How OTC brands can find opportunities in the doctor’s office

You might not realize it, but Tom Finn is in your medicine cabinet. The former president of P & G’s global personal health care business is one of the most experienced and distinguished marketers in consumer health.

With consumer interest in health booming, today there are incredible opportunities for over-the-counter (OTC) marketers to generate significant growth for their brands, but only if they look in the right places. . I sat down with Tom to hear his take on this growth potential and the innovative strategies all marketers should include in their plans.

Linda Ruschau: You have contributed to significant growth in the consumer healthcare market during your time at P&G. Is this level of growth sustainable today?

Tom Finn: I am often asked this question. I believe the consumer healthcare market can and will maintain strong growth for years to come, but only if marketers are prepared to embrace innovative tactics beyond traditional means. During my 13 year tenure as the head of Procter & Gamble’s global OTC business, we have seen the consumer healthcare market grow by 4-5% per year, and I believe it can continue to grow. do so for the foreseeable future.

Ruschau: Build a little more on it. What do you mean by “innovative tactics”?

Finnish: When I say innovative, I don’t necessarily mean new. There are some high-performing tactics that have been around for decades and remain largely underutilized by mainstream health marketers today. A good example is getting the referral from the healthcare professional. In my opinion, this is the most effective and sustainable way to attract new consumers to a healthcare market. It makes sense that a healthcare professional with intimate knowledge of the health condition and medical needs of their patients would be in the best position to connect people with consumer healthcare solutions. It’s a tactic I’ve used for many of my P&G brands, but I’m still surprised that not all marketers capitalize on the value it offers.

Ruschau: Thanks to the pandemic, the access of OTC marketers to healthcare professionals has become even more restricted and prohibitive. How can marketers effectively reach these professionals for a recommendation?

Finnish: I agree – today it’s hard to replicate the pro-driven success models of brands like Advil, Tylenol, Flonase or PreserVision, to name a few. Few mainstream healthcare companies have access to or can afford a large sales force or to offer vendor details i.e. visits to healthcare practices to educate physicians or make prescriptions available to them to offer as treatments to their patients. It’s harder than ever to have time with healthcare professionals, and it’s also difficult and / or expensive to identify and target consumers with specific health concerns through digital or social media approaches. Good luck trying to outbid an Rx company for popular search terms like diabetes, arthritis, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Another way to cultivate professional endorsement of consumer health solutions is through the use of physician office or “point of care” engagement solutions. Consider the educational and awareness video tools featured in doctor’s office waiting rooms, examination rooms, and in the back office.

Having an office presence allows you to reach your target consumers with a specific and highly valuable message at a time when information is extremely relevant and a priority for them. Your post can empower them to take action by asking healthcare providers or their staff about the value of a product and ultimately buying it. On the other hand, most doctors and nurses take the time to be aware of the information presented to patients in their offices and examination rooms. So, with these cabinet engagement programs, you can reach and influence healthcare professionals without detailing them.

In addition, these engagement programs can help achieve and maintain the most important goals. Physician Recommended Claim # 1 is used on packaging and in advertisements. In my experience, I have always found that the use of a product initiated by a doctorThis recommendation was much stronger and much more durable than the usage generated strictly by mainstream advertising or public relations.

Ruschau: Which segments of the consumer healthcare market can benefit the most from a growth engine of professional referral?

Finnish: All! There is significant growth potential in all major segments of the consumer health market, whether it is the treatment of acute conditions, self-management of chronic conditions, or the improvement, prevention segment. and well-being.

There is also significant growth potential in encouraging consumers with chronic conditions to use over-the-counter products earlier in their treatment as well as throughout the course of treatment, as many still commit too late or at a dose and / or a sub-optimal duration.

Ruschau: One final tip for consumer health marketers today?

Finnish: For most of my career, I pushed the consumer health marketers who worked for me to identify, target, and cultivate new users of their products, not just focus on market share. I believe the potential for market expansion remains immense in almost all segments of consumer health, and the benefits we could and should provide to consumers remain significant and important. We can expand all of our consumer health segments by simply educating consumers and their influencers about the potential uses, proven benefits, and proper administration of our existing products and regimens.

My other long-standing tip for consumer health marketers is to harness and cultivate the unique and enduring power of professional training and referrals. Although underutilized, it remains the most proven, effective and sustainable method for expanding consumer health categories.

For more information from Tom Finn, download the white paper “An Untapped Strategy for Sustainable Brand Growth: The Value of Professional Recommendations”.

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About Alex S. Crone

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