Marketers shouldn’t forget “Mommy Bloggers”

Two decades ago, if you were a pharmaceutical company looking to market a new pharmaceutical drug, your marketing communications plan consisted mostly of three tactics:

1. Sales representatives meeting with physicians

2. Placing articles on your clinical studies in medical journals

3. Paid advertising

Pharmaceutical marketing has changed dramatically since then. But while much of the talk has centered on Facebook, Twitter and the company’s own social media tools, there is another social media platform out there that marketers would be well-advised to pay attention to: MOMMY BLOGGERS.

They’re mothers who share their experiences raising kids and families online. Some are stay at home moms. Some work part-time. Some have great and very lucrative full-time careers. But they share their thoughts on everything from their experiences toilet training to how to prepare kids for long trips. And many of their posts contain recommendations on which products to buy, including medicines.

Granted, if a child has cancer (heaven forbid!!!), they’re likely simply going to follow the recommendations laid out by a medical professional. But what about conditions like head lice or the common cold that, while a nuisance, are by no means life threatening? Moms (and Dads too) are increasingly internet-savvy, and will likely take to the internet to find out about treatment options. If another Mom has blogged about how they treated their kid’s head lice infestation or whether the cold treatment they used last week worked or not, it could come up in search engine results.

Pediatricians, like other primary care physicians, often do not get to spend much time with each patient. If the parent already understand available treatment options and proposes one to the prescriber, and the prescriber finds no medical reason not to prescribe it, he or she may just write a script right away.

Mommy Bloggers can be potent messengers on any other topic related to raising children. If they hated a particular type of stroller they bought a couple of weeks ago, they may write about it. If they think Teletubbies is a great show to have young children watch, they may write as much. If they think the cashiers at the local Kids R Us are rude, they may vent about it in the blogosphere. These messages can go viral quickly and either greatly benefit or greatly damage a product’s brand.

Should a company focus all of its marketing efforts on mommy bloggers, or even mothers in general? Of course not. And there are way too many out there to target each one individually anyway. But marketing professionals definitely should pay attention to what these bloggers are writing. Because when your target audience is caregivers of children, who has more credibility than other caregivers who have used those products already?

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About Joshua Brett
I am a native of Chicago, but have lived on the East Coast for almost 20 years. After starting my career as a news reporter, I moved into healthcare marketing, first with a small hospital, then with a small pharmaceutical development company and now with a chain of businesses that are working to improve access to the health care system. In May 2011, I completed my Masters Degree in Communication Management at Temple University, and I enjoy helping businesses, particularly healthcare ones, identify, tell and leverage their stories to achieve their business goals. My related interests are in messaging and framing in politics and in the use of social media platforms (including blogs similar to this one) by the healthcare industry to engage patients directly, drive them to healthcare providers and make them more educated consumers when they do so. Unlike my previous, disorganized, scattershot attempt at blogging, I hope to make this attempt more focused. We'll see what happens.

One Response to Marketers shouldn’t forget “Mommy Bloggers”

  1. Krista says:

    Hi Josh–good reminder about how more and more consumers are seeking and sharing health information online. The Mommy Blogger phenomena goes to show the strength and scope of new communications. Healthcare marketers are wise to not only monitor these conversations but also look for innovative ways to engage with their customers. For most pharma companies, there’s a wait-and-see approach to engaging with patients or caregivers online, but the fact remains that these conversations are already happening about their products.

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