Tactile Marketing: The New Killer App in Healthcare?

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In the digital-centric 21st century world that we now live, communication seems to have distanced itself from actual “talk” and ventured into non-vocal forms such as emails, texts and digital messaging.

That’s why when you walk into most doctors’ offices today; you’re inundated with point-of-care companies getting their message out through digital video displays in the waiting room, iPads in exam rooms, and interactive wallboards throughout the facility.

However, the doctor’s office is one of the last places where two-way voice communication and educational tools are actually welcomed by both parties, as there’s a trust and personal connection between doctors and patients that warrant this “old school” kind of thinking. That can be quite impactful for RX and OTC point-of-care marketing.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently conducted a survey that found when physicians share information with their patients it opens a dialogue between doctor and patient, which builds trust and leads to more motivated and adherent patients. Additionally, it enables patients to feel empowered and be more willing to discuss topics that may be difficult for them.

This open dialogue between doctor and patient creates an ideal opportunity for a company to get important information about its products out to the general public in a way that has been proven to be more effective than digital means. By empowering doctors to talk one-on-one with a patient about relevant RX and OTC products, treatments and services, you’re ensuring that the information is delivered, rather than hoping they will engage with messages on phones or tablets or notice in office digital signage.

Plus, unlike seeing something on a screen or sign, if a patient wants to know more or has immediate questions, all they need to do is ask, rather than having to navigate whatever website, contact or digital channel is listed by other platforms.

Today more than ever, physicians and their staff are playing a critical role in the education of the patient, and that includes introducing them to some of the latest treatments, technologies and products that make their own health journey a more informed and comfortable one.

For example, at Brandperx, we offer a patient activation bag program, which is hung in the exam room and sets in motion a conversation between a healthcare provider and his or her patient. The bag includes a starter kit from the brand consisting of information, a coupon and often a sample, making it very easy for a doctor to locate and share these resources directly with their patients and have an open talk about what’s inside.
Picture this, an expectant mother goes to visit her OBGYN, and notices the patient activation bag displayed in the office or the healthcare provider brings it to her after the exam. The bags are hand-delivered to them by their trusted provider, resulting in a powerful implied endorsement and active brand discussion.

Studies have shown that this leads to greater engagement about a product, and that doctor recommendations drive consumers down the path to purchase. Additionally, physicians become more knowledgeable about these products and wind up recommending them more often.

Of course, capturing the interest of a patient often depends on the generation they are from. Speaking to a Millennial is not the same as discussing something with a Gen Xer, Baby Boomer or older patient from the Silent Generation, which is why physicians — and their support staff —should understand how to connect best with each.

Millennials don’t like to waste time. They want their information quick and to the point. This generation is also used to reviewing a wide range of options, with transparency and detailed information, before making any purchasing decisions. A doctor should quickly mention the product, why he recommends it and talk a little about why it’s better than others out there. He might also need to point them in the direction of some digital reviews, because Millennials love reading Internet reviews.

For Baby Boomers, a longer conversation with more questions should be expected. This generation is eager to learn and appreciates a face-to-face conversation rather than just an email. Physicians should expect to go into a deeper discussion than they would with Millennials about the benefits of the product and be prepared to give them stats or any data they may have.

Traditionalists, those born between 1922 and 1945, are more skeptical about technology and aren’t likely to be persuaded by digital signage and messaging. They have a penchant for details and want more than just bells and whistles. A doctor might be best to start off with a general anecdote or story about someone who has found success with the product, capturing their interest and creating a reason to try it themselves.

The old adage of “talk is cheap” couldn’t be more wrong in this case. Helping doctors and their staff open up discussions and further an already deep connection, point-of-care messaging in this way becomes the new “killer app”.

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