Insights on Today's Healthcare Consumer

Why Pharmaceutical Companies Should Use Psychographic Segmentation in 2018

Posted by Brent Walker on Tue, Dec 12, 2017


Pharmaceuticals marketing has increasingly shifted toward consumerism with Direct-To-Consumer advertising, and the pharmaceutical environment is increasingly competitive and dynamic. In today’s market, the ability to effectively target promotional activities toward consumers who are most likely to respond to your efforts is essential to success.

If pharmaceutical companies want to be more successful engaging consumers and convincing them that they need specific medications, then they must understand what’s driving both doctors and patients. Different people respond differently to various components of marketing and to different channels, yet many companies continue to use traditional marketing approaches  to reach consumers in a changing healthcare environment.


Pharmaceutical Companies Face Big Challenges

The challenges facing pharmaceutical manufacturing companies today are massive. Competition for customer loyalty has become even tougher than ever, especially since consumers have become more skeptical and difficult to impress.

Without significant product differentiation, both consumers and the insurance companies with whom pharmaceutical products vie for formulary placement (or simply inclusion) are at a severe disadvantage. Companies can’t afford to spend time and money on marketing techniques that don’t provide results.


Moving from Being Product-Focused to Being Customer-Focused

In order to stay competitive in today’s changing healthcare environment and better engage patients and physicians, pharmaceutical companies must shift from being product-focused to being customer-focused. They must improve the effectiveness of interactions and communications with customers, including both patients and physicians, to meet marketing objectives and help promote better health outcomes.

This involves learning how to market effectively to different groups of people. Pharmaceutical companies have historically used traditional segmentation methods such as demographic segmentation with consumers and prescribing segmentation with physicians, but these types of marketing approaches provide limited results because they only offer superficial information or what customers are doing — not why they are doing it. Instead, they should look more closely at what deeply motivates consumers.

Using psychographic segmentation in pharmaceutical marketing offers a better way to understand your target audience so you’re able to create marketing campaigns that really resonate with consumers. It segments consumers into different groups based upon why they make decisions and behave in the ways they do.

Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach that merely looks at health conditions of consumers or their demographic information, psychographic segmentation provides detailed information on consumer emotions, personalities, values, beliefs, interests and attitudes. After all, consumers are not “walking health conditions” and they do not define themselves by a disease. While some behaviors and priorities may change with a health condition, their personalities and core motivations do not.

Psychographic segmentation in pharmaceutical marketing is a very powerful tool, because it looks more closely at the motivations and attitudes of consumers, providing pharmaceutical companies with crucial information on what consumers want and why they want it.

Psychographic segmentation also provides information on the keys to driving behavior change among consumers. Messaging based on consumer motivations are more likely to activate desired behaviors and strengthen the relationship between brand and patient. Psychographics provides a more complete form of marketing, augmenting behavioral and demographic data with key insights on consumer motivations and personalities.

Interestingly, certain psychographic segments are more likely to demand the brand name prescription while others are happy getting a generic:


Self Achievers and Willful Endurers are more likely than other segments to trust a brand name prescription, but these two segments are diametrically opposed in how they approach health and wellness, and respond to different messaging. A “one size fits all” message is not likely to resonate with these segments, and advertising/promotion that speaks to the less interested segments will be largely ineffective.

Physicians and patients are people first, and people are very complex beings who have behaviors and attitudes rooted in values that define their overall mindsets. Value propositions and communications messages that fall on deaf ears and fail to resonate with the motivations of consumers represent wasted time and marketing dollars. Psychographic segmentation is an important step towards more effective pharmaceutical marketing, allowing pharmaceutical companies to customize consumer engagement to maximize success.





Brent Walker

Written by: Brent Walker

As Chief Marketing Officer, Brent's primary responsibilities include leading marketing strategy and execution for c2b solutions, development of c2b solutions' proprietary consumer segmentation model and insights products, research on healthcare consumers’ motivations and behaviors, and providing marketing guidance to c2b solutions clients.

Tags: psychographic segmentation examples, pharmaceutical marketing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, direct to consumer advertising

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