February 28, 2023

It’s All About Patients

Butler/Till had the opportunity to attend MediaPost’s Pharma & Health Brand Insider Summit in La Jolla, CA to enjoy a little sunshine and innovation in the middle of winter. We got insider access to the accomplishments, pain-points, opportunities, and future visions of major pharmaceutical brands, hospital systems, and agencies. While the pharma industry may be tethered by regulation and tradition, the speakers from this conference were proof that with a little creativity, empathy, data, and enthusiasm, the opportunities are limitless for the patients that need our care the most.

The Summit was centered around patients and we’re sharing some key takeaways:

Position Your Organization to Best Support Your Patients

Dr. Erica Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer at Genentech, shared the hefty work she and her team of 400 are doing to not only reorganize their marketing department, but make sweeping shifts to their marketing approach. Historically, they would isolate therapeutic knowledge by each brand and use that knowledge to fuel each brand’s individual marketing efforts. Now, they’re moving knowledge and team members across brands, realizing that insights are often shared across brands and indications, allowing them to operationalize a patient-first marketing organizational structure.

Jason Carlton, Communications Manager at Intermountain Healthcare had a significant problem to overcome in recognizing that cardiac patients who would Google search for care close to home would be sent two hours away, when in fact the service they need is right around the corner. By conducting an audit of all the healthcare system names and their internal departmental organization, his team worked to find commonalities and built a naming convention framework that would create consistency and ease for patients. Now, with a clean naming convention in place, his team is currently working to deploy the changes across all internal and external touchpoints: their website, clinic signage, brochures, social media accounts, and more.

Speak Our Patients’ Language, Be Their Trusted Voice

Shirley Lin, Director of DTC Marketing at Dermavant, drew on an actor’s experience who–while wearing makeup on his hands to depict Psoriasis for their VTAMA TV shoot–was stared at by strangers, stating “Imagine how this impacts patients psychologically? The looks of disgust. Can you imagine what this feels like in real life?” Subsequently, the qualitative results from focus groups testing the TV creative validated that patients felt seen and heard, meaning the messaging resonated.

Ellen Gerstein, Digital Communications and Content Marketing Lead at Pfizer utilized her publishing expertise to launch Pfizer’s corporate content marketing strategy to fight medical gaslighting, where patients are stereotyped, misunderstood, or blamed by their healthcare professional. Her team sought to create timely and culturally relevant content to debunk misinformation about vaccines and science with the goal of empowering patients and earning their trust.

Consider Unique Patient Touchpoints to Bolster Brand Trust

Ramon Soto, Chief Marketing Officer at Northwell Health showcased how their rebrand sought to combat localized social issues like gun violence and food deserts by providing unique solutions, beyond healthcare. Their “Doesn’t Kill to Ask” gun violence campaign led to massive partnerships of 157 other hospital systems nationwide. They also hired Michelin-star chefs to reinvent the food served in their hospitals, which led to news coverage from Washington Post, People, and even led to the production of a cookbook.

Providence and Boston Scientific teamed up to bolster both their brands and think beyond traditional media channels by producing their own content and distribution channels. In 2019, they launched “Future of Health Radio,” which is now 18 podcasts distributed through Dash Radio, as well as “His Health,” with 20 podcasts strong.

Utilize Technology and Data to Better Understand Your Patients

Danny Gardner, Analytics Manager, Social Intelligence Lead at Haleon shared how stitching social media data together with AI-powered technology allowed Haleon to not only monitor their brands’ social media activity, but also their competitors, broader health categories, and macro cultural trends to provide powerful data to everyone internally. This reduced their speed-to-insight, allowing them to optimize their digital touchpoints, thus driving better business outcomes.

With plenty of exemplary solutions highlighted at the event, our team at Butler/Till takes pride in our experience providing key services like patient/indication-first marketing strategy, proprietary tools like Edge (our competitive market research tool) and SIM (our media mix modeling tool), and content marketing that position our clients as innovative leaders in their space and most importantly, creating deeper connections with their patients.

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