How to Become a Commitment Catalyst? - Pharmaceutical Executive


How to Become a Commitment Catalyst?

Pharmaceutical Executive

Creating Successful Commitments

Women indicated that the leading reasons they are successful in changing health behaviors relate to seeing and feeling results, readiness to commit, and believing firmly in the benefits of change.

These are areas where marketers can be catalysts for change. For example:

Seeing and feeling results Help her track her progress, remind her how far she has come toward her goal, set clear expectations, and get her to share her results with others.

Readiness to commit Make sure she understands her condition and why she is going on a treatment, and then ask her to commit before buying your product or service. Studies show that merely stating intention to do something can increase her likelihood of acting on it.

Belief in benefits of change Convince her of the benefits, not only of product change, but of changing her habits to holistically affect her health. This becomes the goal she will need to believe in to commit to and sustain change.

Getting women to "I can" and "I will" requires marketers to anticipate what matters to them at every touch point—and then create and help sustain their commitment throughout the course of treatment. Women often find that sustaining change is the hardest part, especially with chronic, lifelong conditions. It requires focus, mindful choices, and the discipline to stick to an action plan. Think of the patient journey as a commitment path: Help get her ready at the point of initial consideration. Ask her to commit. Provide structure and support to keep her on track. Encourage her to share results and recommit when she needs to.

Each condition and treatment type produces different roadblocks and detours along the commitment path (depression is different from diabetes is different from hypertension). Women need support so that they won't give in to detours like wanting to be "normal," rebelling against restrictions and deprivation, or getting tired of fighting a lifelong condition.

The key for marketers is to be part of women's success instead of their failure. A commitment catalyst approach in marketing healthcare to women requires creating and sustaining her commitment at every touch point:

Understand the goals that will get her ready and motivate her change.
Employ all three commitment drivers and go beyond condition and treatment education.
Do still provide education, support and inspiration to move her down the path—and invite her back when she gets sidetracked.
Anticipate possible roadblocks and detours and provide structure to help her create and stick to an action plan that will get her past these barriers to success.
This plan should prioritize tools, timing, messages, and channels. Programs with multiple elements attract and support the most patients because needs and barriers vary from one patient to the next, and from one condition to the next. Some women thrive on information, others want personal support, and others gravitate toward DIY tools. They all value personalization.
Develop commitment metrics to help her track her success, especially when marketing in asymptomatic conditions where "results" are hard to see or feel.

By being more patient-centric, focusing on what really matters to her, and helping her reach the healthier outcomes she desires, marketers can help create the commitment she needs to succeed. And in her success lies the acquisition and retention, the adherence and advocacy we marketers seek.

Kate Caldwell is senior vice president, group strategic planning director, Draftfcb. She can be reached at


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