Insights in health & wellness branding


Mobile Marketing Via Text Message in Multichannel Pharmaceutical Marketing

14 June 2017   |   Gen Petrova

The current state of mobile devices in our daily lives

What is one of the first and last things you see every day? I bet it’s your smartphone. Not only is checking our mobile devices one of the first things we do when we wake up, but we are also habitually attached to our smartphones throughout the day. According to Pew Research, 92% of American adults are using smartphones and most of them are spending an increasing amount of their time on them. Google’s Micro-moments report also uncovers some interesting details about people’s mobile device interaction:

  • 68% of phone users say they check their phone within 15 minutes of waking up
  • Some users check their phone about 150 times daily and 87% have their smartphone at their side day and night
  • 177 minutes are spent on mobile phones a day (~3 hours) — that’s roughly one-fifth of total waking hours

Benefits of mobile marketing via text message in pharma

One of the quickest ways to reach consumers/patients is via mobile device. Over 6 billion text messages are sent in the US each day, according to Forrester Research. In addition to having the widest reach, there are numerous advantages of text messaging as a marketing technique in healthcare and pharma.

  • Efficiency: Text messages have a 98% open rate, while email only has a 20% open rate. Response rate is also very high, ranging from 5%–25% — around 8 times more than for email
  • Immediacy: It takes the average person 90 minutes to respond to an email but only 90 seconds to respond to a text message. SMS is probably the most immediate channel available
  • Integration: Text messaging marketing strategy can support and be integrated with other channels in the marketing mix
  • Customer engagement: SMS marketing strategy can enhance how your brand engages with customers across the entire customer life cycle

How does it apply to healthcare and why we should care?

We believe that there are countless applications of mobile messaging in healthcare and pharma marketing. They could take advantage of SMS by integrating it into their overall marketing strategy. In pharmaceutical companies, sales representatives play an influential role in marketing communication with doctors and health professionals. Healthcare providers hold the power to influence patients. Utilizing mobile message marketing with them will be crucial and most beneficial.

Healthcare providers can easily personalize messages to specific patients, all while delivering relevant material with a guarantee that the patient will see the information almost immediately, since in most cases SMS messages are read at the time of receipt. In addition, health professionals can be in constant communication with patients not only from the first touchpoint like an office visit but also through the whole treatment cycle by sending appointment confirmation and reminders, test/lab results notifications, and ongoing symptom check-ins. This provides value through the whole process of CRM, strengthens the relationships between healthcare professionals and patients, and most importantly helps patients feel confident in their healthcare decision and well-being. Just imagine patients who could receive daily check-ins from their doctor/care provider about the state of their condition and would be able within seconds to respond and get a health alert and medical advice from them.

SMS marketing instant deliverability and short message format provide the ability to reach patients regarding one of most important things in life — their health. Building a mobile message marketing strategy should be an ongoing process that requires flexibility between the pharmaceutical company, sales representatives, and healthcare professionals.

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About the Author

Genoveva is a Director Engagement Strategy & Analytics – Associate at AbelsonTaylor with professional background in digital marketing, social media and data analytics. Having graduated from Northwestern University with M.S in Integrated Marketing Communications, she has spent the last ten years delivering a superior brand experience in ever changing digital world.