Klick Health

Top 10 Trends for 2012

SVP Innovation

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The good news: we’re not expecting the world to end in 2012, despite recent Hollywood movies to that effect. The even better news: next year is going to be full of opportunities for you to expand your digital marketing footprint in the healthcare space.

I recently had the privilege of delivering the keynote address to the DTC Marketing to the Digital Consumer conference, reprising my colleague Brian’s Top Ten Trends talk from the year prior. Check out a summary of the trends below and an embed of the full presentation at the bottom of this post.

We’d love to hear from you! Agree with our predictions? Think we’re entirely out to lunch? Leave your thoughts in the comments and let’s keep the conversation going.

1. Innovation in Government

We recently had the chance to hear Aneesh Chopra (US CTO) and Dr. Farzad Mostashari (National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Health and Human Services) speak at TEDMED2011, representing the US government’s perspective on technology innovation. They spoke at length about the success of the EHR/EMR incentive program, the value of Blue Button open data, and the need to reform approval processes. It was a surprisingly passionate and with-it talk from two very senior government officials. Vice Admiral Dr. Regina Benjamin (US Surgeon General) also spoke, sharing her perspective on prevention being a critical focus. These are big and exciting changes, but they can also be very unexpected market shifts for pharma and healthcare marketers.

Implication: look for black swans everywhere. When government unexpectedly changes policy — even to your benefit — it can significantly impact your business.

2. The rise of e-Patients.

We firmly believe that everyone is a patient at some level and that all patients will soon be e-Patients. The “e” isn’t necessarily for electronic (though it often is), but rather for words like educate and empower. This is a very important one for us and we’re investing heavily in supporting the movement through our work on the e-Patient Bill of Rights.

Implication: engage, enable, empower e-Patients.

3. The power of patient reps.

Shrinking sales forces and the rise of no-see physicians is going to make personal promotion more and more difficult. There are some very advanced digital Non Personal Promotion tactics that can be deployed, but we also expect to see an increase in the number of e-Patients who are empowered to take a request for your products to their physicians.

Implication: go beyond traditional patient education. The doctor conversation guides that most websites provide for download are lame. Empower patients with dynamic and personalized content that educates and enables them to have important conversations with their HCPs. Provide rich patient education materials that HCPs can deploy at Point of Care, on tablets, displays, and other interactive formats.

4. Pervasive social media listening.

The big Adverse Event fear is starting to evaporate as more and more health companies deploy it as a tactic. We expect that the wide availability of the technology and the adoption of social channels by consumers will eventually force the FDA to encourage and even, potentially, mandate the use of social media listening by drug producers.

Implication: it’s still early days for listening so do it now while it’s still a competitive advantage. Everyone will be doing it when they have to.

5. Privacy matters.

Privacy has always mattered, but the awareness of privacy as being important has grown considerably with consumers. Facebook has been the torch bearer, pushing people to share more and more information (the so-called “Zuckerberg’s law” states that people share twice as much information with each passing year than they did the year before). The charts below, which is the work of the estimable Matt McKeon, shows the crazy shift in Facebook’s default privacy sharing settings. Each slice of the pie shows a different type of data (contacts, birthday, photos, etc.). The center circle is you, the expanding ones are your friends, your network, all Facebook users, and the entire internet. The blue area is shared by default.

The push for privacy has also affected the world of display advertising as they industry has mandated itself to include AdChoices logos on any ads that use behavioral targeting.

Implication: technology doesn’t understand privacy. The tech industry will continue to push boundaries here with little understanding of the wider implications to industries like healthcare. It’s up to us to make sure that the ways in which we use their new tools are in line with the old rules we’ve always abided by.

6. EHRs finally appear.

The US government incentives are finally resulting in EHRs appearing in doctor’s office. The Blue Button initiative was launched by President Obama in August 2010 to give veterans access to their health data. That data format has become somewhat of an ad hoc industry standard, with third party tools like EHRs starting to appear that can import and work with it. There is work going on in industry to invent better, richer formats (structured XML data rather than plain text), that will hopefully build on the existing success (see the Continuity of Care Record as an example). The availability of standard data formats opens the doors for marketers to provide tools that work with them, giving us a chance to provide real value to patients as a relevance and understanding layer on their raw health information. All of these solutions work well with the growing trend in digital adoption at Point of Care as more and more offices are equipped with computers and iPads in exam rooms.

We are also expecting to see the concept of prescribed apps emerge in the next year as HCPs start to see the value of the data provided by symptom trackers and the like. EHRs will begin to offer app stores, giving HCPs the ability to prescribe an app to their patients that feeds live data right back into their medical records for later review at a subsequent appointment.

Implication: consider your presence at Point-of-Care. New technology in exam rooms means new opportunities to expand your exam room presence.

7. Mobile optimization everywhere.

Google’s latest data is showing 1 in 5 searches are now coming from mobile devices. They have also indicated that their mobile optimized search engine results pages will give preference to sites that have been mobile optimized. That alone should provide enough reason for you to spend some 2012 budget on mobile optimizing your websites, tailoring their experience to mobile users.

It’s also leading into a new Mobile First movement that advocates web designers start by crafting a mobile experience before they approach the desktop version. The argument is that the constraints imposed by mobile create a guardrails that allow for a more ‘pure’ experience that can be enhanced with the larger screens and processing power of desktops and laptops. The seminal work in this field is Luke Wroblewski’s book Mobile First, which is available in a wide range of ebook formats.

Implication: mobile first, mobile always. This is the year to go back to all of your existing web properties and evaluate how to deliver a mobile optimized experience leveraging all of the existing content and features. See our free Guide to Mobile Marketing for more information.

8. Death of the QR Code.

QR codes are a technology solution to a problem that only marketers care about. Consumers are quite happy to enter URLs — especially short, vanity ones — but those URLs lack any real tracking information about where they were access from. QR Codes let marketers embed tracking information in the code itself, letting them know that 32% of their traffic is coming from a specific magazine ad or subway poster campaign. The problem is that iPhones and most BlackBerries don’t support QR Codes natively, requiring consumers to download an app to access a URL they could easily have typed on their own. They also don’t consider context of use, often appearing in places like subway cars (no web access anyway) or on roadside billboards (no ability to stop, take out the camera, carefully aim at the QR code). There are some applications that make perfect sense, like boarding passes that can be scanned at security, but for the most part a simple URL would be much more effective.

We are excited to see the slow birth of Near Field Communication (NFC) as it gradually makes its way into mobile devices. NFC gives devices the ability to transmit or receive data by simply being in proximity of a reader, and is the same technology you might already use with your Visa card’s PayWave system. NFC is getting used in some really interesting applications now that the first phones supporting it are on the market, like this Taiwanese system for ordering a taxi, co-developed with Nokia or Google Wallet, a wireless payment system that turns your phone into your credit card, bank card, etc.

Implication: technology is a tactic, not a strategy. Don’t get caught up in the latest and greatest technology without assessing whether it can actually help move the needle on your strategic imperatives. You should consider whether the tactic fits into your business objectives rather than re-structuring your objectives to accommodate the tactic.


9. Data is the new creative.

Although not directly related to marketing, consider the impact to personalized healthcare represented by the sub $100 genome sequence. Personalized therapies go from the land of the rich to the land of the masses. Steve Jobs spent $100,000 to have his tumor and genome sequenced (though it sadly didn’t save him). What happens to the amount of data on healthcare when all of us can?

We often play a ‘follow the money’ game at Klick and you need look no further than the job market to understand this trend. This chart shows the growth rate of “analytics and data science” job starters on LinkedIn for the last 20 years. Although still only about 1% of all job starters, the steepness of the curve tells most of the story.

This overwhelming amount of data creates an urgent need for new visualization techniques. Data in the raw is not very useful — it’s the relevancy layer on top of it that gives people an understanding. You can see this in places like Facebook’s new Timelineapproach to profiles, which ads a visualization layer to the history of your social information. It’s also critical to sophisticated marketing campaigns that cross channels, bridging everything from web to mobile and backed by eCRM, content management systems, etc. We use data to connect those campaigns together and to make use of the tangled mess they tend to create. Our teams are experts and untangling messes like the cables in this slide, connecting all the right outputs to downstream inputs and building a cohesive, unified data model across all touchpoints. Attribution becomes critical in these scenarios, so make sure that you have built in an attribution model that makes it easy to attribute the origin of a consumer into the campaign.

Implication:measure the iceberg, report on the tip. All of this data can be really overwhelming, so make sure that you don’t drown yourself. Measure everything so it’s recorded but only report on the most critical KPIs.

10. iPads in the field.

This is really the year of iPads in the field. Most of our clients were considering it last year and have decided to roll out this next year. Although we can talk about tablets, the truth is that everyone is going iPad. We’ve been called on to build everything from complex Interactive Visual Aids with full pre-call planning and slide selectors, learning and training tools, sales enablement tools, etc. We’re also helping our clients overcome some of the iPad challenges, like adapting their existing Flash-based learning materials to the iPad (grab our free E2M Conversion Guide for more info).

Implication: interactive content is deeply engaging. This isn’t just about saving trees or buying flashy toys — iPads can make a significant difference to your sales force’s ability to close sales and be better trained and educated.

The Presentation

Here’s an embed of the original presentation from Slideshare:


Looking Forward to 2012

Hope you’ve enjoyed our look at the upcoming year and that you’ll join us by adding your thoughts below. Thanks for reading!

More About the Author

Jay Goldman

Jay has been providing a human side to technology for nearly fifteen years, as a technologist, strategist, user experience specialist, and visual designer. As Senior Vice President of Innovation, Jay leads our strategic efforts in mobile and social media, product development, and research and insights.

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