health education

'Risk'y Business: GeneType Sets Consumer Campaign

Genetic tests, as sold D2C by startup brand GeneType, can indicate your risk for developing specific major diseases.

This week, though, GeneType begins another type of test: of its first consumer ad campaign.

In ongoing conversation with Marketing Daily, GeneType strategic advisor and director Malcolm Bohm was reticent to provide much info about specific messaging and content being tested, but did state a likely campaign title: “Predict Your Risk.” That’s precisely what the tests do, he explained: “predict the likelihood of a higher risk in the near term, meaning five years, 10 years, or lifetime.

Or the title could be “Know Your Risk,” which is also the name of a women’s health event GeneType will hold next month in partnership with patient advocacy group Humanise Health.

The women’s angle makes sense, since breast cancer and ovarian cancer are two of the nine risk assessment tests GeneType currently sells. The others: coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, pancreatic cancer, melanoma, colorectal cancer and, for men only, prostate cancer.



GeneType’s methodology combines a genomic hereditary aspect, conducted via a cheek swab, with non-hereditary clinical info based on medical history. With ovarian cancer, for example, Bohn says that questions could include “Have you borne children? How many have you borne? Were they caesarian or normal delivery?, etc.”

Bohm says the key aims of the digital campaign being tested will be twofold: first, making people aware “that there’s actually a set of tests” that can indicate health risks, and second, “if they’re shown to be at risk…they should go for early diagnostics.”

He stressed the “differentiation between risk and early detection,” and also GeneType’s desire to help people be more vigilant and reduce their risks.

In particular, he said, such conditions as coronary heart disease, AFib and diabetes are “pretty much lifestyle diseases” for which people can choose to “make better decisions because you’re at a higher likelihood of getting these lifelong dangerous diseases.”

Media-wise, the new campaign will include paid, earned organic, influencer-created content, and search engine marketing.

Paid social media will center on Meta platforms, Bohm reveals, with possible use of TikTok for awareness and education.

Bohm says GeneType plans to develop communities to “drive engagement, brand equity, brand awareness and trust.” The company will “use the audiences that we aggregate, primarily on Facebook, to build look-alike audiences and drive greater scale,” he adds.

Targeting different audiences based on condition, he says, “we’ll be grabbing for example, women, who have survived breast cancer or decided to take a radical mastectomy to avoid breast cancer, and so on.”

He continues, “We may create an audience, let’s say, of women that are aged 35 and older that are known to have families that have high household incomes -- and then in areas where there’s potentially a higher incidence of a disease.”

From there, he explains, GeneType can see “what they’re doing online, what places they’re visiting, how they are interacting socially, are they following influencers that are talking about breast cancer, and so on.”

He adds, “We [will] use a lot of user-generated content because that’s what happens in our communities. There are a lot of those creators out there, aka influencers, with slightly smaller audiences that are very, very vocal and have very, very loyal followings.”

As to measurement, “at the end of the day, I don’t care what your cost-per-click is, your bounce rate, or how many visitors you get to the website. Those are just leading metrics for what is ultimately what we care about -- we’ve got to sell the tests,  and sell any or all of them in big volumes. The one [metric] we really care about is sales.”

All sales made through the D2C portal (GeneType also sells through healthcare providers) must occur via a telehealth visit. A single test costs $249, or $199 if everything is paid at checkout. There are also multitest packages, geared to either males or females, that cost $495 each.

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