Being a digital marketing agency, we have to keep up to date with what is going on in the technology industry and how we can include new advances in the marketing strategies we develop for our clients. We work with many clients in the pharmaceutical industry, for example, and there are lots of developments and changes within that industry at the moment which are keeping us on our toes when it comes to helping our clients to become market leaders. One of the most interesting marketing developments recently has been the introduction of Augmented Reality (AR) – but does this have an impact on pharmaceutical marketing?
Uses of AR
At first glance, you may think that the use of AR as a marketing tool is restricted to the major consumer product companies such as make-up or clothing brands. L’Oreal, for example, has had great success with its Makeup Genius app which uses facial recognition and lighting technology to allow women to see what makeup would look like on them without them having to apply it themselves. Timberland, on the other hand, has gone one stage further with this, installing a virtual fitting room into store windows so that passers-by can visualise what they would like in various items of clothing without even having to enter the store, or try anything on! Whilst these applications of AR are undoubtedly clever and useful, we believe that AR is also a great opportunity for pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers, who can use it to virtually reach patients all over the world with treatment information at a time that is convenient to both.
There are many ways in which AR can have a positive effect on patient experiences, including:
Pharmaceutical Product Visualisation
Patients can quite easily be overwhelmed by the vast choice they are faced with when they are trying to select medication in a pharmacy or supermarket. Taking into account all the direct to consumer advertising they are faced with as well, they can quite easily make an incorrect selection as they may not understand drug side effects and possible dietary restrictions at a glance, as well as whether the drug they have chosen is compatible with other medicine they are on or not. This incorrect selection could lead to further medical issues, which nobody wants at the end of the day. What AR does is bring about the possibility of patients being able to interact with products while in the store, to find out more about them and their suitability for their medical issue, by using an app on their smartphone or even by wearing a pair of smart glasses. Medical science companies who are early adopters of this technology then will be able to distinguish themselves from the rest of the market and create a stronger bond with their customers going forward, which will lead to greater brand loyalty.
It is very easy for pharma companies to believe that their target market has an in-depth knowledge of their disease and knows the best way to treat it. In reality, many patients can struggle to grasp the exact nature of their condition and decide which option is the best way for them to treat it. The pharma industry can use AR to help patients have a much deeper understanding of their condition by involving them in the learning and also allowing them to practice treatment options as well.
Let’s take a patient suffering from a skin complaint as an example. They can use an AR app on their phone or a pair of smart glasses to visualise what the complaint would look like on their arm. They can then walk through applying a cream or ointment to the complaint so that they learn the right way and the wrong way to do it, and so become more confident in their knowledge of the treatment – which also helps to reduce treatment errors as well. A win-win situation.
Virtual Experience of Implants & Prosthetics
Dealing with the loss of a limb is a major incident for patients and can have a devastating effect on their mental well-being as well as their physical loss. A lot of medical staff time can be taken up by empathising with the patient and helping to guide them towards a better mental state of health. AR can be a big help to them as it allows the patient to understand the options available to them in terms of implants and prosthetics, which not only gives them a choice but also allows them to feel in control of things again.
The increase in the cases of chronic illnesses we are seeing at the moment, coupled with rising costs of drugs and treatments means that pharmaceutical sales and marketing has to change. Customer service is the focus and the use of AR in pharma marketing will not only drive a deeper connection with patients but will also improve lives, show empathy and ultimately drive brand awareness for those pharma companies that dip their toe in the water first.
If you are involved in the pharmaceutical industry and need help with any aspect of your marketing strategy then please give us a call (01625 238 770) or drop us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) today – we are more than happy to help.