A blog exploring pharmaceutical relationship marketing, emarketing and innovation with a focus on rare disorders.
The convergence of rare disease, digital communications, and pharmaceutical marketing communications

Integrate Traditional and Digital Media for Rare Disorders

Posted by | 5:04pm on Tuesday, May 19, 2009

For marketers, this means all of your traditional marketing efforts should be coordinated with your digital efforts. 

When it comes to marketing, there is nothing more powerful than face-to-face communication. Traditional marketing in health care usually means creating brochures, sending out sales reps to talk to specialists and hosting various in-person meetings.  However, many marketers are realizing the need for increased digital media and shifting more of their budgets to the online channel. This is particularly important for marketing therapies that treat rare disorders. In the world of rare disorders, traditional marketing must be well integrated with digital marketing since most rare disorder patients are online throughout their patient journey. Here are two important insights that make traditional and digital marketing a little different when focused on a rare disorder:

  1. According to the PEW Internet Study, patients and caregivers with chronic disorders are online.  Even if they are at the lower end of the social spectrum or more advanced in age, they crave support and information about their rare disorders which they cannot find anywhere else.  There is every reason to suspect that patients with rare chronic disorders are online even more.
  2. For marketers, this means all of your traditional marketing efforts should be coordinated with your digital efforts. Having a page on your website that a brochure refers to is not enough — you must have a cohesive measurable strategy with the digital relationship front and center.

  3. Patients/caregivers must take control of their own health care more than usual because healthcare providers frequently don’t have the bandwidth to keep current on their disorders.
  4. For marketers, this means writing copy for patients that is not as “patient friendly”. Patients and caregivers with rare disorders tend to be very well informed and need the technical facts and crave as much information as they can get. It also means pharma has an opportunity online to form a direct relationship with the patients/caregivers because it can fill a need for information and/or support that may not be available elsewhere.

According to a joint study by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), only 7% of US marketers were very satisfied with their progress integrating online and traditional media. This study is not directed at healthcare directly but these issues are universal.

    Satifaction Level of US Marketers with Integration of Traditional and Digital Media

Fully 52% of the respondents were only somewhat satisfied, and 31% were dissatisfied to at least some degree.

According to the ANA study, overall there is a reluctance to move marketing dollars from tried-and-true practices into newer digital vehicles — coupled with a lack of understanding of digital media on the part of senior management.  For companies marketing therapies that treat rare disorders, these are critical issues.

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(Image courtesy of Elsie esq. via Flickr)

About Wendy White

Since founding Siren Interactive in 1999, Wendy has been recognized as a thought leader at the intersection of niche pharma brands, patient empowerment and online marketing. Her vision for how the internet can facilitate interactions and provide crucial information that patients, caregivers and their healthcare providers previously struggled to find has propelled Siren to the forefront of relationship marketing for rare disorder therapies.

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  • Wendy White
Siren Interactive
  • Siren Interactive
  • Rare Disease Relationship Marketing Experts
  • 626 West Jackson Blvd, Suite 100
  • Chicago, IL 60661
  • 312.204.6700
  • 866.502.6714 (Toll Free)
  • www.sireninteractive.com