Looking to build brand loyalty? "Start with empathy," advises Hoss Sooudi, president and general manager at EngagedMedia, a division of Aptus Health.
"We design our programs through a lens that sees users as consumers first, then as patients," he said. "We work to understand their needs first so that our pharma clients can provide a user experience that delivers relevance, convenience, and value at each touchpoint in their journey with a brand."
That might seem like a tall order in today's pharma-marketing world, where outreach to consumers often consists of seemingly cold and impersonal digital interactions.
But Aptus Health's pharma clients have found that it is possible to make meaningful digital connections with their audiences by using data-driven insights to understand customers' needs throughout their entire journey and by reaching those people where they spend their time: on their mobile devices.
These meaningful customer journeys start with brand-awareness campaigns delivered through geo-targeted ads by Tomorrow Networks, also a division of Aptus Health. These ads reach out to consumers at selected health care locations relevant to the sponsor's product, for example, at offices of physicians who specialize in diabetes. To further refine the audience, those locations are then cross-matched with customer personas that are developed using machine learning, such as identifying people with diabetes who exercise frequently. The brand messages delivered to that highly targeted group then strive to anticipate their health care needs and deliver information that will truly resonate with them and encourage them to take next steps, such as talking with their doctor about a new diabetes medication, or one whose formulary position offers lower out-of-pocket costs. (Privacy is ensured: Persona members are identified by device, not by name.)
For most brands, meaningful journeys with patients end at point of care, while the customer continues unaided to the pharmacy- but Aptus Health client brands remain connected. Once patients have been prescribed a client's brand, they are invited (typically via their physician or the brand's DTC efforts) to enroll in a program for prescription support and/or adherence. Upon consent, EngagedMedia's EngagedPatient™ programs access hundreds of pieces of patient information that can be used to support the patient with timely and convenient adherence messaging. For example, messages might encourage patients to pick up a refill when they are near their pharmacy, or they might include a short video on how to use a product. But the program also offers personalized prescription support that goes beyond the typical refill reminder. For example, the EngagedPatient™ RxAppeal module can detect in real-time when a health insurer did not cover a brand due to a prior authorization. "We can even let the patient know what a Prior Authorization is, and ask if that patient would like us to help get the branded prescription covered — starting the appeal process immediately," says Sooudi.
"We do this all on behalf of our client's brand," Sooudi noted. "But we have the ability to interact directly with patients as a third party, based on patient-level data, in ways that pharma brands can't typically do on their own and probably shouldn't."
A third leg of the personalized customer journey is to help patients connect with and make better-informed health care decisions with their own physicians. EngagedMedia's RxSurveyor™ mobile survey solution targets patients with brief mobile-native surveys about their experience with a brand. The data collected is then shared privately with each individual's physician, empowering the physician and patient to have more meaningful conversations about the patient's experience at the next office visit. Aggregated anonymized reports of patient experiences are also shared with brand managers to help them capture and analyze real-world data on patients' experiences with their therapy.
"A mobile-first approach is one of the most crucial aspects of running effective personalized campaigns," said Patrick Aysseh, president and general manager of Tomorrow Networks. "Today, Americans spend more time on mobile devices than watching TV. Pharma marketers can capitalize on this preference and deliver the convenient and relevant experiences that consumers are accustomed to having in other areas of their lives, and keep them engaged throughout their journey with a brand."
"The scale of TV and print is undeniable," Aysseh said. "Yet finding the right balance between scale and precision makes it challenging to reach the audiences who are most likely to need a particular health-related treatment or service. Pure demographic and geo-targeting can be too broad. Content targeting almost always lacks significant scale to move the market. And targeting based on purchase history is limited to a small audience of people who are the most difficult to convert — current users of the product or competitive products.
"Our mobile-first solutions offer a data-driven approach that provides qualified reach at scale to health care professionals and consumers, anchored on key point-of-care locations and refined through aggregated health care data."
Targeted, personalized message campaigns work. Programs that combine the broad awareness campaigns of Tomorrow Networks with the personalized prescription messaging of EngagedMedia do, indeed, make meaningful connections with audiences. "By understanding their needs, meeting them where they are, and earning the right to engage with them through their mobile devices, we've created an experience that provides value to our patients first - and the business has followed," Sooudi said. "For example, one of our clients is measuring an average 12% lift in just new prescriptions and a 5:1 ROI across multiple programs. Most importantly, patients are using the program to get on and stay on the medications they need."
"Patients want clear value propositions from pharma," Sooudi said. "Delivering that first and foremost, we've found that patients are more than willing to engage, opening the door to enduring patient relationships."