How Do Empathy and Habit Marketing Fit Together?

Two major themes are sweeping through pharmaceutical marketing. The first theme is “Empathy.” As promulgated by advertising agencies, enhancing the level of empathy health care providers (HCPs) feel toward patients in a given treatment area is purported to be an excellent way to get scripts written that would otherwise not make it to the prescription pad. Raising HCP prescribing motivation based on a specifically emotional appeal aimed at enhancing empathy is the line of reasoning that is being pursued. The second theme being heard with increasing frequency in the hallways of pharmaceutical companies is the move toward “Habit Marketing.” Building on recent interest in such areas as Behavioral Economics and Neuromarketing, habit marketing is the next logical step in recognizing that HCP prescribing behavior is more about diagnosis by pattern recognition, leading in turn to habitual prescribing, than it is about systematic differential diagnosis leading to logical prescribing decisions.

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