By getting to know their consumers better, pharmaceutical and health plan executives will be able to deliver effective marketing messages and give customers what they expect. Beyond traditional demographics such as household income, a new report from Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) finds that consumer data on technology and health attitudes will make channel choices and messages more effective. The annual Forrester Healthcare Summit “Drug Marketing Gets Personal” is taking place in Miami October 21-22.

“Ford Motor Company knows who owns its cars; Fidelity knows who owns its mutual funds; but pharmaceutical companies do not know which patients use their drugs,” said Michael J. Barrett, senior analyst at Forrester Research. “With privacy laws so protective, and hospitals and doctors working independently of each other, pharma firms lag behind other industries in understanding their consumers. In the midst of a recession, it’s critical that marketing messages be heard loud and clear and through the most effective channels.”

In a Technographics® survey of more than 5,000 users, Forrester tracked consumer attitudes and behavior for a number of technology- and health-related factors and found that they are specific to various diseases. For example, heart disease patients and cancer patients are demographically similar. Yet, heart patients, once online, are more technology-literate than cancer patients — 16 percent are more likely to download software, 18 percent are more likely to purchase online, and 40 percent are more likely to use broadband. By understanding relative levels of technology adoption, drug marketers are able to choose the right channels through which to send their messages.

The survey also found that data on consumer health attitudes and behavior vary as well. Diabetics, for example, are more dependent on their physicians than arthritis patients, despite demographic similarities. As a result, marketers’ messages should invoke diabetics’ trust in their doctors. A full summary of the survey results, as well as recommendations for pharmaceutical and health plan executives, is available in the October 2002 Forrester Report “DTC Drug Marketing: Beyond Demographics

“Our upcoming Healthcare Summit will focus in great detail on individual consumer needs and preferences, which will clear a path for health plan and pharma markets to have greater influence,” added Barrett. “With our industry-leading guest speakers, we will outline best practices in using consumer data to gain consumer intimacy, bolster product sales, and better target new treatments.”

Industry speakers include:

  • Eric S. Elliott, President, Tel-Drug and CIGNA Pharmacy Management Organization, CIGNA HealthCare
  • Jeffrey M. Kern, Director of Gastroenterology, TAP Pharmaceuticals
  • Roger C. Holstein, CEO, WebMD Health, Member of the Office of the President, WebMD Corp.
  • Anne Devereux, President, DVC ActiveCare, DVC Worldwide
  • John N. Hallick, President and CEO, CPM Marketing Group

Key takeaways:

  • What data practices appropriately balance personalization with privacy to make drug marketing more effective?
  • What new technologies should your organization implement to unlock the value of consumer data?
  • What are the limits of consumer drug marketing? And which firms are successfully using it to influence consumer’s drug preferences?

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