At the end of the day, nearly all marketing efforts are focused on two primary goals: creating new customers, and then, retaining them.
While it can be argued that for its first century marketeering was primary focused on the first part of the equation, it can equally be argued that the next 100 years will be focused on the second. Retaining customers by enabling and rewarding consumer loyalty is one of best applications of digital and social media (see Jacob Jaffe’s excellent book, Flip the Funnel, for more on this trend).
But for Pharma markets, customer loyalty contains an additional dimension that marketers in other industries don’t have to worry about: compliance. Even after a patient has visited a doctor and filled a prescription (which is the Pharma equivalent of a new customer acquisition), he or she often does not take the medication as directed or refill it as needed. In many ways, lack of compliance is a form of weak customer loyalty. But not only does this lack of loyalty signal lost sales, it more important could affect the recovery time, health, and well-being of the patient.
Enter “Death of the Demo; Rise of Branded Tutorial” at a SXSW Interactive panel by Joshua Rosenbaum. Mr. Rosenbaum holds the title of Minister of Education at MailChimp.com an email marketing services. Yea, I know what you are thinking: What could a company called “Mailchimp.com” possibility teach Pharma about prescription drug compliance? Actually a lot. MailChimp is one of many of email marketing services available to brand and agencies with one distinction: they invest as much time and money on educating their customers in how to use their products as they do on actually acquiring customers in the first place.
Believe it or not, email marketing isn’t easy. In fact, it can be quite complex. And usually, whenever a company tries to explain how to use a complex product to a customer, one thing is sure to happen: they bore them. While print ads get all the money and the attention, the instruction manuals are often nothing more than a budgetary after thought.
Not at Mailchimp.com. At MailChimp, the company not only relies on video tutorials instead of written words to train and educate its customers, it approaches the training video with the same level of production quality, creativity, and investment as went into the actual product it is training for.
Consider this 5 minute video tutorial MailChimp created to train its users on how NOT to create email marketing messages that could be considered as spam by email filter algorithms. Not the sexiest of subjects, but I challenge you not to be entertained and educated by the below video:
Now, compare the above video to this a very well written, all text guide on the very same subject created by Enterprenuer.com. I think it goes without saying which methodology is more effective for getting its point across.
During his talk, Mr. Rosenbaum noted that video viewing online has surged from 28 to 53 percent of total online activities in the past 3 years. With the rise of smartphone, wireless broadband and the new mobile platforms, such as the iPad, this trend is only going to increase. Increasingly, Rosenbaum says, videos are going to overtake text as the dominant training and education platform.
Rosenbaum listed several principles of what makes a branded tutorial effective. Sadly, of the few Pharma tutorial videos I have seen, very few of them seemed to follow any of the below rules:
An effective branded tutorial must have:
- Quality – People will appreciate quality. If it isn’t consistent or well-planned—it will not work (i.e. patients will not learn why it’s essential that they take a specific RX as prescribed)·
- A purpose – Each video much have an explicit purpose for what you want people to do and or of what kind of behavior you are trying to affect. If you put up something for people to learn something, then you need to make sure they indeed do.
- Entertainment – Your goal is not only to educate your audience, but to entertain them as well. Your branded tutorial video must grab them initially in a few seconds…put in something memorable to ensure they watch longer…constantly struggle to keep them watching the video
- High quality sound – Audio is often more important that what you see. Make it NPR-level vocal quality. People have a hearing threshold for badly shot video with great video than vice versa, primarily because you can’t turn your ear off.
- Natural dialogue – The script (and yes, Pharma video explaining the importance of compliance should have a script as well as narrative and yes, even “characters”) need to be natural and sound real. Pharma legal review boards: please take note.
- Camera movement – the best way to bore your audience with an instructional video is to give them a single camera frame that does not change for the duration of the video. Panning, cuts, and different camera angels are all essential components of effective branded tutorials.
- Metrics – the majority of online video hosting sites provide metrics on not only how many video views your video has had, but how they found the video, whether or not someone watched the entire thing, where they dropped off, and where they reviewed. Like all things digital, perpetual beta is essential with creating effective video tutorials. Constantly analyzing and learning from metrics is the only way to ensure you get it right.
WITHOUT A DOUBT the budget to create videos of the above caliber for customer post-purchase is not part of the Pharma’s marketing spreadsheets. But they most certainly are pre-purchase. I am by no means saying that Pharma should stop creating TV commercials. But with DTAC advertising and traditional TV push models proving less and less effective, it’s time for marketers to consider other methods of creating and retaining customers. After all, if Pharma is willing to spend so much money to get the patient to see the doctor, shouldn’t it spend just as much (or nearly as much) to ensure they follow the doctor’s orders?