Friday, March 10, 2006

Future of pharma marketing is connecting with patients

Future of pharma marketing is connecting with patients

It's time to start building relationships with consumers and eliminate the "pill to person" tactic of pharma marketing, according to Alfred O'Neill, who's at the helm of the new specialty healthcare marketing practice Ryan TrueHealth. "Education without motivation is empty," says O'Neill, whose past projects include the Pfizer for Living campaign and work with Genentech, Novartis, and Abbott. He says it's no longer enough to sell the features and benefits of a treatment. Instead, pharmas should communicate shared values and "get under the skin of the patient." O'Neill tells ePharm5 that the Internet is the perfect avenue for this kind of communication, however, he often finds unbranded Web sites "disingenuous." Although he says they are appropriate prelaunch and has created them himself, postlaunch they often employ a "bait and switch" technique by ultimately driving the consumer to the branded site. O'Neill says pharmas would be better suited to have the educational and emotional message that often accompanies an unbranded site come directly from the brand itself and connect with the emotional need of the patient. Ryan TrueHealth operates within Ryan iDirect, a division of DL Ryan Companies, LTD.


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