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Smart Thinking blog

Insights and expert advice on the key issues facing today’s pharma marketer

Can egos and politics be put aside for the greater good

Health providers, government and the pharmaceutical industry must get together to create powerful single-minded marketing
human pyramid

It's time to create a national public health campaign; imagine having everyone in the room.

  • The NGO that coordinates the national marketing campaign
  • The two pharmaceutical companies that supply the vaccine
  • Primary care representatives – doctors and nurses who administer the vaccine
  • Representatives of midwifes and pharmacists who recommend their patients and customers receive the vaccine
  • Secondary care representatives who encourage their staff get vaccinated too
  • A world-renowned virologist
  • The Ministry of Health's comms team
  • The payer - the Government's medicine funding agency.

And us, the advertising agency.

It's a rare thing, but it is consumer-focused collaborative healthcare marketing and it is happening in New Zealand for the National Influenza Immunisation Awareness Campaign.

It didn't happen overnight
The National Influenza Specialist Group (NISG), the NGO that coordinates the national marketing campaign, is a not-for-profit group of healthcare professionals that was formed initially to help local hospital boards and the New Zealand Ministry of Health reach their immunisation targets. 

Since its launch in the early 2000s NISG has achieved success year upon year and has grown to include all the stakeholders involved in influenza vaccination.

The campaign
Within this single-minded vision a national campaign can developed with a key objective that can be rolled out to reach a number of clear target audiences across a number of healthcare and non-healthcare environments while using a multichannel approach.

This ranges from clinical information for surgeries, to posters talking to pregnant women about risks to them and their baby, to the campaign website and advertisements on the back of buses.

The campaign also incorporate television commercials

So does collaboration work?
Looking at the main metric of doses given, last year 1.25 million New Zealanders were vaccinated against influenza; that's over a quarter of the country's population. And the campaign is very close to reaching that same number for 2014. This makes New Zealand one of the most immunised countries for flu in the world – which is not to be sneezed at.

The campaign was also recognised at the TVNZ New Zealand Marketing Awards where it won the Healthcare Category.

What's the secret?
Living and working at the bottom end of the globe has given New Zealanders a pragmatic worldview: roll up our sleeves together and do what's right.

In this instance a common goal – to protect as many at-risk New Zealanders from influenza – was a shared motivation. Each stakeholder had their own individual aim and these were intertwined with the success of the main campaign. The benefits of being part of the complete package outweigh any rationale for a stakeholder to consider doing their own thing.

This is reinforced with continuous success, not only in terms of the number of people immunised, but also other metrics like engagement with website and text response, which has helped to prove this approach year on year…and ultimately, a commitment to leave egos and politics at the door.

Article by
David Anderson

is managing partner INSIGHT NZ, member of the Indigenus network.

In his 20 years with the company David has helped lead the INSIGHT team to become New Zealand's most effective healthcare-focused agency. Loving the challenge healthcare presents, has lead to successful marketing campaigns for his clients, as well winning a number of local and international awards including Effies, Webby, RX Club and a Grand Global.

2nd September 2014

From: Marketing, Healthcare

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