After every industry conference they crowd your mind and you can’t shake them off. They haunt your marketing plans and drive the thinking of your management team sometimes without any full understanding of their practical implications. What are they? Ghosts! Demons! No, they are the most recent industry buzzword or trend du jour that everyone is talking about the one that has popped up at every conference over the past few years is “beyond the pill” and it was evident again at the 3rd Annual Mobile Pharma Summit in Princeton last week.

The problem with “beyond the pill” is that the pill (or the product/service) is still at the center, when in reality, what should be at the center is the customer. Customer centricity, the customers’ journey and how they choose to engage with our brands essentially create an ominchannel experience that is relevant to their needs or desires from a brand. So why not try “Customers First, Mobile First” as a new marketing mantra? It’s not scary; it’s what we need to do as an industry.

The market is well past the tipping point for healthcare searches being done more in a mobile environment compared to the desktop/laptop setting. We are at the point where “mobile is the enabler” of brand and healthcare engagement. Whether it’s a busy HCP or the digitally connected healthcare consumer, the most important piece of marketing real estate is space on that customer’s or stakeholder’s mobile phone. If you create enough value to earn that real estate you are well beyond the pill…you are in the customer’s daily journey. You are “Customer First, Mobile First.”

Essentially, “Customer First, Mobile First” aims to create “micro moments” at the point of care for both the patient and provider. Smartphones drive the interaction at the pint of care; your mobile strategy is essential at those key healthcare intersections. They are the decision points for your brand in the eyes and phones of your customers. It’s very important to remember that we are not building apps or mobile websites; we are building customer experiences that have a profound impact on their lives. These healthcare experiences ebb and flow. The reality is that an average mobile app has a 9-month life cycle, so changing and planning the mobile experience will be vital to your brand’s success with your customers and stakeholders.

Being “Customer First, Mobile First” will be both a revolution and evolution but it will be part of the conversation in our industry moving forward as the impact of mobile only increases and new devices (Apple Watch and wearables) drive the new mobile healthcare experience. And, hopefully, “Customer First, Mobile First” won’t haunt your marketing plans, but only serve to enhance your presence at the most critical moments in your customer’s journey.


About Kevin T. Dunn

Kevin is a seasoned veteran of life sciences communications with experience across a wide variety of clients, therapeutic areas and communication programs. He has vast experience in brand, digital, CRM and multichannel programs for healthcare professionals, patients and payers alike. Kevin is passionate about bringing together those three key players in all forms of communication to drive better health outcomes and ultimately better marketing ROI for clients. Kevin has written a series of white papers on multichannel marketing to healthcare professionals. He has been a guest lecturer on pharmaceutical marketing at Fairleigh Dickson University and a presenter at MM&M Skill Set Live Workshops in 2013 and 2014. He holds an MBA from Kent State University.

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