When you consider all the time, resources and effort spent, in developing patient educational materials, by specialty pharmacies along the therapies of RA, MS, HIV/AIDS, Oncology and Transplant, payers, PBMs, pharmaceutical manufactures, disease-specific associations and hospitals, one would surmise that an opportunity exists, to use them in broader channel marketing efforts.
Pharma and disease-specific associations have great and innovative marketing programs around patient education. After that, specialty pharmacy's, PBMs, and hospitals, not so much. I think that their use in marketing campaigns will depend greatly on the quality of the materials. And in some cases, they are pretty poorly written and designed. Sometimes lacking all together.
But are all healthcare segments, especially specialty pharmacies, missing an opportunity to truly differentiate themselves in a lookalike marketplace?
I know. We all think we are the best at what we do, offering considerable expertise, advice and education to improve the health, compliance, adherence and healthcare IQ quotient of our patients. Is that really the case, or, is it just to show payers that you are engaged in direct patient education, supplementing the investment in out-bound call center infrastructure, using computer based clinical information systems, etc.
Patient education is a great medium to reinforce your brand, your brand promise and create customer evangelists. But that of course assumes, that you are doing original work in patient education. And not, just throwing together one-page disease information sheets, or using information from associations or pharma. Just because you throw some patient education materials in a med box, pass them out at a health and wellness fair, or use another other channel for distribution, doesn't mean that you are accomplishing anything. Other than your materials possibly reaching the recycle bin.
This is by no means a knock on any association or pharma materials, for they are great sources of information and advice. They just lack an organizational imprint of who you are, your brand and brand promise, to be able to showcase the breadth and depth of your knowledge and expertise. And that imprint doesn't mean putting your logo on the materials.
Besides the pervasive fear of competitors seeing what you are doing, patient education materials need to be on your web site, in easily accessible and downloadable formats. You can use QR codes in your mobile marketing, that take individuals to the patient education section. Reference them in your communications programs. Build a marketing strategy around them to differentiate you from other providers.
Be the first and everyone else looks like a "me too".
Sometimes, the simplest marketing strategy is the one that creates customer evangelists, improves health and well-being and positions you as a leader in your healthcare vertical.
Don't discount the importance of patient educational materials in your marketing and what they can do for you.
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