Dec 10, 2011

Mobile marketing trends for healthcare

This is amazing. An ABI research study is making the following predication: The health mobile application market will grow to over $400 million by 2016 – up from just $120 million in 2010.

According to the research, much of that growth will be spurred by the ability of mobile handsets to easily connect to wearable devices that in turn can deliver new functionality, accuracy, and appeal to sports and fitness applications. Pharma should be developing mobile marketing capabilities NOW instead of waiting to play catch up.Today, a third screen is coming into prominence in marketing – the mobile device, often a smartphone – and this has the potential to be a game changer. Why? Customers can communicate easily with each other and share information and opinions in real time and at the point of purchase. This requires fully interactive “pull it forward” style marketing. The challenge and opportunity for marketers is to become part of these mobile conversations and to add value to them.
Under the Web based model, people visited a Web site and interacted. Mobile is partly about doing that but it’s more about tapping into technology-based platforms while on the move, Smartphone users want to download and then use specific, customized features – which is where applications or “apps” come in.
In the old days, consumers would sit down at home and watch a TV program, a movie or some other type of entertainment program. It would be watched from beginning to end in one sitting. Mobile users approach media consumption differently. They want to have the ability to watch snippets of content here and there in small chunks, and to be more selective about what is watched. Apps allow consumers to pick and choose how and when they watch video with much more control.
Mobile is not just another sales or marketing channel. It is transformational because it takes customer engagement to another level. As the customer is well and truly in the driver’s seat. m-Commerce requires that companies provide clear value to customers. In the short term that may mean discounts or coupons but ultimately, mobile customers will expect companies to engage them in ways which will genuinely add value.
There is already a well-established base of mobile customers around the world. The distinguishing feature of mobile marketing, however, is the fact the m-powered customer decides how he or she wants to relate to a company. There is no one-size-fits-all approach which a marketer can tap into. Instead, the way forward is to try lots of different ideas and then be prepared to scale up what works. The traditional process of creating a product and then doing a major launch event just won’t work here. You have to test-learn-and-evolve.
To create mobile applications DTC marketers have to 
(1) Conduct extensive research with your audience to learn what is important to THEM.
(2) Conduct usability studies to ensure mobile apps perform up to consumers expectations.
(3) Work with a vendor who can clearly help you draw the line between ROI and mobile apps.
(4) Ensure that you have a strategic relationship with a mobile vendor so that apps can be updated as needed and work on a variety of mobile platforms.
The time to develop capabilities is now but my guess is that with budget cuts and layoffs pharma will once again be playing catch up to a train that has already left the station.