Doctor, Doctor, Give Me The News
ZINC TABLETS TO bolster the immune system. Calcium pills for osteoporosis. Iron supplements for producing hemoglobin. Beta-keratin because people always mention it on television, even though no one knows what it is. Multivitamins with vitamins A, C, D and about 200 different kinds of B. Anti-histamines. Anti-histamine blockers, just in case those anti-histamines get out of control. Vitamin E. Ephedra. Fluoride. Ginseng. And that’s just what people take daily when they are well.
An apple a day doesn’t cut it anymore. As understanding about the human body increases, so too does reliance on the medical industry. What is healthful today may be harmful tomorrow, and as people learn more, they take their health more seriously and act more responsibly. As the coffers for pharmaceutical companies expand, so do the number of competitors, and a little marketing can go a long way into making a new medication a household name.
“The market has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years. People are taking more medications more times a day. This is mostly due to the increase in preventive medicine’s popularity,” said Peter Will, president of Universal Promotions, Rogers, Minn.
As one of the leading producers of medical aids, Universal Promotions has seen many industry changes and has developed products to match trends. “In the past, medication schedules were fairly simple, with doses taken in the morning or at night,” noted Will. “Now, with the generation of patients that are medicating for good health versus medicating for sickness, we have to introduce delivery systems for multiple doses per day at specific times.”
Products such as Universal Promotions’ pill reminders and organizers are items that end-users will utilize every day, which is good news for any marketer, and the company’s new MagnaDose magnets are incredibly popular because of the high level of exposure and the custom options available. A large healthcare provider recently used the magnetic MagnaDose as part of a promotion aimed at families with children; the response was so great the company placed a second order, this time for the adult version. As Will noted, “With the growing amount of medication delivery, the exposure of the marketing message is greatly increased.”
“With the advent of new ‘super bugs’ and viruses that are paralyzing our healthcare system, our convenient, personal healthcare items have become an essential part of our daily lives,” said Ian Ellen, executive vice president at Martini Promotions, Montreal. “Just as there are always new patients, there are always newer and better drugs to choose from.”
Martini Promotions’ Achoo Tissue product line capitalizes on the needs end-users have for hygienic, antibacterial items, as well as medicinal manufacturers’ needs to pitch new products. “Pharmaceutical companies strive to get their products into doctors’ offices, hospitals and healthcare clinics,” noted Ellen. “They spend huge sums of money when it comes to branding and advertising their products.” Many of the items Martini Promotions offer, such as promotional facial tissues, wet wipes, soaps and other antibacterial items, stress messages of wellness while remaining highly useful. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
A benefit of many healthcare promotional products is their practical utility. “We shrink wrapped a pack of our Deluxe Folding Pack, a tissue pack that folds open and closed like a wallet, with a bottle of antibacterial hand sanitizer,” explained Ellen. “It was the perfect premium for cold and flu season. The order has since repeated three times.”
And In Health
With so many television ads for new medications, and new illnesses, a hypochondriac could have a heart attack. “There is not a day that goes by that healthcare is not in the national media,” explained Will. “The healthcare industry has become such a predominant marketing force in our country, we have begun to see residual business from non-healthcare related companies, such as financial institutions, non-medical insurance companies and both large and small corporations that see the benefit of building internal, company-based wellness programs that in turn produce healthier employees.”
Fortunately, for those with frail constitutions, not everything is so life-or-death. As Will pointed out, increased understanding has created a generation of consumers who take an active role in ensuring their health, creating patients who take a preventive, rather than reactive, stance to ensure their well-being. Fewer sick people is just what the doctor ordered for the smart distributor: The more emphasis people put on maintaining good health, the more opportunities to sell products that help to keep people feeling fine. From daily vitamins to antibacterial hand lotions, people are utilizing health-related items constantly, and there is no reason that these products can’t be used as exposure for healthcare companies. The multitude of opportunities is dizzying.
“We are amazed by how many distributors do not take advantage of marketing to the healthcare industry,” said Will. “If you look at the demographics, the opportunities are immense, from the local pediatric clinic or hospital to the assisted-living facility.”
He continued, “Our advice is simple: Start local with solid ideas and products that benefit the organization and its patients in both function and exposure.” That’s healthy advice for anyone to heed.
Ellen added most healthcare companies have easy-to-identify targets, and the trick is to match the right promotion to the right product. “All healthcare items have target markets and opportune selling times,” he said. “Try to familiarize yourself with these times and use them as guidelines. If you approach your client with a variety of options geared at promoting specific drugs they sell, you will have a much better chance of success.”
“Obviously, good hygiene is a precursor to good health,” offered Ellen. “You don’t need to be creative to sell our line; you just need to be sanitary!”