We have passed a significant turning point in patient and physician use of mobile for healthcare over the last 12 months. Adoption of everything from mobile web, to apps, to connected devices and services, and mobile advertising have all increased several times over.
So much so, that it’s no wonder the FDA approved almost twice as many mobile apps (76) than pharmaceutical drugs (38) last year, and a full quarter of Americans now trust mobile symptom tracker websites, apps or monitors, as much as they do their physician.
Mobile traffic to brand sites has increased, too -- as much as 200-300% for some brands. Enough so that many have begun to move beyond the pre-mobile marketing models of the past and have shifted to a more mobile integrated – or Mobile+ model, where mobile tools and services work as integrated marketing components plus serve to support prescription of the brand.
To make this shift, many have worked hard to first define mobile’s influence within their respective patient’s journey. But defining and understanding mobile’s relevant points of influence isn’t just about having a mobile presence for people to view when they visit your brand from their couch, kitchen or office. It’s about understanding the role that a smartphone or tablet plays in your patient’s suffering, diagnosis and, hopefully, treatment of the disease your brand supports.
To better understand for your own brand, try this. Clear your desk, turn off the desktop or laptop in your office, and do the following exercises:
1. Imagine you are sitting in your living room watching TV. If you are like up to 65-85% of us, you have a tablet or smartphone next to you. Imagine you just watched a TV spot for the disease your brand treats and the symptoms sound eerily familiar. Fire up the tablet or smartphone and try to find information on the disease, its symptoms and your drug.
Does your brand come up in a mobile search, what ads did you see, did you get to your brand’s website? Could you view it on the mobile, could you use it?
2. Now imagine you are sitting on the exam room table. Your doctor says “I’m sorry, but you have [insert your disease category], I’m going to put you on [insert your drug],” then has to walk out of the room for a moment. Your smartphone is in your hand. Use it to find out what your doctor meant. You have to take what? For how long? Will your insurance cover it?
Your doctor comes back in and hands you a prescription and a little slip of paper with the names of three apps on it. What apps are they? How do they work? Which one is better?
3. Now imagine it is a month later. Did you fill your prescription? Did you start taking it? Is your medication working for you? What changes have you had to make to your routine? What tools or services have you used to make those changes? Who provided you those services?
It is important to understand the challenges your patients face in treating their disease so you can understand how your brand fits into the hands of your target audience.
Developing a Mobile+ approach to marketing isn’t about whether your audience is mobile first (although most likely they are). It’s not about developing a website that can be read on a smartphone, tablet and a desktop. It’s about understanding your customer’s journey and their preferences to use mobile tools and services at different points throughout that journey – from information seeking and decision making, to treatment tracking and management.
When you understand those points, you can provide them with more than just the physical benefits of a pill or treatment – and your brand can go from pill to valued partner.