By Natalie Hill, senior VP, insights and analytics, Outcome Health



Taking advantage of the moment, whether it’s a seasonal opportunity, such as allergies or the flu, or a moment of awareness, such as Breast Cancer Awareness Moment, challenges marketers to consider the marketing mix and the best ways to reach target audiences with brand messaging. Increasingly, with a spend approaching 10 percent of the $5B DTC market, pharmaceutical marketers are including POC as a key marketing strategy – because they know that it works.

Over this year’s flu season, Outcome Health had the opportunity to demonstrate just how effective POC can be, with in-depth research that showed a strong, positive response to a flu education campaign’s call to action and an even greater response among patients who were not predisposed to receiving flu vaccines. Beyond consumer action, we found that the reach of POC messaging was extended through word-of-mouth to friends and family of the original POC consumers, confirming even further the impact of reaching patients at the moment that healthcare is top-of-mind.

Our approach
In the fall of 2016, Outcome Health provided a large number of physician practices with flu education content developed in partnership with one of our pharmaceutical clients. We worked with a research firm to conduct a survey assessing 250 patients who voluntarily participated in a follow-up survey post-visit drawn from among 15 mid-size to large physician practices from across the country running POC flu education campaigns.  Campaign components included a client television segment adjacent to the local flu report and an article and video available via exam room tablets. The campaign was further supported through programmatic advertising and geo-targeted campaigns in areas most affected by the flu virus. The study analyzed the responses of 250 patients across 10 offices where the POC flu education campaign ran. As part of the POC flu education campaign, consumers received messaging on the importance and benefits of the flu vaccination and the availability of the vaccine at the physician’s office, in addition to encouraging conversations with the physician.

Patients recall POC messaging
The campaigns were effective. Among patients surveyed, the recall rates were quite high, five points higher compared to the control group. Nearly all respondents recalled key messages, with the call to action for vaccination coming through as the strongest message. Approximately 32 percent of respondents recalled the call to action without a prompt, and 78 percent recalled the messaging when assisted. A large majority of patients, as many as 80 percent, indicated the flu information was relevant and useful, indicating an appreciation for the messaging.

POC messaging leads to immediate action
In addition to high rates of message recall, patients exposed to the education campaign were more likely to take immediate action. Patients who received flu-specific POC messaging were 68 percent more likely to discuss the vaccine with their doctor that day. The messaging was even more impactful among patients who typically do not vaccinate, who were 8.6 times more likely to discuss the vaccine with their physicians, compared to those who were not exposed to the flu-specific POC messaging.

Not only did the POC messaging lead to more interest and discussion with their healthcare providers, but they were more likely to receive the vaccine immediately. As a group, patients exposed to messaging were 52 percent more likely to get the vaccination that day at their physician’s office. Those who typically do not vaccinate were 85 percent more likely to get the vaccine.

Messaging beyond the office walls
Beyond impacting healthcare consumers’ individual behaviors, POC messaging was shown to have power beyond the healthcare setting. As a group, patients exposed to the flu campaign were 87 percent more likely to recommend the flu vaccine to a friend or family member. The ability of the message to go beyond practice walls was even greater among those who do not typically vaccinate, with a non-vaccinator nearly three times as likely to recommend the vaccine to a friend or family member post-POC messaging.

Intangible benefits
The power of POC messaging to impact the behavior of healthcare consumers is compelling. However, in addition to the measurable benefits of this type of patient outreach, the medium has potential to benefit pharmaceutical marketers in other ways, through relationship-building with physician-customers. Physicians derive many benefits by offering POC education in their offices. In the flu campaign survey, POC marketing was shown to positively impact the physician-patient relationship, with 80 percent of patients surveyed indicating that the messaging reflected positively on the doctor’s office. By creating educational content that physicians can offer at the point of care, pharmaceutical marketers provide a valuable intangible to physicians by helping doctors build trust with their patients.

Additionally, POC content can help impact a physician’s care goals for his or her patients and help the office run more efficiently and profitably. For patients with chronic health conditions, flu vaccinations can be an important preventive tool and can help reduce hospitalizations. From an office workflow perspective, increasing the number of vaccinated patients and reducing illness among the patient base results in fewer interrupted workflows and scheduling pressures due to sickness. In addition to improving workflow, the vaccine, or other services offered via POC messaging, can offer an add-on revenue opportunity that can enhance an office’s profitability.

POC marketing offers a number of benefits to pharmaceutical marketers. One of the key advantages of POC advertising is that it delivers healthcare messaging just at the moment when healthcare is top-of-mind and when a patient’s attention is focused on their upcoming conversation with their physician. It is an important tool for helping marketers improve the lives of more patients and support the physicians who provide their care, helping them to rise above the noise to ensure their messages are being heard and their ad dollars are wisely spent.