Why You Should Include Patient Loyalty in Your Marketing Strategy
Patient loyalty is the willingness to engage and purchase from a particular pharma company time after time. It can stem from various reasons, but loyal patients generally report its positive image as the critical factor. Loyalty promotes repeat purchases despite fierce market competition. Loyal patients will purchase from the same healthcare provider and share positive recommendations with others. It minimizes the cost of reaching out to potential customers, which can be as much as five times the cost of retaining existing customers.
Patient leakage is a severe organizational challenge in the pharmaceutical industry. According to a survey, over 50% of healthcare executives say organizations lose 10% of revenue annually due to patient leakage. Since most consumers pay healthcare expenses out of pocket, they are selective about who they spend on.
The traditional methods of generating revenue in pharmaceutical markets are no longer effective. To deliver positive results for their businesses, the healthcare industry must consider patient loyalty as part of their marketing strategy.
Here are ten ways patient loyalty can elevate your marketing efforts:
1. Better patient outcomes
Educating your patients about suitable drugs, products, and customer rewards programs will promote ongoing engagement and foster a loyal bond. It enables the patients to gain deeper knowledge about their disease and find a medication that works best for them. If your drug fulfills the patient’s needs, they are more likely to make future purchases from you.
2. Competitive advantage
The pharmaceutical market is competitive; it can be challenging to promote your products to stand out. There is always a chance that your product gets overshadowed by your competitor’s.
Patient loyalty profoundly influences customers’ buying decisions. With different pharma companies offering similar products, brands that inspire customer loyalty will always be more popular and profitable.
3. Low marketing costs
By focusing on patient acquisition, pharmaceutical companies miss out on leveraging the revenue-generating machines that loyal customers are. Customer retention also has a cost, but it is much lower than patient acquisition. Discount coupons might bring a customer into your store, but it is usually a case of preaching to the converted. For life science companies, loyal patients are eminently dependable. Therefore, businesses should carefully craft marketing campaigns to acknowledge their commitment to your brand.
Moreover, a disproportionate emphasis on acquisition-oriented marketing can trigger counter-productive price wars.
4. Loyal patients spend more than new customers
According to the 80/20 marketing rule, 80% of revenue is generated by 20% of the customers. Therefore, pharmaceutical companies should focus on retaining loyal customers, even if they represent a smaller percentage of the overall number of clients.
A Bain & Company study shows that a 5% increase in the top customers’ retention can lead to a 25% jump in revenue. It’s because return customers buy more from the same company over time. The same report shows that loyal patients are ready to pay a premium to continue purchasing from your business rather than switch to an unfamiliar competition.
5. Costumers as brand advocates
Loyal patients also represent your business as reliable brand advocates. If a patient is happy with your product, they will talk about it with other prospective customers. Personal experience of using a product adds incomparable credibility to word-of-mouth marketing.
6. Favorable reviews
According to a study, in 2016, 90% of people read at least one online review before visiting a business. Online reviews speak volumes about a company and can drive new purchases. No marketing strategy can have a better impact than a potential buyer who purchases a product based on positive reviews.
Favorable reviews show that a brand values its customers and manufacturers high-quality products. 86% of consumers who read online reviews can be won over by other customers’ positive experiences. Therefore, it pays to engage with the online feedback on your products, both positive and negative.
7. Enhanced brand image
Your brand image reflects the patients’ perception of your services. A positive brand image will help you gain new patients, sell more products, increase revenue, reduce marketing costs, and attract potential business partnerships.
A positive brand image is a company’s most valuable asset, as it conveys what your patients expect from you. A robust brand image and patient loyalty are interconnected. Loyal patients will help you improve your brand’s image, which will help you attract more patients.
8. Honest feedback
Loyal patients are more likely to provide an honest opinion about your pharmaceutical products. Customer feedback informs critical decision-making and can influence changes to your existing products.
Pharma companies can collect data through live chat support, social media activity monitoring, feedback forms, online polls, surveys, activity in online forums, and Facebook comments. This data helps identify potential areas of improvement, identify popular products, and focus on improving them.
9. Deepens pharma-patient relationship
You can understand a patient’s requirements only when they purchase from you over extended periods. The more you get to know your patients, the better you can serve them. Once customers start to experience the benefits of your drugs, they’ll seek you out for additional advice and recommendation.
It increases their likelihood of subscribing to your clinical services instead of visiting a family doctor. Therefore, when you retain existing customers, you are also increasing the chances of cross-selling.
10. Wiggle room to try new things
A base of loyal patients allows you the space to experiment with new products or ideas. According to a study, existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products from familiar companies. You can ask your loyal users for honest feedback about your products and services.
11. Increased customer lifetime value (CLTV)
CLTV is a marketing metric that refers to the amount of money a customer will bring to the company during their lifetime. Due to their long association with a business as a paying customer, loyal patients are likely to generate a higher CLTV. Therefore, pharmaceutical companies need to adopt a patient-centric marketing approach that encourages continued patronage over many years.
A Bain & Company study found that repeat customers are 67% more likely to make a purchase. Moreover, the top 10% of loyal customers spend as much as three times higher on each order. Customers with a higher CLTV boost company revenue in the long run. It also helps brands cut down their acquisition costs.