There are a lot of brand managers who prioritize patient engagement, but not many who really understand how patient ready their brand is. Let’s try to clarify what that means.
These days, brand marketers widely acknowledge how important it is to have a plan for engaging their patient communities. However, drawing up such a plan presents some challenges: Professionals need to reconcile competing goals, from financial constraints, to privacy requirements to legal, regulatory, and compliance considerations. Overcoming these hurdles requires a systematic situation analysis. Taking the time to do this will offer an overview of which resources brands still need to obtain, which are already available, and which can be improved for enhanced patient centricity. The result will be a foundational guide that helps you make strategic decisions based on the environment today.
While there may be tempting shortcuts, doing it right is an opportunity to build solid relationships with the patients your brand serves—a valuable asset for any brand. To build such a relationship, brands need to make themselves patient ready. Why is that so, and what does it even mean to be “patient ready”?
Patient ready brands engage with patients in meaningful ways, with the right tone and content that’s authentic and in sync with people’s own experiences. Such a brand makes an effort to identify needs in the community and to find out whether others are already addressing those needs and in what way. A patient ready brand will then take measure of internal capabilities and resources and match those to unmet needs still existing. Thus, we create brand value through patient value by communicating to a receptive audience in ways that resonate.
All good and well, but how do we achieve this gold standard when facing educated and savvy patients? That really depends on three dimensions that circumscribe what it means to be patient ready.
Dimension 1: Understanding patient needs
Fundamentally, understanding the needs of patients and caregivers is at the heart of any patient ready assessment. At Snow, our proximity to many patient communities uniquely positions us to recognize and understand the importance of patients’ ever-changing needs. Our State of the Patient Study spans many different disease states and conditions to track the trends and behaviors across the patient journey. It also focuses on the experience gaps and issues with services and products currently available to them through pharma brands or other stakeholders. The community has concerns, expectations, and hopes—and research that focuses directly on your disease category, quantitatively and through firsthand interactions with patients themselves, can capture all of that. Insights such as these can guide a brand towards becoming a trusted and credible partner to the community.
Dimension 2: Understanding competitive benchmarks
Building on top of this foundation of thoroughly understanding the patient community, the next logical step is to explore the competitive landscape: What’s currently working, what isn’t? Which activities match expectations, which ones fall short? What’s the general sentiment towards competitor products and services? By finding answers to questions like these, we can set the benchmark: This is what it will take to keep up and to stand out among the competitors. It’s not about imitating all their good work while avoiding their mistakes. It’s about finding your brand’s unique role in supporting patients throughout their journey. It’s about positioning your initiatives in such a way they’re meeting a need so you don’t have to create demand. Because the demand is already there, and you’ll be armed with evidence to prove it.
Dimension 3: Understanding resource requirements and availability
At the risk of sounding like a broken record: Pharmaceuticals are highly regulated. Anyone engaged in marketing, especially directly with patients, must have a thorough understanding of the legal and regulatory rules that apply. They must also work alongside numerous other stakeholders, which means process, training, policy, and procedure. Respecting and working within this reality is the only way you’ll be able to execute on any patient engagement plans. No one person or department can bring all the needed parts to the table: Partnering with experts who have specialized knowledge is the most effective way to mitigate risks and find solutions that we all know work.
How to Get There: The Snow Patient Ready Model
Exploring these three dimensions is a tall task. Fortunately, Snow can help you zero in on those answers. Our Patient Ready Model can help you understand and evaluate your brand’s needs in order to design and deliver strategic and compliant patient engagement solutions.
The Patient Ready Model is powered by data that sheds light on all three dimensions of patient engagement:
- Insights: Understanding patient needs
- Benchmarks: Understanding the competitive landscape
- Resources: Determining specialized resources and requirements
Being familiar with your brand’s performance and requirements along each of these axes is valuable in its own right. Together, they paint the full picture of how your brand can better engage with patients. And Snow is uniquely positioned to help you pull that portrait together. We’ve spent decades working with thousands of patients across a spectrum of categories, so we have the experience, tools, and data to help you become truly patient ready. Once that happens, the path to building positive and sustainable patient relationships opens up. And it is relationships such as these that will ultimately make or break brand success.