Menu Icon
Menu Icon
X

SEARCH

10 Guiding Principles to Relationship Marketing Success

Intouch Team

Posted by

As a brand steward, you may be considering a relationship marketing program for your brand. There’s a lot to consider, and you may be drawn in several directions. Here are 10 guiding principles to consider before you plunge into program development.

1. Know your patients.

Age and demography just scratch the surface. What is their behavior and attitude toward taking meds and meds in your category? Do they trust their doctors or do they often bring their own medical research to the office? Are they proactive, passive or doctor directed? What media do they consume? Investing in some initial qualitative research may help you construct a more in-depth market segmentation study with specialist partners that can show you who to target and who to avoid.

2. Size your program to patient value.

How many patients can you reasonably expect to get into your program? Working with your media agency, look at a range of estimates based on affordable acquisition media (see principle No. 3). Multiply those ranges by the lifetime value of your patient. The totals will give you ballpark ranges for an overall budget. Consider that a return on investment may not happen in the first year and assess whether this will meet your business objectives. In fact, it may take several years to show a return, especially if you have to invest in beginning RM infrastructure like a fulfillment house, call center and database partner.

3. Start with finely targeted acquisition tactics and then expand out.

Avoid the temptation to think big first because big often means big bucks that are wasted. Most often a finely tuned search plan nets the most committed patients. Especially if acquisition funds are limited, seek to do pilot tests of media that make sense and then expand on what works. Remember, if you are committed to building a program, it is like selling tickets to an event — just because you build it, doesn’t mean they will come.

4. Ask only what you really need from patients.

Shorter intake surveys are always better. Three to five questions for an initial survey is ideal. If you really need more, make all efforts to stop at seven — beyond that you’re likely to see incomplete surveys. Additional information can be garnered from program participants later, especially if you offer an incentive — even a modest one.

5. As an incentive to consider your brand, it may be all about the money.

Consider that many patients are on multiple meds. Considering yours may mean another financial burden. You may or may not have a compelling message that will motivate the patient to talk to the doctor about your brand. Financial offers may allow you to be more seriously considered. Offers that cover co-payments are good, but remember FREE is the most powerful word in marketing. If you can afford a reasonable free trial offer, do it. Your ultimate returns are likely to be greater.

6. Identify patient segments carefully.

Just because you can slice your audience finely doesn’t mean you should. Start with the most important segments that really need different messages to motivate them. Remember you may be investing unnecessary resources in different messaging that must be developed, produced, programmed and then analyzed for effectiveness.

7. Consider a mix of communications platforms.

You may want to ask which medium a patient prefers. But remember just like you, no patient consumes just one medium. You can get to them efficiently through email and text, but also consider direct mail, especially at the beginning. Though it may cost more, it is a whole lot harder to avoid a piece of mail. Better yet, if your brand is appropriate for phone communication (and you can afford it), it is the most personal and can be the most effective.

While you, your co-workers and agencies may have an in-depth knowledge of your brand and disease state, realize most patients may be starting at an elementary level. These patients need to have their initial education broken into simple pieces, with copy written in non-technical language.

8. Integrate the look and feel of your RM communications.

Your program should seek to replicate an overall presentation of your brand, but look at it in a big picture way. Presenting the same logotype, colors and tone is important. However, the people depicted in your materials don’t necessarily need to match up exactly with what you may have, for example, in a TV commercial. What’s important is to appropriately represent your patients.

9. Keep it simple.

While you, your co-workers and agencies may have an in-depth knowledge of your brand and disease state, realize most patients may be starting at an elementary level. These patients need to have their initial education broken into simple pieces, with copy written in non-technical language.

10. Measure, revise and measure again.

To understand if your programs are really working, consider using real patient-level prescription data (blinded for privacy) that can show you how you are doing to convert patients (beyond just reading offer redemptions) and how well your adherence program is doing. Companies like Crossix offer this type of valuable information. Get feedback from participants and HCP partners. Revise materials and, later, measure again. In this way, RM programs can be made more efficient, effective and important in the overall marketing mix of your brand.

plusComments

* All fields are required.

By on

You may also like