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

The Real Truth About RealAge

Posted by | 5:04pm on Friday, March 27, 2009

Thanks to RealAge, affiliated pharmaceutical companies can segment potential customers and target them with (hopefully) relevant information. 

RealAge is a popular, free online test for those who dare to learn their biological age. The basic concept of RealAge is that your true biological age may not be the same as your chronological or calendar age. In other words, you may be 35 years old but depending on a number of factors, your body may work like a 25 or 55 year old.

Here’s how it works. RealAge asks you series of questions about your lifestyle and family history. It then determines your biological age based on your answers to these questions. The test is designed to make you aware of factors that can affect your health and ultimately help you be healthier. It’s actually a great concept and has even been featured on Oprah. After all, it must be great if Oprah supports it, right?

But what’s not fully disclosed is that RealAge collects information via its test for pharmaceutical companies. According to an article in The New York Times, pharmaceutical companies pay RealAge to compile the test results of its members to then use the information in their marketing. For example, say a member presents with osteoarthritis symptoms based on his or her answers. A pharmaceutical company can use RealAge to send the member an e-mail or e-newsletter about the disease and suggest a treatment option, usually a medication sponsored by that drug company.

The vice president for marketing at RealAge, Andy Mikulak, tells The New York Times:

“Our primary product is an e-mail newsletter series focused on the undiagnosed at-risk patient, so we know the risk factors if someone is prehypertensive, or for osteoarthritis.”

“At the end of the day, if you want to reach males over 60 that are high blood pressure in northwest Buffalo with under $50,000 household income that also have a high risk of diabetes, you could.”

Know your audience

Thanks to RealAge, affiliated pharmaceutical companies can segment potential customers and target them with (hopefully) relevant information. Different people respond to different messages, so marketers should be as specific as possible when identifying the target audience. Marketers must have an intimate understanding of the people they are trying to reach in order to motivate them to buy their product or service.

This is especially true when marketing around rare disorders. And the online channel provides opportunities to find patients with rare disorders and connect with them. Most Americans search for health information online, and particularly those with rare disorders spend a lot of time on the internet trying to find information and support.

So how can pharma discover their target audience?

By researching and listening. They must go to where the patients are and listen to what they are saying. Read forums, blogs, message boards, and other social media networks in which patients live. Pharma companies can listen to these communities and find out what information patients are craving, any concerns they may have and types of treatments they are on. The better you know your target audience, the easier it will be to reach out to them and essentially grow your business.

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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.

View other posts from Wendy

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    30 March 2009 at 8:03pm
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  • 30 March 2009 at 8:03pm
    @MarketerBlog RT This is kinda ...
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  • 30 March 2009 at 8:03pm
    RT @MarketerBlog: This is kinda ...
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