Is Implementing a Behavioral Science Strategy Right for your Marketing Objectives?

Is Implementing a Behavioral Science Strategy Right for your Marketing Objectives?

Behavioral problems can mean big trouble for company goals. Ask yourself four questions to learn if you need behavioral science strategies for your brand.

Have you ever considered the link between pharma and behavior? Behavioral science is a relatively new “buzzword” in the pharma world; the idea that behavior is a barrier to pharma companies meeting brand objectives has become a new popular notion. Specifically, behavior barriers can include a patient’s resistance to starting a new treatment, the lack of patient adherence, or on the clinician’s side, a healthcare professional’s clinical inertia.

What is Behavioral Science?

Behavioral science follows the same approach as every other science: generating a hypothesis, study design, data analysis, publication, replication, and results. It is the systematic study of behavior to explain why people act in certain ways. It is also the study of how their behaviors can be changed.

You might now be wondering, “How do I know if I have a behavior problem?”

Execs, medical facilities, pharma companies, and just about every other type of business out there all need to analyze the behaviors of everyone who interacts with them on a frequent basis in order to catch potentially small issues before they become bigger problems. Those who find they have real behavior issues need behavioral science solutions; to find out if you are in need of some behavioral science intervention to lift barriers to your marketing objectives, ask yourself four questions:

  1.       Perhaps the biggest and best question to start with is to ask yourself if you are achieving desired results with your traditional educational and marketing approaches. Basically, is your brand seeing results? If not, it’s time to re-analyze strategies you’ve been implementing and instead consider tactics to help change provider and/or patient behavior.

When a behavior change is warranted, typical pharma marketing solutions just won’t cut it if you want to obtain optimal results for your brand. Many execs mistakenly think that education and persuasion are enough. If your solution only includes these, you are missing something that can make a huge difference for healthcare providers, patients, and ultimately, your brand.

  1.       Take a minute and think about patients, employees, and others involved with your brand. The second question to ask yourself to see if you need behavioral science in your marketing plan is, “How far are their current behavior different from the behavior we want?” It’s a fairly safe bet to say that you do not have a patient population that is 100% adherent 100% of the time – most brands don’t! This is why a behavior change solution is recommended for just about every brand out there. Help patients overcome hurdles that disrupt optimal engagement within your brand with behavioral science.
  2.       Next, think of a situation you have witnessed that involved a behavior issue and ask yourself, “Am I asking a patient or healthcare provider to do something difficult?” Some issues involving behavior could require nothing more than a simple change in order to solve them. Perhaps the task at hand was not one that you had considered to be difficult, but if you look at it from the other person’s point of view, you may discover a solution that may be easier to implement than you had previously thought.
  3.       The final question to ask yourself is, “Are you trying to get healthcare providers or patients to do something different than what they are accustomed to?” A good example of this causing a behavior issue might be if a patient is new to injection treatments. That new treatment might require a change in lifestyle – which is a big change. Another example of this would be asking healthcare providers to prescribe something that is new – either to them or to the market. In a setting that is as complex as the pharma and medical fields are, even changes that are seemingly small can have a big trickle-down effect for patients and providers.

Behavioral science is complex, but there is also an art to using it in pharma to meet marketing objectives. Strategies are successful because they are based on one very critical premise: that one single approach will not ever work for every single person.

Pharma marketing strategies that apply behavioral science address the many drivers of behavior that are crafted into an experience that is able to be analyzed, revised, and tried again in order to constantly change behaviors as they develop.

The key here with behavioral science solutions is that they include evidence-based strategies designed to change behavior. Traditional marketing approaches only take your company and your brand so far.

Learn more about behaviors and discover by what people are motivated, what they are willing to try on their strengths, and how they can benefit from learning new methods and tactics in the industry. Sign up for our FWD Pharma conference, and stay up to date with critical news in behavioral science.


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By |2019-06-20T20:54:11-04:00May 30th, 2019|

About the Author:

A driven and accomplished marketer, manager and leader with over $50mm in lifetime sales under his belt. Through marketing and sales leadership and using data to drive decisions, he has a strong track record of turning small businesses into larger, profitable enterprises.