Another way to maximize the patient lifecycle process is to assist in establishing or work with existing patient advocacy
groups. Those organizations, particularly in specialty disease state areas, are instrumental in driving patient perceptions,
physicians' opinions, and marketing programs based on well-documented needs. And advocacy groups are frequently in need of
help—they are looking for additional resources from brochures, education materials, and physician guest speakers to financial
support—that enables them to reach out to their members and your target audience.
Understanding the environment surrounding a specific drug and disease category will help pharma marketers in working with
the consumer/patient lifecycle. Also, proper identification and segmentation of the patient population will assist in delivering
the right program to the right patient, as well as programs that can move a consumer step-by-step along the lifecycle. Keeping
all of this in mind will increase the opportunities for and expand the reach of any well-crafted campaign.
The long-term payoff of such an approach is having patients who understand the product and the disease, who talk positively
about the product to others, and more important, stay on therapy. Including these initiatives to supplement other marketing
efforts and ensure they are part of the overall strategic direction will further assure success with the programs.
A:Susan Dorfman, Vice-President, Sales and Marketing, Pharmaway, West Caldwell, NJ
There is no cookie-cutter approach to establishing advocacy and loyalty among customers. Acquiring a new customer will require a totally different set of communication
tactics than those used to communicate with already established customers, or even advocates.
Awareness. For medical professionals, acquiring awareness means establishing brand recognition using an appropriate mix of educational,
personal, and non-personal marketing tactics—always with a call to action to help measure success. If the focus is on the
consumer, providing disease awareness in tandem with brand awareness is a good first step. Establishing reach mechanisms in
physician offices, pharmacies, and personal settings with a strong call to action will yield best results and help build a
patient database. With such information, marketers can send potential patients product offers or content-rich newsletters
about their disease.
Trial. Samples, patient kits, and vouchers assure awareness and help doctors institute trial with patients. They help them monitor
and ensure a patient's success on the medication before writing a prescription and without a financial investment from the
patient. Knowing that samples are available allows patients to tell their doctor, "I would like to try this medication." You
can look at sampling as the start of a joint compliance program between the doctor and patient—where both work together to
Usage and compliance. Now it's important for marketers to help physicians and patients turn trial into adoption and compliance. Marketers must
focus on tactics that will facilitate the transition to usage (new Rx's) and help encourage and strengthen patient compliance
Advocacy and loyalty. Now that target physicians and patients are using your brand, it is a great time to roll out marketing tactics that help
turn a percentage of these users into advocates and loyalists. You want patients to tell others, "Hey, I'm using this drug.
It's great. You should go to your doctor and see if it would work for you." And you want doctors to tell their peers, "My
patients have been very successful on this medication."
Say it again. Marketers must continue to reinforce awareness by providing new, interesting, and timely information as a constant reminder
of your brand.
Communication is key. Although we always hear about reach and frequency, it is important to take your audience lifecycle into consideration as
it relates to the messages you are sending out. Because communication tactics should be different at each of the aforementioned
stages, keep this is mind as you try to move your targets from one cycle to another. Your goal is to build advocates and loyalists
and to do this you must ensure that your messaging is targeted, clear, and disseminated on a regular basis.