Eps pharma report

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Study by marketing services company Epsilon focusing on how consumers are using social media for health.

Study by marketing services company Epsilon focusing on how consumers are using social media for health.

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  • 1. STRATEGY AND ANALYTICS / TARGETING / CREATIVE / TECHNOLOGY / DIGITAL A PRESCRIPTION FOR CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT: AN INSIDE LOOK AT SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY Research: April 2010 epsilon.com
  • 2. STRATEGY AND ANALYTICS / TARGETING / CREATIVE / TECHNOLOGY / DIGITAL INTRODUCTION It’s no surprise that as consumers spend more time online and on social media sites, marketers rely more heavily on these channels to reach their core audiences. It’s happening across a number of industries; yet for an industry like pharmaceuticals and healthcare, regulation creates an additional level of complexity. Before today’s pharma marketer can best utilize social media to reach and engage with patients, they must understand the consumer’s perspective and the benefits and value of social media. Their marketing strategy should be driven by a number of critical factors including from where individuals get their information; what types of individuals engage in social media; why and how they engage in social media; how social media drives a more skilled, knowledgeable and proactive patient; and consumer perceptions about the role that pharma should play in social media participation. Epsilon’s social media and pharma study was designed to deliver deep insights into social media behavior and the impact on patient outcome. The research shows that social media is in fact driving a more proactive and engaged patient who has strong feelings about the role pharma should play in social media. ‘HEALTHY’ INTERACTIONS The study shows that, among individuals who are predisposed to engaging online, the online channel as a source of health/drug related information is almost as important as personal interactions with health care providers. The opportunity lies in making social media a relevant part of the already relevant online channel. To be expected, larger web properties, such as WebMD, YahooHealth, GoogleHealth and Brand.com sites are garnering the most visits. These websites lend credibility to pharma-sponsored content to a varying degree. In fact, some of the smaller community sites that don’t have nearly as wide a reach (e.g., Carepages.com and RealMentalHealth.com) have high levels of credibility. The wisdom of these community sites leads to powerful recommendations that have instant credibility with many patients. Leading pharmaceutical companies should partner more closely with online health properties to reach a captive audience and benefit from the credibility these sites lend to content. Many of these sites already have integrated social media components that can also be leveraged. Rate each source on its ability to provide you with the information you need to make a decision about your general health and drug information Doctor Nurse Physician’s Assistant Product/Health Websites Pharmacy Materials Product Brochures at the Doctor’s Office Newspaper/Magazine Articles Product Samples Magazine/Newspaper Ads Doctors Office TV Advertising TV Ads Drug Info Email Messages General Health Direct Mail Postcard/Brochure Radio Ads Coupons Messages on Mobile Devices 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 2 epsilon.com
  • 3. STRATEGY AND ANALYTICS / TARGETING / CREATIVE / TECHNOLOGY / DIGITAL What consumers are viewing on the sites they visit is as important as where they are spending their time online. The study assessed the content that consumers view on general sections of sites as well as the social media component. The content is indicative of the way consumers engage in social media – both reading and contributing content. It’s clear that the main interest of consumers is the foundational information – they want to understand their condition, learn about the symptoms and treatment options, and understand key terms. Where individuals are in the treatment cycle will also affect their interests. Pharma marketers should ensure that their social media efforts help consumers achieve their core informational goals. When you do visit health-related sites, how often do you view the following types of content? Information about a specific conditon/disease Symptom checker Information about Drugs & Supplements Latest health news General health topics Health encylopedia Find a drug Questions to ask your doctor Glossary of terms Alternative medicine Recipes Support and advice on how to manage my life Free newsletters Message Boards Doctor search Blogs Support groups 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% SOCIALLY ENGAGED Among Internet respondents, 40% engage with social media on health sites either by reading or posting content. The frequency of their participation shows that half engage a few times a year, a quarter engage monthly and nearly one-fifth engage on a weekly basis. The study also explored what characteristics define a frequent user. The most important is an innate belief that social media will empower the individual to do more. In addition, these “engaged” consumers are more sophisticated and more likely to participate in blogs or multiple websites. They are focused on their search – looking for drug-related information more so than general health information. Approximately how often do you engage in social networking content when you visit these sites? 5% Every day or almost every day 51% 19% On a weekly basis Once a month A few times a year 25% 3 epsilon.com
  • 4. STRATEGY AND ANALYTICS / TARGETING / CREATIVE / TECHNOLOGY / DIGITAL The drivers behind why individuals participate and why they don’t participate will help pharma Indicate how much you agree with the following reasons marketers uncover the true opportunities within for participating in social networking sites social media. The study found two overwhelming I find comfort knowing I’m not the only one 55% who is going through what I am reasons why consumers participate: reassurance (“I’m not the only one going through what I’m It helps me find answers to my health 53% going through”) and intimacy (“It helps me find from people like me/with my condition answers to my health from people like me/ It empowers me to do more 36% with my condition”). The emotional reasons for participation far outweighed the more It helps me solve my health problems 31% rational reasons; i.e. “It helps me reach my It helps me reach my health goals 29% health goals.” Social media can be a powerful vehicle if marketers connect with individuals on an emotional level. While patients may be looking for foundational information, they are also looking for emotional support conveyed through a tone of reassurance and intimacy. Discussion topics that extend beyond the clinical to truly connect with what a patient is going through will resonate even further. Individuals who engage in social media fall into two broad groups: highly engaged patients who take an active role in their own health management (80%) versus individuals who lack the confidence to play an active role in their own health (20%). The opportunity lies in recognizing these different groups and facilitating conversations that are tailored to each group’s needs, which are very different. Pharma tends to focus on the larger, more capable patient segment. However, the smaller group drives more than 70% of healthcare utilization and represents the vast majority of lost opportunities due to lower compliance and persistency levels. This is an audience that stands to benefit tremendously from pharma’s responsible participation in the online conversation. Not everyone is comfortable opening Indicate how much you agree with the following reasons up online and using social media to for not participating in social networking sites discuss their condition. Most non- I rely on my doctor’s advice engaged individuals felt a lack of trust 79% in what others are saying and prefer I just don’t have the time 48% their doctor’s advice over an online I don’t really trust what others are saying 43% peer. The challenge to marketers is to make social media sites a more I find that there is too much information 23% trustworthy source of information, I find it hard to use the information 17% perhaps through partnerships or third- party endorsements. Another reason I find it difficult to use what I read 15% for lack of participation was that individuals just don’t have the time. If social media had more visible information and easier ways to participate, perhaps more patients would engage more frequently. Why is it important for patients to engage in social media? Epsilon’s research showed that social media users are better equipped to manage their health and have more information and understanding of what they are others like them are facing. 4 epsilon.com
  • 5. STRATEGY AND ANALYTICS / TARGETING / CREATIVE / TECHNOLOGY / DIGITAL ‘FRIENDING’ PHARMA As individuals turn to social media to answer health questions or share experiences with other users, what role can the pharmaceutical industry play, how can it get involved in the dialogue? Consumers surveyed have mixed feelings about pharma’s participation in social media—but perhaps an industry with such severe image problems should take those mixed feelings as good news. Only 15% agreed that “healthcare companies are only looking out for themselves;” the other 85% believed that pharma companies are at least partially acting in the consumer’s best interests. Which of the following statements do you most agree with (re: how pharmaceutical companies should participate on websites and social media)? 40% Healthcare companies are looking out for my best interests Healthcare companies care about my best interests but also have their own interests in mind 1% Healthcare companies care little about my best interests and mostly looking out for themselves 15% 44% Healthcare companies are only looking out for themselves To what degree would the following site sponsors lend credibility to the healthcare content that you look at? 69% 58% 50% 13% HC Non Profit FDA 3rd Party Pharma Co. Watchdog The study showed that consumers are not resistant to pharma actively participating in social media to some degree. Above all else, consumers would look to pharma to vet other users’ comments for accuracy. For example, when consumers read a post about a medication concern 45% would like someone to validate the accuracy of that comment. The same is true of discussions about drug side effects. When asked, “If you were to talk about side effects associated with your medication, what role do you expect the pharmaceutical company to play?” 55% of respondents expect the pharma company to let them know if the information is correct. Pharma isn’t alone in having a responsibility to validate information in the social space. The study showed that other types of site sponsors that don’t face the same regulatory burden as pharma—the FDA and nonprofits—could add even more credibility to healthcare content. 5 epsilon.com
  • 6. STRATEGY AND ANALYTICS / TARGETING / CREATIVE / TECHNOLOGY / DIGITAL Which of the following reactions do you have when reading a post about a concern someone has about their medication? I’d like for someone to validate that the 45% comment is correct I take the comment with a grain of salt 38% I feel as though I’m better informed about medication choices 31% I feel as though I need to get 30% someone else’s opinion None of the above 12% If you were to talk about side effects associated with your medication, what role would you expect the pharmaceutical company to play? I expect them to let me know if the 55% information is correct I expect for them to provide me with a 32% perspective of the comment I don’t expect the pharma company 26% to have any role None of the above 8% THE RX FOR CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT Social media efforts should be designed to drive both an informed and proactive patient. Patients who are participating in social media have already taken the first step. This research indicates that pharmaceutical companies should take a balanced approach that provides foundational information and emotional support with unbiased advice and guidance. It is not simply about treatment options. By working with the right site sponsors, pharma can add credibility to healthcare content and offer peace of mind for patients struggling to manage their health. An understanding of what patients are talking about (e.g., medication side effects) will also help pharma get involved in the discussion. As social media expands, monitoring these conversations manually will become increasingly difficult. With the appropriate technology and tools, discussions can be more easily followed and pharma can understand the needs of their patients to effectively engage with them across all channels. METHODOLOGY Epsilon’s 2010 pharma and social media study was conducted online in March 2010 by eRewards of Dallas, TX. The study compiles data from 1350 consumers in the United States. 6 epsilon.com
  • 7. Epsilon Corporate Headquarters 4401 Regent Boulevard Irving, TX 75063 1-800-309-0505 info@epsilon.com epsilon.com