Why point-of-care promotions work in pharmaceutical marketing

Mobile devices and a near constant stream of advertising has all but eliminated the concept of a captive audience in marketing. Advertising strategies usually have to fight tooth and nail just to win a potential consumer's ear for a few seconds - even then, a conversion is far from guaranteed.

However, a new study conducted by ZS Associates points to a growing trend within pharmaceutical marketing: point-of-care advertising. According to ZS, POC spending has increased 10 percent every year since 2010, and the firm predicted that the final tally for 2014 would reach $400 million by the end of December. As the pharmaceutical marketing industry places its collective focus on POC advertising, how can organizations cut through the noise to capitalize on this captive audience?

Patients are at their most attentive while at their places of treatment.

Engage the engaged patient
Hensley Evans, principal at ZS Associates and contributor on the study, told Medical Marketing & Media that when patients are confined to waiting rooms and are forced to actively think about the conditions that brought them there, the stage is set for marketers to approach engaged consumers with targeted advertising.

"The POC waiting room is a pivotal place and time for consumer exposure to healthcare information and branded materials," Evans said. "When patients and caregivers trust the source and absorb these materials, they are likely to bring that information into their treatment discussions with a physician."

Make the most of the moment
POC marketing is an invaluable opportunity, but just as nothing gold can stay, advertisers only have a short period of time to convey messaging and persuade consumers to bring a new medication or device up with their doctors. In an interview with PM360, Jeff Anderson, director of prescriber solutions at Adheris Health, explained that while patients might be ready to take in pharmaceutical information as they wait to see their physicians, materials still need to be personalized and customized to certain patients for optimum performance.

Marketing campaigns that do not speak to the personal experiences that patients have with their conditions are just as likely to be ignored in POC settings than any other, and Anderson urged providers to leverage data to inform their branding. Patients go to their doctors for specific answers to their personal health issues, so why should POC marketing do anything different?

Not just any pharmaceutical marketing agency has the experience and expertise to craft materials that have not only the knowledge and empathy, though. Marketing materials in POC settings must include engaging and customized language and design to catch and keep patients' attentions. Pharmaceutical organizations should partner with a savvy agency that can adopt the patient perspective as easily as their own.