Three Wise Dames

Marketing in the Life Science Industry

Did Kaiser Permanente THRIVE? May 29, 2013

KP - ThriveHave you ever met anyone who doesn’t love Kaiser Permanente’s THRIVE campaign? I haven’t. So when I had the opportunity to hear the insiders’ perspective of the campaign from Angela Zepeda, Managing Director of Campbell Ewald Los Angeles, and Kaiser Permanente’s Lisa Ryan, Executive Director of National Advertising, at a recent Healthcare PR and Marketing Association meeting in Los Angeles, I jumped at the chance. Here’s a little insight into this highly memorable brand campaign.

Kaiser began developing its new brand campaign at a time when HMOs were truly hated. Because the organization stood for the largest example of an HMO, it was often the target of a negative backlash – even though Kaiser defines itself as an integrated delivery network and has hospitals and a physician group (in California, anyway — its models in other states are different).

Research-based Strategic Insights

Kaiser started with extensive research:

  • As in any brand initiative, they first looked internally to what the Kaiser Permanente brand stood for: Health advocates dedicated to your health and well-being. They believed that this legacy is consistent with the organization’s mission and values today — it stood the test of time.
  • They also looked externally:
    • Competitive research showed that, at the time, no company was talking about health vs. healthcare.
    • They learned that what mattered most to their target consumer audiences was the concept: No matter what, I want to be as healthy as I can be. This crossed all stages of life, and the target’s psychographic profile was more important than its wide-ranging demographic profile.

In fusing the internal and external findings together, what came out was THRIVE. By taking a fun, lighthearted approach to talk about all the things you can do to take better care of yourself, Angela and Lisa emphasized that it was a reinterpretation of Total Health.

Creative Delivery

A brand is the accumulation of experiences and interactions with an organization, and Angela and Lisa said they made the care delivery organization align behind and promise to deliver on the brand story they wanted to tell.

The strategic tenets of the campaign are and remain:

  • Reinvent the language
  • Redefine the system
  • Champion the cause

For example, the campaign will never show a doctor in a traditional exam room or hospital setting – that is, if they show a doctor at all. Instead, it’s about the patient, the member or prospective member. For example, in 2007 Kaiser aired a really memorable ad about taking better care of yourself that featured a cute, chubby little boy. It never mentioned childhood obesity, but that’s what it was really about, and about raising healthy, active kids.

While we may remember the TV spots best, the campaign was fully integrated across communications disciplines. From turning pillars in an airport waiting area into giant redwoods to hosting farmer’s markets at its medical centers, THRIVE and the team behind it found creative ways to emphasize what the brand was all about: Total Health.

Results

So, over the years since the campaign launched in 2004, has it achieved the desired marketing results? Angela and Lisa report the answer (and I admire them for sharing the reality), based on continued research and evaluation, as yes and no:

  • Yes, the brand perception of Kaiser Permanente improved tremendously since the campaign began.
  • No, it has not moved the needle much in terms of growth in membership. The research shows that only 38% of respondents would “consider joining” – a number that they still consider low.

Lessons Learned

Here are a few more insights that Angela and Lisa shared:

  • The campaign emphasized behavior change and health advocacy. However, Kaiser and Campbell Ewald learned that care delivery messages have a greater effect on some of the key attributes target consumers value, even though they don’t move the brand. In the future, the THRIVE campaign will focus on both health advocacy and care delivery, but still follow the strategic tenets. They’ll talk more about integration and coordinated care, like they did with this spot.
  • Social media was happening whether Kaiser liked it or not, so now they need to develop a strategy.
  • They see a continued growth in digital ad spend with more sophisticated planning across platforms.

Since its rollout in 2004, THRIVE has successfully helped Kaiser Permanente stand out from the “sea of sameness” that existed. Many health organizations are now focusing on their brands in the age of the ACA, and delivering a wellness message. Kaiser has a huge headstart due to its long-term investment.

Additional Resources

Five Lessons from Kaiser Permanente’s THRIVE Campaign

Campbell Ewald THRIVE Case Study

© 2013, Merryman Communications, All Rights Reserved

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May I have your attention, PLEEEAASSE?! September 30, 2010

If only we would stand still! Or

better yet – be consistently

predictable. So lamented my

client regarding their efforts to

sell products and services to

women. It seems that women

are everywhere – literally.

And yet, we ‘all’ are not in

everyplace. There is no one

place to find us. Therefore,

getting our attention, let

alone keeping it, is no small

challenge. Seth Godin posted

on the value of someone’s attention

(I’m paraphrasing here) under the

same post title. It is well worth

reading, as he describes how precious

a commodity is our individual

attention – making the compelling

point that it isn’t free. There is

a lot of competition for our attention.

As a mini experiment I tracked my

activities for one day to identify

how much of my time and attention

was available for promotional contacts of products and services. It turns out, not much. My day looked like the following:

  • Upright and dressed at 5:30a.m.
    • Note:  not particularly alert and NOT an early morning person
  • 30 minute walk – still dark outside
  • Breakfast at 6:30a.m., no background noise
  • Email at 7:00a.m.
    • Note: now alert, but quite yet at peak attention
  • Project work on computer 8:30a.m. – noon
    • attention at highest focus
    • some web searching, project related
    • Intermittent interruptions and phone calls
  • Stop  for lunch at  noon – radio in the background
  • Back to work on the computer 12:45p.m., no background noise
  • Client call at 2:30p.m.
  • Back to computer at 3:30p.m.
  • Errands to grocery store, bank and stop at neighbors’ at 5:45p.m.
  • Dinner preparation at 6:45p.m., dinner at 7:15p.m.
  • Clean kitchen, do laundry, read the paper, answer email at 8:00p.m.
  • Interact with family at 8:30p.m., watch 15 minutes of  Charlie Rose
  • ‘just-15-minutes-more-on-the-project-turned-hour’ on the computer at 9:15p.m.
  • Ready for bed at 10:15p.m.
  • Final chapter in the book of the week, month, who knows how long ago I started it…at 10:35p.m.
  • Asleep, probably at 10:40p.m.

When I looked at the places, activities, time frames and focus of one day, it became apparent, that unless a product/service was essential to me, and I knew about it, and it was in my path, it would go unknown. Therefore it would not be purchased or experienced.

This was one day, not all days are as well structured as that day was, some are more chaotic or disjointed. I don’t have children at home to further distract my attention, it can only be more of a challenge for women who do. I know through discussions with many a woman friend, colleague, relative and acquaintance, their days are similarly busy. As illustrated above, we have a lot of balls in the air, all the time. We rarely have free time where our attention is not otherwise diverted.

As noted in Seth’s post, our time is not free, as it turns out, in either of two dimensions.

A woman’s day is literally filled to the brink with activities and responsibilities. Precious little

time during a day is free from other thinking, doing or being activities.  Secondly, because

our days are not free filled, getting our attention – taking our time, will require

some effort and thus expense on the part of the pursuer.  Free time – NOT, times two.

Women are not going to readily deviate from a proven path or reliable schedule that gets us through a day, accomplishing the critical ‘must-do’ activities that facilitate our arrival at the desired finish line – our pillows. So what’s a marketer to do to get us to notice products and services? Where indeed can a marketer be that we will see their wares. [Rhythm and rhyme pure luck!]

I imagine such a place would resemble the image I have of an Egyptian bazaar. A place that has everything in a vast array of colors, sizes, styles, at every price point and in great abundance. However, no one location exists where all women visit and all marketers are present. Nor does it make sense that such place exist as women are not identical to one another.

It makes sense then to be ‘where’ we are, particularly when the introduction of new products and services are concerned.  We are at home, at work, preparing for presentations, in meetings, in our cars, on planes, at the store, bank, dry cleaners. We use computers and telephones.  We I listen to the radio, watch some network TV programs, read the paper and hard copy books.  And many of us also use new technologies – that allow us to eliminate the ‘noise’ of advertising.

Reaching us and getting our attention is not easy. There is not just one place. Our time is not free. And when we encounter and try new products and services, it will be because good marketers understand it is worth their effort and expense to be where we are.

Note:  If you know the illustrator to whom attribution can be assigned for the graphic in this post, please let me know.

(c) 2010 pH Consulting

 

In the beginning… July 14, 2010

PSB Church

During a recent discussion about when to hire marketing personnel, my client responded with ‘we’re not really ready for marketing’. This comment struck me odd, as I had been working with them on market development and marketing strategy. So I probed the thinking behind the comment. The client replied ‘we are not ready to roll out the product yet, so we don’t need advertising’.

In discussion with colleagues I’ve found that this thinking is not uncommon, and that many companies associate the term marketing with advertising and little else. It seems that what marketing is – is bewildering to some; sales and marketing are often used interchangeably when discussing customer interaction.

Peter Drucker is credited with the following quote; “Because its purpose is to create a customer, the business has two – and only two – functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation create value, all the rest are costs.”

That quote perfectly defines my belief about business and marketing. I have long worked in marketing, the world of art and science blended to connect with and serve a customer.  I love that marketing consists of a wide breadth of functions and is core to a business.

The very definition of marketing through the four P’s defines the necessity of marketing early on and throughout the course of the product life.

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion

While promotion is very important to the mix, it is the last in the list to master – and so much more successful if the other three are well attended to with hard core professional marketing.

Marketing happens in the earliest stages of a company.  An idea, a product concept or a service is presented to investors for early stage financing support, this is concept marketing.  Demographics, profiles and current practices provide a backdrop against which a new product or service is contrast; this is market definition.  Investigation into customer needs, behaviors, and loyalties is market research.

Marketing continues throughout the development phase of products and services, with a product requirements document, this is product marketing. Branding, product naming, product promotion, product training and service are all marketing functions.  All customer support and engagement are marketing. Public relations, education and training, pricing and promotion and market development are all marketing functions.  Even the discontinuation of a product or service is a marketing function.

Eric Brody, author of the blog Healthy Conversations, recapped the July Fast Company story about 10 lessons from Apple.  Among these key lessons is that ‘Everything is marketing’.  The recap and post can be read here.

It is true that my client is not yet ready to do advertising and should thoughtfully consider which marketing talent to hire. The best hire is someone who can do the marketing that is essential to the business at this point.  However, they have begun marketing, and if they are to be successful they must continue to do so.  Marketing starts in the beginning.

(c) 2010 pH Consulting

 

Expect the unexpected – what happens when the DTC campaign is launched February 3, 2010

Filed under: DTC,Lisa — Lisa Pohmajevich @ 11:28 pm
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You’ve launched your campaign and the phones are ringing – and among the many calls you’d hoped for are those you least expected.  Some reactions are anticipated, some will leave you gobsmacked!  These are a few that caused our heads to turn:

  • To capitalize on the DTC campaign, a physician invests in a local advertising to promote his practice and the new procedure; when interested patients with no contraindications or insurance issues contact the physician he convinces them to have an alternative procedure.
  • After being refused an elective procedure by a physician who promotes performing the procedure, consumers go to chat room sites and ‘teach’ each other the questions and responses to ensure getting what they want.
  • A non medical group successfully discourages physician adoption of new and safer techniques because of the implications to the group tenets and governance.
  • Advertising is dropped by a broadcaster because of one complaint received from a listener about the use of anatomically correct terms in the description of the procedure.
  • Competitors began advertising their unrelated products with our message.

Plan to be surprised from the most unexpected of experiences.  And remember to chuckle at the things you can’t control.   Comments welcome.

(c) 2010 pH Consulting

 

The velocity of revenue is a direct result of the speed of confidence February 2, 2010

Filed under: DTC,Lisa,Market Planning,Physician Preparation — Lisa Pohmajevich @ 11:16 pm
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Image credit: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

New products released into the market have cleared many hurdles. Clearance from the FDA indicates that the product meets safety and efficacy requirements. This milestone in a product life cycle typically follows extended research, development, design, testing, and refinement phases. Companies that have invested and toiled over the development challenges in anticipation of a market release are understandably eager to realize revenueAs much and as soon, as possible.

To that end, planning discussions turn to training, distribution and marketing. This is frequently the point in time when the acceleration question is raised.

How fast can we ramp up sales?

Should we do DTC advertising to increase demand?

What kind of promotions can we offer to encourage volume purchases?

I believe these questions are premature. Ideally, DTC advertising and promotional programs are part of marketing strategy that includes market development and preparation. They are most effective when conditions for market adoption of a new product have been optimized.

The best time to advertise to patients and consumers, introduce promotions to encourage purchases and increase sales activities, is when physicians have reached a state of confidence with a new product. Confidence represents the final stage in customer adoption of new technology.

New product introduction requires physician training. The three stages of adoption are defined by the state of accomplishment the physician achieves during training on a procedure with a new product.

Stage one – Capable
The physician understands the product concept and purpose. They can successfully deploy the product with support of a trainer. Use of the product is occasional.

Stage two – Competent
The physician correctly performs the procedure using the product with limited training support. The physician is proficient performing the procedure and use of the product is intermittent.

Stage three – Confident
The physician has mastered the procedure and product use. No support is required.

Confidence occurs after the physician has enough positive experience and good patient outcomes with the product. The confident stage is also recognizable beyond performing the procedure without support. Two hallmarks signal the physician has reached a state of confidence.

1. The physician routinely incorporates the product in their treatment regime.
2. The physician proactively discusses the product with patients in which treatment including the use of the product is appropriate.

When physicians reach this stage, DTC advertising and promotional programs are good strategies to employ. The physician has been appropriately supported by the company and is well prepared for new patients investigating the advertised procedure. The questions regarding increasing revenues should first center on the physician and accelerating their state of confidence. The best time to do advertising and promotional programs is when the market is optimized with confident customers.

Comments welcome.

(c) 2010 pH Consulting

 

Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? January 23, 2010

Filed under: Lisa,Market Planning — Lisa Pohmajevich @ 6:57 pm
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Image credit: Matt Windsor/Threadless.com

In an earlier post I outlined criteria useful in determining if your product is ready for a DTC campaign. The first of which is ‘the product/procedure is widely available through providers’. Most of our healthcare is delivered to us through the physician [provider], and as needed, the physician refers us to another provider, or another healthcare service. When we are sick or hurt we go see a doctor.

If our symptoms are tolerable, or we feel like it will pass and we are not yet at death’s doorstep, we may delay calling the doctor. We may first consult family or friends. We may do an internet search to try and match our symptoms to something described on a reliable site. However, if the symptoms persist, and our armchair doctoring fails – we go to the doctor. It is common and proper to defer to the expert and for health and wellness concerns, it is the doctor we should consult, they are supposed to know what to do for us.

We do not typically turn on the TV, or flip through a magazine or even tune the radio, seeking an advertisement about that which ails us.

Therefore, it is a logical conclusion that before broadcasting product availability to consumers, the doctor should be made aware of the product, the application and the appropriate patient for whom the product is best suited. In the medical device field, this awareness may also include product use training so that the doctor is prepared to treat the patient. The next likely questions might be ‘how many doctors must be aware and prepared?’ and ‘how fast can this happen?’

The answer to the first question is likely answered in the company business plan. The number of doctors that require preparation equals the number of doctors who serve patients with the healthcare issue for which the product is labeled. This is especially true if the healthcare concern is rare, and physicians who treat patients with the concern are few in number. This is also true if a goal of the company is to achieve a standard of care declaration that references the product.

However, the real number is that which represents a significant enough population of physicians to serve the patients in a timely manner, to which you direct advertising. To determine how many, who they are and where they are requires a clear understanding of the specialty, patient referral patterns, and regulatory and reimbursement environments. Defining these market aspects is fundamental to establishing good marketing strategy.

Solid marketing strategy supports well coordinated marketing planning. Planning before spending will more likely result in the laying of a golden egg.

How fast can this happen? Stay tuned for that post.

Comments welcome.

(c) 2010 pH Consulting


 

Is it time yet? January 22, 2010

Filed under: DTC,Lisa — Lisa Pohmajevich @ 6:28 pm
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Lately, I’m often asked this question, “When is it time to do DTC advertising?” Usually the question is followed by statements like these:

Our sales people keep asking for it.

Customers are calling and want to know why we haven’t yet advertised like company X.

The Board suggested we consider the impact of DTC advertising.

Occasionally there is also the admission that nothing else has really worked to skyrocket sales. Beneath the timing question, is always the implicit assumption that DTC marketing will most certainly result in increased sales.

Over the years, I have been involved in a number of medical device DTC advertising campaigns, delivered in a variety of form and magnitude.  Every campaign resulted in successful and interesting outcomes – much of an unexpected nature. Some were successful in terms of revenue returns, and others successful in highly valuable learning that served to refine and optimize the follow-on campaigns. Some of the outcomes were just plain interesting – human behavior type interesting – a blog topic for another day.

Having experienced successes with DTC campaigns, I am a firm believer that they can be very useful in the life science – medical device industry; they can help to drive product demand and increase revenue. Before my campaign successes, came the campaign trials. From these, I learned a few things about timing. Before deciding if the time is right for a DTC campaign, there are two key questions to answer.

  • First, is the product/procedure ready for a DTC campaign?
  • And second, but equally important, are you ready for a DTC campaign?

Because you are reading this, it’s quite possible that you are considering a DTC campaign. To assess if your product/procedure is ready for a DTC campaign, I’ve honed in on six key criteria that should be affirmative.

1. The product/procedure is now widely available through providers.

2. The consumer can access your product/procedure by making a specific request to his/her provider.

3. The product/procedure is affordable or covered in reimbursed medical expenses through a majority of insurance plans.

4. There is a body of published medical and scientific literature that contains significant effectiveness and safety data.

5. There is an abundance of positive chatter about your product/procedure.

6. The provider community understands the product/procedure can confidently converse with patients about it.

Of course, this is only an initial list of considerations for use when deciding whether a DTC campaign will be productive for your medical device/procedure – but it’s a great place to start. Feel free to add others in your comments.

In closing, just as you might expect, in-depth assessment before you decide to move ahead with a DTC campaign will be well worth the time investment. In the future I’ll tackle the issue of how you know you are prepared to launch a campaign.

Comments welcome.

(c) 2010 pH Consulting


 

 
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