Introducing Therapeutic Perception Maps and why pharma urgently need them

Your brand is whatever Google says it is

I once read an article that stated ‘Your brand is whatever Google says it is’. Flippant? Maybe, but there is some truth in it, especially in the context of someone who has never experienced your products or services before. We just have to reflect on our own behaviour when it comes to product research.

And we don’t just turn to Google for product research, that’s why The Oxford English Dictionary added ‘Google’ as a verb in 2006. Google themselves talk about the micro-moments of I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do and I-want-to-buy moments.

Empowered patients

How is this relevant to pharma marketing? Well, GPs are saying that patients are becoming more informed and empowered in the treatment decision-making process, often performing extensive research about their condition and some of the potential products available to them before their consultation.

Recent US research indicates this is a growing trend. For example, average monthly Google searches for Asthma increased from 412,080 (during Mar13 to Feb14) to 632,800 (during Mar16 to Feb17), Osteoporosis increased from 199,810 (during Mar13 to Feb14) to 346,480 (during Mar16 to Feb17) and Psoriasis increased from 566,420 (during Mar13 to Feb14) to 864,770 (during Mar16 to Feb17).

Creating a Digital Perception Map

So, this effectively means that ‘Your therapeutic area is whatever Google says it is’. That’s why it’s so important to understand of how patients perceive a therapeutic area through their Google search results.

Called the Therapeutic Perception Map, we offer this as part of the research stage of our strategy methodology. And just as a patient would, we build up a perception of the therapeutic area by performing searches to answer the following questions:

  • What is this disease or condition?
  • Are there any patient support groups?
  • Who are the influencers?
  • What treatments, including drugs, are available?
  • What are the available drugs; products and brands?
  • Who are the companies behind these drugs?
  • Do these drugs have any side effects?
  • How and where are these drugs available?

The top 10 search results for each question lead us to websites, information and content which we capture and collate to produce a final Therapeutic Perception Map.

These maps provide great insights which can be fed into strategic activities including experience journey maps, multi-channel marketing and brand strategies as well as tactics such as KOL engagement, SEO, content plans and launch campaigns.

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