More than 30% percent of Americans and 40% of Europeans are affected by seasonal allergies. Three quarters of these individuals purchase allergy medication, creating a global market that is expected to exceed $40 billion annually by 2025.
Despite the size of this market, many pharmaceutical companies are struggling to build strong relationships with their customers, as people tend to buy one type of allergy medication, then switch to a different type for no apparent reason. Many of these companies are now beginning to rethink how they approach the process of building strong and long-lasting relationships with their customers.
Understanding the Pharmaceutical Company -Customer Relationship
The degree to which pharmaceutical companies are able to foster customer loyalty hinges on their ability to forge meaningful relationships with their customers. Unfortunately, studies show that just 14% of individuals feel they have any sort of relationship with their drug provider, and fewer than 7% characterize the relationships they do have as “good.”
This dismal state of affairs is largely a product of overzealous direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA). In 2016, spending on medical DTCA exceeded $10 billion and accounted for over a third of all medical advertising. As prominent as it is, this marketing approach often fails to build bridges between pharmaceutical companies and customers. In fact, it can have an inverse effect by prompting people to visit physicians in lieu of buying the drug that’s being advertised. More often than not, these physicians won’t prescribe the original product, but a cheaper generic alternative instead.
If pharmaceutical companies are to convince customers to remain loyal to a single allergy medication, they need to provide customers with more personalized brand experiences. Providing customers with educational resources that are as informative as they are easy to understand is one of the most effective ways to do this. Insofar as these resources meaningfully improve patient outcomes, they tend to be beneficial for customers and pharmaceutical companies in equal measure.
Not All Allergy Apps Are Created Equal
A number of pharmaceutical companies have started to develop allergy-focused smartphone apps like Klarify.me which integrate pollen data in a way that provides additional helpful information for allergy sufferers. Some apps allow their users to log symptoms throughout the day in order to identify allergy triggers, while others help users manage their medications with features like alerts that remind them to take their medications according to a predetermined schedule.
Allergy apps like these provide immense value-add for individuals who often try to monitor pollen counts on their own, but struggle to translate the data into actionable insights. Many individuals are understandably concerned about the side effects of over-medicating - especially those that take allergy medications each day just to be safe.
The Value of Hyper-Local Pollen Data: Creating a Personalized Experience
For pharmaceutical companies looking to make use of pollen data in ways that provide increased value to their user base, the key take-away is that people don't just want pollen data, they want information that adjusts to their own particular needs, sensitivities, and preferences — it's this personalized approach that really represents value-add in today’s marketplace.
While it’s no easy task to provide good data, BreezoMeter’s hyper-local pollen API has been designed to gather data from an assortment of different sources — vegetation land cover, pollen counts from monitoring stations, emissions models. This information is then processed and modeled to provide comprehensive, location-based, and easy to interpret information for the user.
The “visual language” and hyper-local nature of BreezoMeter's pollen data makes the information and its potential use cases unique. By deploying highly visual heatmaps like the example shown below, pharmaceutical companies can translate highly complex subjects like changing pollen and air quality levels in a much more intuitive way for their users.
To highlight one particular use case, US based trail guide company AllTrails make use of this kind of information to help allergy-sensitive hiking enthusiasts avoid particular trails when the pollen count is particularly high.
By integrating hyper-local and personalized pollen information, pharmaceutical companies can help their customers understand when pollen levels are going to increase at their location and educate allergy sufferers on the particular pollen types in the air, as well as the types they might personally be sensitive to.
In this way, forward-thinking pharmaceutical companies make life much easier for individuals with allergy sensitivities and stand a much better chance of developing meaningful, long-lasting customer relationships.