Internet Marketing Expert Seth Godin Believes that companies should "date their customers" to solidify business relationships.
He paints a picture of marketers treating customers like a date—striking up conversation, piquing their interest, and leaving
them wanting more. The goal of that first romantic date is just to get a second date, not to get engaged. The same holds true
for marketing dates with potential customers. Marketers need to develop a relationship before they can "ask for the sale."
Truly successful marketers are able to identify what tactics best communicate that value exchange to the target audience.
Traditionally, marketers relied on face-to-face detailing. But with too many reps in the field and the need for immediate
return on investment (ROI), detailing, while not dead, is losing its impact.
Instead, to get an edge over the competition, we need to look at technology-based programs as a way to better reach healthcare
providers and consumers.
In Purple Cow, Seth Godin advises that to be phenomenal, marketers need to be able to break through the clutter.
Despite the compelling statistics, many marketers today still underestimate the power of the Internet. (See "Know the Stats,"
pg. 10.) Web surfers are looking for specific information targeted to their needs, and the Internet allows marketers to do
just that by providing customized information. In that way, the Internet can foster relationships with customers that traditional
"interruption" advertising cannot.
For its growth hormone brand Saizen (somatropin) and for other products, Serono deployed several e-marketing initiatives that
exemplified another concept of Godin's. In his book Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, Godin advises marketers to break through the clutter by being different—like a purple cow standing in a field of brown cows.
He uses the metaphor to show companies how something phenomenal, something counterintuitive, exciting, and unbelievable can
help brands achieve superior growth.
Serono created purple cows, with the help of HealthBanks, Graphic Details, and IMC2 , to offer high-quality disease education, detail doctors about Saizen, and increase compliance among end users.
With useless information bombarding patients on the Web, how do physicians steer their patients to high-quality, educational
content? Here's a rule of thumb: Use direct-to-patient education and personalized information that goes above and beyond just
discussing one brand.
When Serono marketers wanted to collect consumer information and create interest in one of its new growth hormone drugs, they
turned to Burlington, MA-based HealthBanks to help them gather the data using personalized Web sites.
Know the Stats
HealthBanks develops sites that physicians can tailor to their practices and encourage their patients to visit, when seeking
more information about their condition after they leave the office. Physicians can collect patient's personal data by tracking
visits to the Web site. Also, they can find out what specific medical topics their patients are interested in learning more
about. (HealthBanks' sites are provided free to the doctors and paid for by drug companies.)
For example, on HealthBanks' Serono-sponsored site about one of its growth hormone drugs, users are anonymous, but physicians
can see what sort of topics their patients with growth hormone deficiency (GHD) prefer. With just a little bit of patient
information, Serono's site provides invaluable content to three different groups: patients, who can research medical information
related to GHD, doctors, who can see what other topics interst GHD patients, and Serono, which can gather free market research
and give its reps talking points for when they pitch a doctor's office about the drug.