In the post-Covid era, consumer healthcare (CHC) business is booming, with patients increasingly taking control of their own health. From food supplements and sports nutrition to weight control and age support, many markets are showing strong growth, driven by the meteoric rise of online shopping. By becoming more active in their own health, consumers are forcing healthcare companies to change the way they market their products: the market is in the process of moving from a “one size fits all” product-centric approach, to a more consumer-centric approach. What I want, when I want, where I want… Such is the new credo of today’s healthcare consumer. As a result, health marketing is having to become more market led.
The trend is still in its the early stages: according to a study by Forrester, the volume of health and well-being products sold via retail outlets will double in 2023. This trend is increasingly visible in the United States (with giants such as Amazon and Walmart) as well as in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
It is a trend that should accelerate the sector’s transformation: by drawing on methods already tried and tested in the retail sector, it is in the process of reinventing its marketing performance.
As consumer healthcare marketing aligns with retail marketing, brand strategies will face similar challenges. In addition, as the CHC market is opening up, some brands are now seeking to position themselves in supermarkets, whereas previously their products were only distributed in pharmacies. This certainly represents a real sales potential, but one that will require brands to question their image: with this new consumer-centric vs product-centric positioning, do they still want to be seen as pure pharma players – with health products that can only be found in pharmacies – or as consumer healthcare players?
By refocusing on the consumer, marketing is being reoriented from B2B2C to direct-to-consumer (DTC), offering new commercial opportunities in the process. Sales forces will carry out their traditional B2B2C missions, with a particular focus on key moments in the product life cycle – product launch, new galenic formulation, indication, etc. – while the DTC strategy will enable them to diversify into the digital realm, with communications that could be very similar to those used in retail marketing.
Furthermore, the exponential growth of digital technology has led to a spectacular boom in the volume of marketing data: the proliferation of health apps, more visits to specialist websites, and the search for and sharing of information on social media. All this information makes it possible to better understand consumer needs and develop more personalised service or treatment offers. But we still need to know how to exploit this immense potential and gain access to quality data.
For over 20 years, Marketing Mix Modelling (MMM) has been proving its worth as a way of measuring the business relevance of marketing investments in a wide range of sectors – retail, media, cosmetics, etc. The pharmaceutical industry is still in its infancy in this respect. To support the transformation of the CHC sector, it can be a powerful tool in:
Data science – with a customer-centric approach – will also make it possible to structure and add value to data that has, until recently, been timidly exploited, and to develop more personalised services or treatments, such as the detection of certain diseases through voice or image processing, or health monitoring services to improve adherence to treatments.
Customer stories: How a market leader in consumer healthcare accelerated its data science transformation and optimised its marketing performance
Ekimetrics developed an artificial intelligence platform to help this client’s marketing team measure and optimise its return on investment (ROI) using quarterly insights and optimisation recommendations. The platform has been deployed across more than 35 brands in different markets worldwide, to automate the management of data flows and manage media budget allocations. The marketing team is also now in a position to adapt quickly to the constant changes in the healthcare market (regulations, changes in consumer behaviour, etc.) in order to remain competitive. The platform is currently being rolled out in Asia and Central and South America to provide better support for underrepresented markets.
According to a 2019 study by Frost & Sullivan.