Marketing Continuity COVID-19: Engaging Patients and Caregivers



The COVID-19 outbreak has affected how people seek healthcare, across all disease states. This pandemic has also impacted how immunocompromised individuals, older citizens, and caregivers behave with HCPs. Many pharma companies are questioning their role in this pandemic and re-evaluating their current marketing strategies.

Below is a brief overview of options pharma companies can execute in the short term that will address these imminent concerns and help establish a stronger foundation of communication for longer-term marketing goals.

Please contact your account lead to discuss how we can help your brand(s) navigate this quickly evolving landscape.


Self-Guided Education Tools


NPP tactics that inform patients and caregivers 24/7

  • Digitized versions of print assets, such as starter kits, welcome kits, and support materials should be made accessible for HCPs, advocacy groups, and patients/caregivers wherever possible.
  • E-Details of the onboarding process should be developed in place of in-person nurse or HCP guidance.


How does it work?

Digitizing assets into PDFs is a quick win. Deciding on where they should live requires strategic input from your marketing teams. It could be a hidden link hosted on your website (not searchable or public) that houses all of the PDFs. You can also distribute this link via emails sent to interested parties like HCPs, patients/caregivers, and advocacy organizations.

Your brand’s onboarding process may require a nurse to walk the patient/caregiver through the administration process, or go in detail about how to monitor the patient’s progress after their initial dose. However detailed the onboarding process, you can record the process via a self-guided presentation leveraging existing assets, or develop a chapterized video that is customized with prompts during the video.

Why should I consider it?

Your patients and caregivers may limit (or be limited to) how often they see their HCPs and/or nurses. You have to evaluate what type of information you need your patients/caregivers to receive and ensure there are other options available to them.

AI Chatbots Can Provide Immediate Support

AI-powered chatbots that live on a website or textbots that can be accessed via phone can help a user understand your brand’s value proposition and provide a more conversational, personalized experience.

How does it work?

Chatbots might require more lead times for launch because of regulatory approvals tied to your brand’s website, but there are no additional costs to developing the chatbot. A script (similar to a call script) is developed and then uploaded into an AI-powered Natural Language Processor platform like Dialogue Flow (Google Open Source technology that powers chatbots, voice skills, and call centers).

Textbots have a similar development process but do not live on a website. They can be launched through a texting service like Twilio and once the script is approved, the texting service can launch immediately. There are nominal fees incurred, such as procuring a short code for someone to use in order to access the service on their phone (eg, text “COVID-19” to “692-692” for updates) and the individual texts (on average $.0075 per text).

Why should I consider it?

Patients and caregivers no longer have access to HCPs or nurses to help answers questions about treatment options or care. They will turn to the internet to fulfill their queries, and you can’t control what information they consume on a third-party site. Providing the convenience and customized conversation of an AI-powered textbot or chatbot will support patients/caregivers’ journey while considering treatment and/or starting/undergoing treatment.

Becoming More Social 


Now’s the Time for Social Conversations

If your brand already has a Facebook page but hasn’t empowered 2-way engagement, or if you haven’t explored social media platforms — now is the time to evaluate where they fit into your marketing plan. The longer people stay isolated, the more they seek connection and information through their peers on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

How does it work?

Creating Facebook ads is a quick win for any brand; an upgrade would be enabling 2-way engagement so that people can comment on your ads and you can respond to questions patients/caregivers may have about their condition and how it might be impacted by COVID-19.

Why should I consider it?

There is still very little information about how COVID-19 affects current diseases. Misinformation is rampant, especially on social media. You have the opportunity to control the narrative and provide a level of support that is quick and sensitive to patients’ needs.

Reassessing Partnerships


Look to Leverage Your Partnerships Differently

  • If your brand has a sponsorship with an advocacy group’s patient event that has been canceled or moved onto a virtual platform, you need to reassess what messaging opportunities you will have on these platforms.
  • You can create more opportunities by leveraging your sponsorship with a discussion on Facebook Live or another virtual forum where the advocacy members will attend.

How does it work?

  • Tap a KOL to have a meaningful discussion with a patient/ caregiver about how COVID-19 is affecting your disease category. Whether it’s a FB live or live-streaming event in a closed setting, get the rights to record that conversation and disseminate across all available NPP channels for your brand.
  • Make sure that whatever virtual platform the conference is being moved to has promotional opportunities and discuss those options with the advocacy group. Find other ways to promote your brand to the virtual attendees.

Why should I consider it?

Just because a conference is canceled, doesn’t mean that’s a lost opportunity for your brand’s presence. People still need to hear your information, as long as you provide it in a subtle, less intrusive manner.

Please contact your account leads or if you have any questions or would like to discuss any of the above.