Every year, while many products are launched, few survive.
Soon enough, most disappear due to a variety of factors including poor marketing, competitive pressures, distribution challenges and, fatally, market indifference.
So, what can we learn from a launch that worked incredibly well?
To make those lessons even more instructive, we’re going to review how GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in the US created such a successful launch campaign for Flonase, an OTC (Over the Counter) allergy relief brand.
The healthcare industry isn’t always known for its marketing creativity. When everything clicks, however, it clicks big.
That’s why Meredith Herman, GSK’s head of digital marketing was just chosen as one of Adweek’s 10 Brand Geniuses for 2016.
Flonase’s success was no forgone conclusion. There were many established competitors out there fighting for every dollar, customer and share point.
As with most things that work, it always pays to simplify and focus on what’s important:
“From a digital standpoint, we know people are inundated with banners ads and marketing messages, and unlike TV or print, they have the option to skip, scroll past or just X us out. So we understand that we have to provide the consumer with value first,” Herman told FiercePharma.
So, what are the simple steps GSK took:
They coordinated their digital, TV and print campaigns.
This is something brands of all types don’t do enough of—reaching their audience members across all channels in a coordinated fashion.
For their Flonase launch, GSK built a coordinated media approach spanning TV, print and digital. Even though these channels were coordinated, they still had different goals for each, which was key in the success of their campaign.
TV was used to introduce people to the brand, as it provided the most general audience. The digital objective was to explain more about how the product worked, and build a platform for conversation with customers.
This was key for GSK. They needed to create initial brand awareness for their new product, but that wasn’t going to be enough to compete in a saturated healthcare market. By coordinating with their digital campaign, they were able to do both—build awareness, and start a convincing conversation with potential buyers.
They listened to their customers and found the perfect tagline.
Yes, listening to your customers is one of the most powerful and obvious things you can do to boost a marketing campaign of any kind; you just have to do it the right way.
Herman and her team wanted to drive more organic searches so they started researching what allergy sufferers were looking for.
They found that allergy sufferers felt they weren’t getting relief with their current allergy meds and didn’t like missing out on fun activities when allergies were triggered.
From there, Herman and her team developed the tagline and theme, encouraging sufferers to “Be greater than your allergies.”
Healthcare is something very personal, and touches on many powerful, core human emotions. Leveraging the power of your current customer base as a healthcare brand can help you tap into the emotions your customers already have, instead of guessing for every media campaign.
They got visual with social media.
You’ve heard many times that visual campaigns and social media go together. Sometimes you get it right, and sometimes you get it REALLY right. GSK launched it’s first online content initiative with Instagram, and it was an immense success.
GSK used six Instagram photographers with allergies who snapped photos along 24-hour journeys through the outdoors—hay fields, dandelion patches and hanging out with pets.
This visual confirmation that Flonase worked for them fuelled the “24 Hours of Being Greater” campaign, and GSK invited people to share their own photos. They did. Between 5,000 and 6,000 pictures were posted.
Herman and her team didn’t stop there: they came back a few months later with a celebrity dog “Doug the Pug,” and asked people to share their own photos again on Instagram with the hashtag #FallofFame.
It wasn’t just photos, they leveraged videos as well. In spring 2016, Flonase worked with YouTube-famous family the Eh Bees to go on an allergy road trip to 10 of the worst cities for allergy sufferers; she had a great time, and shared her experience online.
In a complicated and clinical healthcare world, humanising Flonase by leveraging the experiences of customers is really what took GSK’s social campaign from good to great. The proof is in the numbers.
According to Adweek, Flonase generated sales of $100 million in the first 16 weeks after its launch. Not only that— they captured 10% of the market just one year after launch.
The key to a successful marketing campaign is knowing your market and your audience. If you have a good handle on both, you can support product campaigns with relevance, creativity and entertainment for your current customers and potential customers.
Easier said than done, of course but that’s why the brand and their owners that do it well reap the rewards initially and for years to come.
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