With the start of the year and the latest tidal wave of weight-loss resolutions, wearable technology has been thrust into the spotlight in a major way. Through consumer-friendly, phone-interfaced gadgets like the Fitbit and the Nike Fuelband, health-conscious users are more in tune with their efforts to live well than ever before. What does this mean for you, as a pharmeceutical industry marketer? A whole new world of opportunities to connect, capitalize and latch on to the trend's metoric rise, bringing your brand along for the ride.
More Accurate Healthcare
Add a human element into statistics and health questions and you'll inevitably have to balance it out with error, forgetfulness and even fibbing for the sake of saving face. Wearable tech is an undeniable and trustworthy source of important patient trends, such as:
- Hydration Levels
- Movement Frequency
- Sleep Cycles
- Heart Rate, and
- Treatment Reminders
These data points help doctors better narrow down the causes and triggers of an ailment, and with more diagnosis accuracy, more clear-cut cases of pharmaceutical needs arise. Your brands can be prescribed sooner and make more of a difference in mitigating or eliminating symptoms, thus increasing beneficial word of mouth and success perception spread. Even if your product does not end up being the right solution for a patient, trials and doctor queries are bound to increase as consumers have unprecedented access to the workings - or maladies - of their own body's performance. This awareness will also serve to intensify the effects of media marketing across multiple channels, as self-knowledge of medical data becomes as common as owning a microwave or a wi-fi router in homes across America.
The Comfort of Familiarity
Televisions can be turned off, pop-up blockers can thwart online advertising efforts, and filters make wide-band email marketing a challenge, if not impossible. Cell phones, however, are a major part of most wearable tech users' daily routines, and remain a somewhat-unsullied media venue that still has the potential to reach customers without being buried in spam. By advertising through the same device used for business, chatting with friends, frequent texting and, yes, checking that handy wearable technology app, you stand a better chance at catching your customer's ears and eyes. The competitive element of sports and exercise is alive and well in these wearable device apps, allowing users to compare their calories burned or mile times with in-app friends or nearby averages with a tap or two. As the integration of lifestyle and wearable device apps continues, there's one outcome that seems inevitable..
Building brand awareness where your product's target symptoms are likely to manifest is just good marketing. As wearable tech becomes more widespread, don't be surprised to see one of the frontrunning brands offering pharma advertising partnerships. Imagine, if you will, the incredible power of in-the-moment connections with a consumer that needs your brand:
Rachel interfaces her wearable fitness band with her phone in the morning, just as she always does. However, an indicator tells her that, despite her very light workout and cooldown, her pulse is too high again, as it has been for the last several days. On her interface app, an ad pops up advertising a blood pressure lowering medication, along with contact information for her doctor's office, pulled into the app's interface during her last appointment there.
Pharmaceutical products, just like any products, require a great deal of research and development in their marketing approach to enjoy success in a crowded market. As much as partnerships are a logical conclusion of the spread of wearable fitness, so is the availability of the data these devices collect. Data points as simple as the number of wearable technology users in a metro area can help guide marketing efforts. When added to richer data such as user ages, activity levels and reporting frequencies, a marketing framework emerges that will save countless hours and budget dollars by preventing "wide net" strategies that, themselves, are still used - expensively, one might add - to determine the same narrowing of demographic statistics. Whether this data will be bundled and sold wholesale to interested parties or if clever research firms can simply mine the statistics that many users cheerfully make available on exercise brag sites remains to be seen. Either way, the possibilities these data sets offer will, once they become mainstream, completely alter the ease and efficiency of pharma marketing for the better.
For more information on how new technologies are impacting pharmaceutical marketing, join us at the premiere educational event of the year - iPharma 2014- Inspiring Innovation, Intelligence and Insight in a Marketer's World to be held May 8-9, 2014 in New York City.
(Image courtesy of janitors via Flickr)