Forget the end of the world; 2012 could be the year of reckoning for the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.
According to three years of research conducted by marketing consultancy Partners + Simons, only 23% of print and radio advertising from insurance companies was deemed by consumers as credible. (Television advertising didn’t fare much better, at 30%).
“Consumers don’t seem to be willing to take what these companies are saying at face value,” Partners + Simons CEO Tom Simons tells Marketing Daily. “The truth aside, audiences are not generally willing to accept what these advertisers have to say about themselves.”
The same goes for the health care industry, Simons says. With the financial services companies still bearing the brunt of the blame for the 2008 recession and healthcare companies still trying to sort through Congressional reform of their industry, the two sectors have found themselves at a place where they need to work harder to rebuild the trust among consumers, Simons says.
“They have to get back to their element,” he says. “They may have to start over with their value propositions.”
They also need to devote more time and effort to figuring out whether consumers are receiving and believing their messages, Simons says. They can start by closely monitoring social media and online ratings systems, where consumers express unfiltered personal recommendations for everything -- including hospitals, physicians, insurers and banks.
“They can [also] start to measure whether what they say is being believed or not,” Simons says. “They can experiment until they find a campaign that is [viewed by consumers] as a form of credible expression.”
Once they find that form of credible expression, the companies need to be prepared for trust (and business) to rebuild slowly as consumers take their time evaluating them. “They have to make sure what they say is what the public needs to hear,” Simons says. “Ultimately, it’s a couple of years [in process]. In any event, they need to be prepared to wait that long.”