 12.24.58 PM My digital media guru has assured me that one of the worst things I can do to attract daily readership for my blogs is to use question marks in the title. BUT. I can’t help myself. The more I sit back and study our industry, the more questions I have about how things really work. Take for example this webinar. It is going to tell us how to “Make Digital Work,” with “virtual engagement” leading to strengthened “customer relationships.” So, I have two fundamental questions about how all of this happens. More specifically, I want to know what “engagement” looks like when it is accomplished virtually. How do we measure it? What does it buy us? Relatedly, I need to know what we mean by “customer relationships.” How do we measure them? In what situations are they important? What do they buy us? Bottom Line. Yeah, I know.  It has always been taken as a given that having a good relationship with your customer is really important. My guess is that this is sometimes true, and sometimes not. In any event, I have signed up for this webinar and will listen carefully. While I believe that the speakers will do a great job on the “how to” part of all of this, I will be listening most attentively to the discussion of “why?” and “so what?” Care to join me?


EpiPen small Or is it just business as usual? Check out this article. What you will see is the suggestion that EpiPen’s falling revenue stream in 2017 can be interpreted as  “pricing scandal bites back.” Maybe. Or. Perhaps it is just what happens when a well-priced generic hits the market. Such entries of generic equivalents for market brand leaders are typically followed, as we know all too well, by what the Mylan CEO amusingly describes as “accelerated deceleration” of the branded product’s sales. Bottom Line.  Do we really believe that physicians and/or patients actually want to get back at Mylan for their scandalous behavior, or do we think that doctors, patients and formularies simply want a more attractively priced alternative? I’m guessing probably a little bit of each. What do you think?

Customer Loyalty

  Chewy Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 6.43.03 PM   Sadly, the oldest of our three Havanese dogs went across the rainbow bridge yesterday morning, helped on the journey by our wonderful veterinarian. Bailey was 14 years old and had a very good life. Bladder cancer and old age brought on his demise. We are very sad, but still have his two “brothers” who are only a couple of years old. Hopefully we will not be doing this again soon. BUT. That is not the point of the story. The day before we went for THE final visit to the vet, my wife had called to see if she could return an unopened case of Bailey’s dog food, explaining the circumstances for the request. The sympathetic lady at Chewy told her that there was no need to return the food. Our account would be credited, and we could donate the food to the local shelter. A very kind gesture in and of itself. But there is more. No sooner had we returned from the vet and crematorium than the doorbell rang. It was the delivery of the arrangement of flowers pictured above, accompanied by the personalized and heart felt note, sent to us by Chewy. To say that we were very touched would be a significant understatement. Moved would be closer to the mark. Bottom Line. I regularly see articles and seminars that promise that they will teach us how to achieve customer loyalty. Think about it. It is not that hard. Approach customers when they are in a heightened emotional state, and do something simply amazing, both simple and amazing, like Chewy did for us. Have we been longstanding customers of Chewy? Sure. Going forward, would I ever consider buying a pet product from another company? Not on your life! OH. And will my wife and I tell 100’s of other people about this act of kindness from this wonderful company?  We’ve already started! That’s!

The Mind Boggles!!!

EpiPen Check out this piece. Apparently, all it takes is a good pricing scandal to get a competitor for EpiPen to market. I know that the URL above only gets you to the first paragraph of the WSJ article unless you are a subscriber. BUT. That’s really all you need to learn:
  • That a generic alternative for the EpiPen is finally going to be available.
  • That no specific pricing information is being publicized at this time.
  • That the trade name selected for the product, Symjepi, has got to be one of the strangest I have ever seen. (I am sure it is just because I don’t understand . . . )
Bottom Line. With the amount of ire that has been raised about EpiPen pricing, and specifically price increases, over the past year, it should be very interesting to see what happens in this market once the generic hits the street. Maybe (?) we will finally get some indication as to what the public thinks is a fair price for a life-saving drug that you usually don’t have to take. We know $400 a year was seen as too high, but . . . 

Amazon Buys Whole Foods! So?

Whole Foods I frankly don’t know what to make of this. But I am betting Jeff Bezos does! Check out this post. In it, you will see the blogger opine that through this acquisition, WF will have the opportunity to function as a broader-based delivery system for healthy foods for America, rather than as a gentrified store for the well to do. (We have a WF on Hilton Head Island. Many locals call it “Whole Pay Check!”) Bottom Line. What will Amazon actually do with this interesting acquisition? Will it serve to get Bezos into bricks and mortar at a time when others are exiting? Will the stores be launching points for Amazon drones? Will there be health and wellness implications? Keep a close eye on this one. Somehow, I think this acquisition is going to be important in general, and for health and wellness in particular.

Marketing Health to Millennials

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 2.04.35 PM More free goodies on the Internet. This MM&M offering is especially worthwhile. Go download it, peruse it and save it for future reference. What you will find here are important words, phrases and thoughts that will help you to deal with millennials effectively. Not so easy to do, since millennials are so fundamentally different from other segments in the way in which they approach health care. Sure, there are the easy notions. Like the fact that millennials are far more naturally attuned to social media and interactivity than are other demographic groups. Yup. But then there are the more complicated notions. Like the fact that millennials are far more prone than other segments to believe that they can, and should, manage their own healthcare. And far less likely to believe in physicians as the exclusively best source of medical knowledge. And the realization of the important role that millennials increasingly serve as caregivers and healthcare decision makers for the elderly. Bottom Line. Without a doubt, one of the more interesting pieces of information in this eBook is the fact that healthcare marketers spend proportionately less on Millennials than they do on other age groups.  Question.  Is that because they can’t figure out how to market to this group effectively and don’t want to waste their money, or is it because the marketing spends that they make targeting this group are not picked up by typical promotional audits? In any event, millennials are a large and unique demographic group. Go take full advantage of MM&M’s eBook and get up to speed on this customer base.

Digital Engagement = Pharmacy Margins X 3.6!!!

CVS Check this out. Here, you will find guidance from CVS on how to be a good partner to this chain pharmacy monolith. Sort of elegantly, simple actually. CVS wants their suppliers to take full analytical and marketing advantage of their ExtraCare program. Digitally engaged members of this program provide CVS with 3.6 times the profit margin exhibited by other store customers. As usual, there are some things to think about here. Like. Does enrollment in this program make customers more profitable, or do customers who are likely to be more profitable tend to sign up for the program. Or both.  Bottom Line. Whichever way the causal arrow points here, CVS is very smart to use a sophisticated digital program to tie in good customers, and even smarter to get their supply partners centered on the program as well.  Good job!

What Can I Say???

Poop emoji Check this out. As I read this piece, I must admit I am somewhat dumbfounded. Read it and think about it carefully. Here, you will see that there is actually a product team that believes that humorous (?) emoji’s will help them to sell its product in the now competitive idiopathic constipation marketplace. The rationalization here, if I understand it correctly (?), is that the various specific graphic forms of poop (sorry!) will help patients to better describe their problem to their physicians. Bottom Line. Really? Once again, I am left to ponder whether this a solution in search of a problem. Answering this question would involve us knowing whether there is currently a poop communications gap in the clinical setting, and whether this gap would be closed by patients pointing to various poop emoji’s. Like I said…Really???