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Attentio Blog entries
Health 2.0 Marketing Online with
Booklet 3 of 5
Written while employed for
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Contact: Linda Margaret
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Table of contents
1. Brand buzz in health and pharmaceuticals: It's the WOM that makes the
brand 2008/09/03……………………………………………………….p.3-4
2. Health Care Consumers and online conversation create communities
2008/08/19 ………………………………………………………………..p.5
3. Managing Meds in the Modern Market 2008/06/06……………………..p.6-7
4. Push me, Pull U 2008/05/07……………………………………………….p.8
5. Ditch the DTC 2008/04/08 …………………………………………………p.9
6. Drug dealing online 2008/02/23 ………………………………………….p.10
Brand buzz in health and pharmaceuticals: It's the WOM that makes the brand
With best-selling pharmaceuticals like Lipitor set to lose their patent in the next five years, are new generics are poised to replace
more expensive brand names?
A Guardian article notes that the industry predicts that yes, generics are a large part of the future of pharma.
We’re doing a lot of pharmaceutical study here at Attentio, too. And we have a slightly different understanding of the future of
generics in pharma.
Buzz about pharmaceuticals makes up one of the most consistent areas of online WOM (word of mouth) growth. Patients and
health care consumers are increasingly aware of their choices in both pharma brands and generic products. They go online to
discover pharma products and services that are old and new, local and foreign, and—more importantly—good and bad.
When a brand beats out the generics in WOM, it’s because the brand has a relationship with its consumers, the patients that have
tried and come to trust the brand. Tried and true brands have proven their efficacy.
Trusted brands have beat fears about side effects or potential complications.
People rely on certain brand name pharmaceuticals more than they trust their local hospitals or even their national public health
systems. They trust these brands because these brands have worked, are working, and will, patients prophesize, continue to work.
Brand buzz in health and pharmaceuticals: It's the WOM that makes the brand
Patients reveal their bias towards beloved brands in the buzz. In forums, blogs, and message boards dedicated to conditions,
illnesses, and general health, certain brands trample their competitors in patient reviews, in online WOM, in buzz.
And in sales.
Buzz can make or breaks a brand's reputation in pharmaceuticals. P2P communication (patient to patient) divides the good, the
bad, and the ugly in available medications. Patients dissect the side effects and the relief that a pharmaceutical brings when added
to a patient's health regimen. This kind of word of mouth reputation will hopefully encourage pharmaceutical companies to build
better medications, filling the global health market with quality products and services, rather than just quantity.
Health Care Consumers and online conversation create communities 2008/08/19
An Economist article explored the trend of medical tourism in Europe and the United States. Consumers of medical services are
going abroad to escape high prices and long lines at home. Hannaford, a grocery chain, and a few intrepid insurance programmes,
are exploring the possibility of lowering total employee heathcare costs through incentivising traveling abroad for health care
Physical travel, however, is the tip of a rapidly decentralising (disintegrating?) health care consumer paradigm. HCPs (Health care
consumers) also go online rather than travel abroad to find products and services that they couldn't otherwise access. In doing so,
they frequently discover new and innovative products and services that pique consumer interest and fuel further individual (as well
as corporate) research.
HCPs find communities of like-minded patients and caregivers and exchange information, ideas and opinions about health care
goods, services, even specific providers. They research medications and treatments through forums and health care social
networking sites like Trusera and PatientsLikeMe.
HCPs that share languages compare and critique public health systems. They let each other know what's available where and who
or which insurance is willing to fund what. Even institutionally-based medications, once limited to the institution that provided them,
can now limit the institution. If a patient can't access the med that s/he thinks s/he needs locally, s/he goes online and finds a
provider that is willing to access the HCP--through the mail, through a network, through travel.
Health used to be geographic. What the next-door neighbor perceived as "health" could be considered standard for the
neighbourhood. Now, the community of patients or HCPs determines what is "health" for their community. A patient suffering from
dysthymia, a mood disorder, can go online and ask fellow patients across the globe how they best deal with depression. Then that
community can advise, support, sympathise and even supply a patient with the products and services that patient wants.
Managing Meds in the Modern Market 2008/06/06
The Stryker Navigation System allows surgery to be a lot less invasive. The system allows a patient's internal organs to be virtually
"mapped" through the use of specialised instruments. "Nav reps", navigation representatives or the specialists in Stryker's
software, are now joining the modern surgical team. (I love how software is ubiquitous in any successful enterprise these days.)
More and more, medicine is a team effort. In business terms, the patient is the CEO, the person that rises or falls with the success
of the project. The patient's chosen physician is the CFO, the person that must account for the assembled team and know the
purpose of each position on the team, if not exactly how to operate within each position.
Nav reps, nurses, additional physicians, specialists, counselors, hospital administrators, insurance agents, researchers,
pharmaceutical representatives, and an increasingly vast field of scientists and policy experts are stakeholders in the health of
individual patients. Efficient and effective members of these teams go from stakeholder to shareholders, investing their money and
time while reaping financial and reputed rewards in the health maintenance of millions of individuals.
These individual patients shop for the components of their health online. Millions log-on in China, the Americas and Europe in
search of the goods and services that will make up their health management team.
Manhattan Research noted that 143 million adults in Europe looked for health information in the ten countries surveyed. 62.6
million of these individuals looked for pharmaceutical information-the health consumer products over which the individual has the
most control, aside from their own body.
Managing Meds in the Modern Market 2008/06/06
But that's just the beginning. Blogs explore and explain health care policy, insurance programmes both public and private, law, and
the modern conditions of medicine and public health. Investment in private insurance throughout the world of welfare states is
steadily increasing as public health systems become unable to provide all the options the individual patient wants and needs.
Monitoring and measuring what which individuals want and need is essential to anyone interested in investing resources or money
in the health care market. Luckily, this is easily done; Attentio's tools are phenomenal at keeping interested parties updated
regarding the health industry online. As a health care policy analyst that regularly compares the US/EU health policy regulations, I
am most appreciative of both Attentio's tools and the millions of proactive health care consumers that post daily about their
concerns and health care interests.
Push me, Pull U 2008/05/07
I've been reading online about the importance of social media monitoring in reducing the money wasted on advertising. Mediapost
had some nice things to say about the recession and companies learning to shore up their budgets by being more cautious about
their marketing.
In Europe, word-of-mouth and online marketing is not only a low cost with a great many benefits, it's the safest, most respectful
way to reach clients and consumers. The EU is very protective of European consumers. "Push" advertising, in-your-face, direct-toconsumer ads, is frowned upon. For some corporations, this kind of marketing can even result in legal action.
For example, pharmaceutical corporations are very limited in the information that they can provide to consumers, and they're even
more limited in their methods of distributing this information. France has required Yahoo! to limit the information that can be
accessed by French consumers to be more in line with French rules and customs.
The French Parliament is now considering making encouraging anorexia a crime, and in some Southern European countries,
models are already required to present health certificates to their employers. One has to wonder how this trend in consumer-citizen
protection legislation will eventually affect marketing.
Online marketing, however, is saving time, money, and respect for different legal and cultural traditions by creating content that
"pulls" consumers rather than push them. This, the EU and European States determine, is okay. If a consumer accesses the
information rather than has it foisted on them, then everyone is happy.
Ditch the DTC 2008/04/08
Health care today is an individually-consumed good that produces benefits for everybody.
But there is a problem–”health” is subject to interpretation. By the patient. By the doctor. By the nurse. By the judge or the lawyer or
the jury or the neighbour or the parent or the secondary school counsellor or the teacher or the boss that sends/does not send the
kid home.
Health care consumers know this. That’s why individual consumers are taking ownership of their health care-online. They post and
participate in sharing side effects, suspicions, and successes with medications, diets, and treatments.
Online, there are no national boundaries limiting the information about medicines and health care services. Consumers price shop,
compare experiences, and exchange advice. But not with everyone. Consumers prefer to talk to each other-consumer trust other
consumers, in health care as in all other consumer goods.
Consumers do not trust the professionals-at least, not directly. Direct to consumer (DTC) advertising is despised. Expertise is
But experience is king. If a pharmaceutical has good word of mouth online, it attracts a dedicated and appreciative following.
Consumers are “pulled” to the medication by positive reviews, rather than pushed a drug by DTC.
Drug dealing online 2008/02/23
It's no secret that the British are royally PO-ed about their ailing public health system. Understaffed and underfunded, hospitals are
unable to respond to demand. Media accuses clinical beds of breeding superbugs.
Patients criticise doctors for hit and run diagnoses that fail to satisfy. Treatments are increasingly compared online as being
inconsistent and worse, ineffective.
Not surprisingly, political Buzz has turned to public health. How to create and condition a more healthy, happy population?
Politicians do the usual teetering between sympathising with and "constructively criticising" their health care constituents. But
really, it's the Buzz online that is connecting the health care consumer.
Parents trade local treatment regimens and the different Brand names of generic antibiotics. Patients compare doctors and
prescriptions. (We may not be that far from a rate-a-doc, like the rate-a-prof created by US university students). Patients of chronic
conditions are given the de facto status of experts in experience online, and they dispense support and advice with more speed
(and more consideration, according to their networks) than the educated, expensive experts that haven't got the time to listen.
What the patients say, why they say it, and to whom promises to radically alter the business of medicine. Pharmaceuticals, health
officials, and local and national health care policies are all being actively reviewed online. Already, patients can order medication
from online pharmacies in different countries.
What they buy, where they buy it, and what they think about both choices makes for an interesting study already underway at
Additional Booklets of Linda Margaret’s Attentio Blogs include:
1. Social Media and Traditional Marketing
2. Social Media and Search, Blogs, Forums, Twitter,
casual gaming, and social networking
3. Health 2.0 Marketing Online
4. Online Culture: the European Union and the
United States
5. Industry Examples