Bob Mason, EVP, Managing Director of Brand Strategy, Palio
Last year I wrote about the “Checking in” fad, but is it gaining momentum… especially in the pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing world? Checking in is still a niche activity but with over 50 percent of mobile users armed with smartphone technology, this will be the year it’s moving to the masses as individuals use these apps to discover new places, people and information. Why are “geo-services” appealing? Because they are an exciting, interactive way to engage an audience, particularly in health care, and there is a pool of opportunity for all the applications and services out there as health care marketers look for new ways to engage consumers.
How does location-based information help?
Be in the Know Wherever you Go – Most people pack their prescriptions prior to traveling but there are times when you need a “vacation fill.” Years ago, being in an unfamiliar area meant driving in circles to find a neighborhood pharmacy. Today, with applications like Foursquare, not only can people find the nearest location, they can also access reviews, promotions, tips and driving directions.
Imagine needing emergency medicine such as an epinephrine pen. A mobile device with a geographical information system can help people find the nearest pharmacy, check drug availability and get required medication in time.
Map your Destination – Most rental car companies offer GPS tracking devices for an extra fee and most smartphones come with GPS pre-installed. Travelers and first-timers can also use location-based technology to find the nearest hospital, walk-in medical clinic or dialysis facility.
Connect Environmental Concerns with State of Health – Individuals that check in everywhere can uncover patterns that may provide insight about how their locations affect their state of health. Does Chinese Restaurant Syndrome strike whenever you visit your favorite take out?
Network with Like-Minded People – Newly diagnosed with diabetes, fibromyalgia or breast cancer? Social media applications bring together people from anywhere in the world, providing a forum for virtual support and exchange of ideas right from your iPhone, Blackberry or other handheld device. Want to meet in person? Location-based social apps can help you find people in your vicinity with the same concerns.
Location-based technology is changing how we shop, communicate and learn. Foursquare has surpassed six million users, but people are interested in more than checking in. Interest in on-the-spot mobile coupons is growing, and health care providers can use location-based technology to not just educate and inform consumers, but inspire them into action. Social mobile communication has a strong outlook for the future and should be a key component of the marketing strategy.
Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.