How to build your brand in women’s health

Kelley Connors

KC Health

This afternoon, Kelley Connors provides her opinions on how you can create a successful brand aimed at the women’s health market. This article looks at the importance of building relationships, creating online advocates through social media outlets Facebook and Twitter and collaborating with non-profit organizations that aim to improve women’s health in order to boost both awareness and education.

Does your Rx brand meet the challenges of marketing to women today? Given the $21 billion women’s health market, pharma marketers have a great opportunity to expand influence and awareness with women – as influencers, caregivers, e-patients and agents of change.

Here’s what’s changed in marketing to women and what you need to know so you can build value with women of all life stages:

1. Women are today’s consumer health sales force, and highly productive in word of mouth mentions. Women particularly talk about brands 92 times in the course of a week and healthcare mentions are about half of them. As an influencer, women speak from their own experience as well as their friends experience as they share information.

2. With more women turning 50 than 30, women’s health is no longer limited to reproductive health. In a post-Women’s Health Initiative study-era, safety, convenience and quality of life solutions beat out the “medicalization” of women’s health. Women are savvier about how medications impact their quality of life and seek to be empowered to take control of their health – which adds a new dimension to following their doctor’s orders. How is your brand empowering women?

 

“With more women turning 50 than 30, women’s health is no longer limited to reproductive health.”

 

3. Research shows that almost two thirds of women don’t believe healthcare marketers understand them, and the same percent report that marketers don’t accurately portray them. That’s why women flock to social networks that speak to who they are or aspire to be. These networks, supported by Facebook and Twitter, are powerful women-to-women channels supporting women of all life stages. This form of shared media disrupts the traditional marketing paradigm by creating a direct-to-women micro-network that your brand fuels and benefits from.

These micro-networks exist as a result of women’s natural instincts to share and collaborate, whether face-to-face or online. With women leading the way in their networks, they are governed by a set of rules that empower and engage women, instead of “telling and selling” products to them. These rules reflect how real women seek, consume and share information. This impacts not only their health (for pharma marketers) but their internal set of values, such as wellbeing, empathy, empowerment and security.

Rule 1: don’t ask me to buy your product or service

Your tool: conversations that build relationships

Although selling your product is important, women won’t buy without a relationship. Effective relationships start with facilitating, or simply listening, to women’s conversations. Listening allows you to find out what motivates key health influencers, as well as your prime prospects, whether these conversations are conducted online or offline. Listening is an ideal way to fully understand what drives women’s health decisions, enabling you to fine tune the treatment compliance improvements.

“Women over 50 bring a richness to their conversations on-line unlike what you might find when they know marketers are listening . . . such as in traditional market research ‘behind the glass mirror’.”

Carol Osborn, Senior Strategist for Vibrant Nation.com and co-author of Vibrant Nation: What Women 50+ Know, Think, Do and Buy (Reily/Osborn)

 

“With women leading the way in their networks, they are governed by a set of rules that empower and engage women, instead of “telling and selling” products to them.”

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Rule 2: give me information I can use and share!

Your tool: content that’s original, informational, and inspired

Unique content is at the core of all great marketing initiatives – you can’t just rely on SEO or social networking to generate women’s interest in your product or service. Beyond facts, figures and education, content must be inherently motivational, to keep women interested and engaged in your marketing funnel.

Rule 3: invite me to share my story, my passion, my expertise

Your tool: a community, a safe haven built with women

“As long as women feel safe in a community, they will feel free to express their personal viewpoints which adds authenticity and attracts other women ‘like them’, increasing a community’s value,”

Toby Bloomberg, Founder of the Diva Marketing Blog and recognized by Forbes as a top social media blogger.

An on-line community is a social network that is built with women’s stories, experiences and expertise. However, do not judge the initiative purely on the number of followers it attracts. Engagement is more about how much passion women have for your product or service – you want women in your on-line community who care about the specific health or wellness issue your brand supports. In the long term, it’s better to have a smaller following that appreciates your content, than a large following who aren’t interested.

Once you understand how women want to engage with the information you have to share, finding and feeding women’s micro-networks represent the ultimate in direct-to-women communications. While these networks may likely include existing women’s health advocacy organizations, the opportunity is for marketers to evolve what already exists to grow and enrich the lives of women…and build your brand.

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“…a direct-to-women communications strategy doesn’t ignore the main goal of all marketing which is to SELL her your brand.”

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Finally, a direct-to-women communications strategy doesn’t ignore the main goal of all marketing which is to SELL her your brand. On the contrary, there is much for pharma marketers to gain from a balanced marketing strategy that both TELLS women about the product and makes the brand SHARE-WORTHY.

Your goal should not be only to sell a product, but to become a women’s mentor and her empowering advocate.

So, is your Rx brand up for the challenge?

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About the author:

To learn more about how your brand can engage with women, not just advertise to them, download the new white paper called {Her}Rules of Engagement. Produced by Kelley Connors, MPH, The Brand Engagement Champion in Women’s Health, the white paper is a springboard to help you build influence, engagement, loyalty and sales with women.

How can you improve your brand within women’s health?