Mobile marketing for pharma and why it matters

I am delighted to welcome guest blogger Eileen O'Brien of Compass Healthcare Communications. I was lucky enough to attend a fabulous one-day workshop on Mobile Marketing in Healthcare, hosted by Compass, in late April. Eileen moderated a panel of mobile experts, and summarizes the take-aways below.


Mobile marketers are like the boy who cried wolf. For years, I’ve been hearing that mobile was about to explode. Well, I think I just glimpsed the wolf.

At Compass Healthcare Communications, we wanted to learn more about mobile marketing as it applies to pharma so we got a bunch of smart clients, partners and industry experts in a room and started talking. Here are some of my key takeaways from this Innovation Lab.

Why pharma should care

  • 90% of Americans use a cell phone and increasing numbers are adopting smartphones
  • Mobile marketing is currently a novelty and response rates are high
  • Inventory of mobile ad space is doubling monthly, so rates can be negotiated
  • There are three times as many phones as there are PCs

Most importantly, the technology has advanced to support the incorporation of fair balance in mobile ads. A few pharma companies are about to launch consumer mobile advertising campaigns. Among them is J&J, creator of the Caregiver Connector, which is a smartphone application.

Respect the mobile device Because of the unique and personal relationship we have with our cell phones, it’s essential that marketing messages are relevant and timely.

As mobile devices become more powerful, more people - including physicians and other healthcare professionals - are relying on them as their point of entry onto the web. User experience is no longer defined by the browser, and communication campaigns now need to work toward integrating the experience across all channels.

Pharma, physicians and mobile For the past few years, pharma brand managers have been using mobile devices to market to physicians utilizing Skyscape and Epocrates. This trend is likely to accelerate since the latest Manhattan Research data shows that 64% of physicians use a smartphone and Skyscape data indicates 70% of physicians rely heavily on their mobile device for clinical decision support.

Parting advice Learn more about QR (for Quick Response) bar codes. Most people with a smartphone can scan and read QR codes with the click of a camera, which can cause a web browser to launch and go to a URL. This enables a quick and easy way to provide deeper brand information.

Mobile marketing is not for every brand. However, with its ability to target and deliver a unique brand experience, it’s a channel that should be explored as part of the marketing mix.

Connect with Eileen O'Brien at eobrien@compasshc.com. She also tweets regularly using @eiobri.