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Let them eat peanut butter on toast – why HCPs value familiarity over something new

By Kirsty Mead

Kirsty Mead

It’s Monday morning.

Two hours until your work meeting. You have three kids to feed and get ready for school, and an overdue phone call to the gas company to make before you leave. Last night, you promised your children a new super-energising breakfast, packed with almonds, chia seeds and raisins. But what if they don’t like it? You don’t have time to risk it. So, peanut butter on toast it is. The new breakfast will have to wait for a less busy time.

When stress and busy schedules take over your routine, familiarity and convenience come first. Go-to meals are easy and efficient; you can never go wrong – and that’s why everyone loves them. People need the right time and space to try new things.

So, how do you make a product familiar enough that people feel confident using it, but different enough they will choose it over competitors?

Make it easy
When launching a product, we’re most likely to ask how and where we want HCPs to use it. Although that can be key information in certain scenarios – what if we turned it around?

COVID-19 has caused a backlog of appointments that has increased pressure on already overwhelmed pharmacists and nurses. Finding a way to help free up some of their time could eventually make room for what we need. So, before the science, the MoA, the impressive secondary endpoints, we should think about how our product can fit into the current clinic structure and processes – and how it can make them easier.

Is there any practical difference we could make, such as extending time between monitoring sessions or interval between treatments?
Does our product require extra training?

Communications that address HCPs’ needs are more likely to cut through a noisy market. As we put them first, we start thinking about how our product can help them treat more patients, in less time, well and efficiently. Suddenly, we realise that we need to make better peanut butter on toast, not a new breakfast.

Make it quick
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that digital communications are a quick and efficient way of getting across large amounts of complex information. It’s what eventually forced pharma to create seamless and consistently updated websites, along with virtual events that bring professionals together across the world, offering valuable information and training modules for virtual consultations.

Now, HCPs expect the same experience in their professional lives as in their personal lives. They want to access and use information when and how they need it. And although face-to- face communications remain the best option in some situations, the familiarity and convenience of the past year still wins on busy mornings.

Achieving launch excellence has now become about empathising with HCPs’ struggles. Maybe it’s time to stop thinking of reps and MSLs as a broadcast form of communications. Maybe we should focus on empowering them to be enablers, after the initial information, awareness and excitement has been given through rapid targeted digital communications.

Make it familiar
Marketers love the new. Customers dread it. New posology, new training, new guidelines, new management regimens – they all make for an exciting launch, but also mean a load of new information for HCPs to digest. And they simply don’t have the time to do that. That’s why they need products to be familiar enough not to scare them away.

Technology has done this very well. Smart televisions look, feel and work very much like their older models. But that doesn’t make them any less great. Quite the opposite – modern TVs can do so much more, and a lot more easily. Sure, some people, like our beloved KOLs, might want to delve into the details, but most are happy that it works and fits in the same place as their old TV.

We want our customers to feel confident in using something new. So, we should build on their previous experience. We all know how to spread peanut butter – let’s give them another spreadable, but let’s make it even quicker to spread.

In its essence, launch excellence hasn’t changed much in the past few years. It’s all about knowing your customers, choosing
the best channels and making effective communications. What’s changed is the fundamental needs of our customers: they have too much to do and too little time to do it in.

Right now, launching should be more about showing we understand and want to help HCPs, than trying to change the world. Something that looks and feels more like improved peanut butter on toast may well do better than a chia seed avocado pancake for your next few breakfasts.

Kirsty Mead is Account Director at Purple Agency

Kirsty Mead is Account Director at Purple Agency

22nd April 2022

From: Marketing

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