To increase revenue from a particular drug, pharmaceutical marketers have historically relied on moving two main levers: increasing the number of prescriptions that health care providers write and raising prices.
This combination has been an effective approach to date, but this strategy can be boosted even further: Emerging technology can complement this approach by cultivating a loyal population of satisfied patients, thereby creating another powerful means for marketers to deliver results for their brands.
In the results-driven world of pharmaceutical marketing, it can be tough to imagine adding one more area of focus to an already heavy workload. But the dual benefits of better patient outcomes and increasing revenue through greater drug utilization make patient loyalty a worthwhile investment of time and budget.
5 Reasons to Add Patient Loyalty to Your Marketing Mix
Loyal patients who also experience positive results from a particular drug are tethered to that brand. What’s more, their loyalty produces invaluable word-of-mouth marketing messages to other patients.
And that’s just the beginning. Here are 5 of the most compelling benefits of increasing patient loyalty:
- Better patient outcomes. Ongoing engagement with your patients—through tactics such as education and rewards programs—helps them learn more about their disease and your drug and take their medications as prescribed. Patients enjoy better outcomes, develop loyalty to the brand that improved their health, and in turn become more likely to refill and take their prescriptions in the future. In addition, they might develop a dependency on this education outlet for tips on how to manage the symptoms of their disease.
- More revenue for your brand. Estimated losses to potential pharma revenue attributed to nonadherence were $637 billion in 2015 according to a study by Capgemini and HealthPrize. Pharmaceutical marketers can seek to recover these losses by continuously engaging with patients to increase adherence rates, something measurable by prescription refill rates.
- Creates a competitive advantage. Loyal patients are hesitant to switch to competitor brands or generics. Post-prescription, “the key is to increase consumers’ comfort level so they’re resistant to change if faced with the option to switch.”1
- Offers value generics can’t match. When patients accumulate points through loyalty programs such as the ones built with HealthPrize’s platform, they earn real rewards simply by refilling a prescription. A generic alternative won’t come with these benefits, encouraging long-term patient retention.
- Creates brand ambassadors. Patients who believe in your brand will not only continue to take it themselves, they’ll advocate for it to other patients in social media and through associations and support groups. This word-of-mouth promotion could be the best form of marketing, possibly carrying more weight than even a physician’s recommendation.
Loyalty Programs for Pharmaceutical Marketing Success
The tried-and-true pharmaceutical marketing approach becomes more powerful with the addition of medication-adherence programs for increasing patient loyalty. Expanding marketing’s focus to post-prescription behavior increases pharma’s revenue while improving patient outcomes.
- Bolling, Jay. November 2003. Pharmaceutical Executive; Nov 2003, Vol. 23 Issue 11, p110.