Do you appreciate your medicine's package?
- Written by Barri Blauvelt
The package is one of the most underappreciated marketing tools that companies can use to directly communicate with the patient. With the exception of pills going into a pill bottle, which is unique to the USA, this is your moment to touch and talk to the patient.
There are two "moments of truth" – the sample package and the commercial package. Let's start with the sample package. Some of the most creative sample packaging that we have evaluated doesn't even include active ingredient in it. Shire's patch for ADHD is a great example of that. The doctor would give the patient (or the parents of a child patient) an educational sample package with a placebo patch so they could see what a placebo patch would look like and feel like before they made any mistakes when applying the actual, and very expensive, patch. The doctor also could then demonstrate how to wear the placebo patch and further direct them to the materials inside the sample pack to talk about that medicine.
This would naturally engage the patient and direct them to the company for further services. Shire brands completed a great package.
Another great example was the culturally intelligent sampleless HBV/Hepatitis B education material for Baraclude patients as well as their family and friends. Every word on the education materials was written to be respectful, understanding, and sensitive of the patient's culture, including being done in the language of that culture of the patient. These small details matter and can make a huge difference when used properly.
In terms of the commercial package, America is ancient. We sell pills in a bottle, the rest of the world buys blister packs, the package itself lending well to a chance to build in collateral education and service value. However, undaunted, Americans are innovators, even in the pill bottle, to not only track and remind, but also to deliver educational messaging. We challenge all marketers to consider such innovations, especially in this increasingly generic and regulated world, to interact with our market.