Drug companies not connecting online with sick people

Drugs from the weekOver the last 9 days I’ve been suffering with the flu! Yes, it’s been a time of reflection and feeling sorry for myself. It’s been a while since I’ve been this sick, but apparently it’s going around Melbourne. I’ve quickly learnt that cold and flu tablets do nothing except mask the pain. One of the drug company’s tagline ‘solider on’, makes me cringe because it’s encourages people to get back to work, but in reality it’s helping to spread the virus!

Over the week I’ve spent a fair bit of time on Google looking for remedies and cures. I’ve tried to include garlic and ginger in every I eat and drink. Last night I even drank a glass of water with Apple Cider Vinegar.

While searching Google for ‘how long does the flu last?’ (one of many search queries) I was amazed to see none of the major drug companies on the first page of the results. The first page was full of health and news websites. This is a missed opportunity for the drug companies to be connecting with sick people.

Not only are we looking for tips on how to get better, but looking for validation that we’re not the only people going through this! Sponsored forums would be an excellent place to start, where people can share and have experts (doctors) occasionally moderating the page. At the very least, the drug companies should have content on their sites that captures what people are searching online.

Google trends is one way governments and organisations are tracking the flu season and it looks like I’m not the only person searching for help this April!

Goole Trends - flu virus

Goole Trends – flu



Global Marketer Conference – Highlights – Sydney 26th March 2014

AANA - GMCLast week I attended the Global Marketer Conference in Sydney hosted by the Australian Advertising Network of Australia (AANA). The event was attended by marketers from all over the world. A cocktail party with views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge kicked off the event in style. But, the global line up of speakers was what everyone came for, this included Marc Mathieu from Unilever, Michael Birkin of Acer computers, James Thompson of Diageo Reserve, Michelle Froah of Kimberly-Clark, John Kearon of Brainjuicer, Ed Sanders of Google, Colin Currie of Adidas and British advertising legend Sir John Hegarty of Bartle Bogel Hegarty (BBH).

Like at all events, there is always so much going on and lots to take in. Looking back at my notebook the scribbles resemble something you would find at a kindergarten. Luckily the insights were memorable making it is easy to document.

The underlining theme of the event was to remember we’re marketing to ‘humans’ not consumers.

This point was repeatedly mentioned by the speakers one-way or another. Making human beings the ‘hero’ (central focus) of products is a big focus. And personalisation should not be just for the rich and famous. James Thompson from Diageo Reserve mentioned that users are looking for meaning from mass produced products. Online content is one way brands are making this personal connection with clients.

Having a purpose other than monetary was another big talking point at the conference. Purpose motivates human behaviour. Marc Mathieu from Unilever said ‘A brand without a purpose is just a billboard’. Unilever’s Dove soap helps women feel more self-confident and empowered in much the same way Lynx’s deodorant does for men. In Lynx’s latest TV commercial, the brand is encouraging peace not war.

Behavioural science was another area discussed. John Kearon from market research company BrainJuicer challenged our thinking that humans don’t actually put a lot of thought in to our decision making. In reality, we think less then we think. In time sensitive situations we are more inclined to revert to our instincts (unconscious behaviour) and use our left-side of the brain.

John challenged the marketers in the room to look at things differently. Consumers thought process is made up of 3 steps:

  1. Framing – no decision made out of context. Luxury car makers sell more cars at boat shows because cars seem cheap compared with boats.
  2. Copying – we copy everything/ everyone (herd mentality). E-commerce websites do this very well with ‘recommended buys’.
  3. Feeling – if people feel nothing, they will do nothing. The importance of brands having a purpose. It’s important to make people feel something.

Sir John Hegarty closed out the conference with his insightful and entertaining talk. It was refreshing to hear him say that he doesn’t understand why marketers don’t want to make things better! John left us with 5 tips:

  1. Broadcast – branding is remembered by the person who doesn’t buy your product.
  2. Risk – forget the word, it should be exciting.
  3. Consistency – avoid changing the message.
  4. Tell the truth – self explanatory.
  5. Passionate – believe in the product.