CHC Adjacencies Fuelling Digital Marketing Innovation

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A new report from Nicholas Hall examines effective digital marketing strategies for consumer health players and the fast-growing online channel for OTCs. In this week’s blog, we examine which consumer healthcare categories, brands and companies most fully embraced social media marketing in 2019, and summarise the report’s findings.

Given the tight regulations surrounding the promotion of registered OTC medicines on social media, it’s no surprise that the subcategories where we’ve recorded the most digital marketing activity in 2019 – using our OTC New Products Tracker tool – were adjacent categories in Lifestyle OTCs, VMS and dermatologicals. Cannabis / CBD recorded the highest number of innovations backed by social media promotion in 2019, followed by lip care and probiotics.

Of the Top 20 brands that recorded the highest number of innovations in 2019 backed by social media promotion, lip care products Eos (Eos) and ChapStick (formerly Pfizer, now GSK) were at the top of the tree. For example, Eos Vampire Kiss was supported by an Instagram campaign in the run-up to Halloween. CBD companies such as Hilo, CBDfx and Ignite – the latter backed by professional poker player and social media celebrity Dan Bilzerian – have also used digital marketing in 2019 to support their new products. Among VMS brands, Irwin Naturals, Zarbee’s Naturals (J&J) and Olly (Unilever) were all well-supported on social media, especially Facebook.

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Below are some of the findings from the new Nicholas Hall report:

  • It is vital that approaches to digital marketing are differentiated across digital and social media channels
  • Most consumers trust social media for healthcare advice, making an engaging social media strategy critical
  • Rapid adoption of digital technologies and evolving shopping behaviours are transforming e-Commerce into a key channel in consumer healthcare
  • Consumers will generally shop where it is most convenient, so understanding where they are shopping online is vital
  • Mobile is consumers’ constant companion so all content should be accessible on mobile devices
  • Since the virtual shelf is infinite, standing out from competitors online requires orchestrated brand communication

Comment from Ian Crook, Managing Editor, Nicholas Hall’s Reports: When considering how to target consumers via digital channels, marketers must note that different demographic groups use different social media platforms, and in diverse ways. Content consumption is diversifying just as audiences are broadening; the modern consumer leads a very busy life and can be easily distracted, posing challenges to effective engagement. Fostering consumer connections is vital, and whichever means of communication is used – live streaming, chatbots, social media messaging, etc – interacting with consumers is essential. Marketers cannot win everywhere or invest in all platforms, so choosing the appropriate medium is an important step in planning an effective digital campaign.

The new report features many more findings, backed by relevant case studies, including a look at consumer influencers, the benefits of a direct-to-consumer strategy, the digital strategies of the OTC Top 10, as well as the differing regulatory situation for online sale of medicines across markets, plus much more. To purchase your copy of Digital Marketing & e-Commerce, or for more details, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Natural & Organic a focus for M&A and innovation

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Continuing our series of blogs on the 10 Infinity Zones for future CHC growth recently outlined by Nicholas Hall, in this edition we take a closer look at natural & organic products. This is by no means a new trend, but it’s certainly one increasingly on the radar of multinationals, as exemplified by J&J’s recent purchase of Zarbee’s Naturals.

Among herbal & natural cough remedies, Zarbee’s has been gaining share on rivals such as Little Remedies, Hyland’s and Chestal, while also growing faster than most medicated OTC cough remedies. Another growth driver in the US market is Maty’s all-natural and organic range, including honey-based cough remedies, while Unilever recently bought Olly Nutrition, another range of VMS products with a strong emphasis on natural ingredients, such as the 10 phytonutrients in its Super Foods Multi line.

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A+P for most herbal & natural products often emphasises the importance of quality standards and – increasingly – organic and responsibly-­sourced ingredients. In China, the No.1 probiotic brand Biostime (Health & Happiness for Institut Rosell) is promoted on the basis of the organic sourcing of its ingredients, while marketing involving brand ambassador Juliette Binoche also emphasises the natural heritage of the brand.

According to OTC New Products Tracker, the number of launches that include the word “organic” either in their branding or list of ingredients is growing fast, with 246 innovations in 2018 vs 168 in 2017 and just 81 in 2016. Over half of these products are unsurprisingly classified as vitamins, minerals & supplements, however there is also a growing number of “organic” Lifestyle OTCs, especially among medical cannabis products, sedatives & sleep aids and stimulants.

Last chance to pre-order Nicholas Hall’s New Paradigms for CHC 2019: Over the Horizon, written by Nicholas himself! Examine each aspect of the CHC industry in 20 chapters, with a focus on major issues including Regulation, Pharmacy Point-of-Care, M&A, Switch and much more. Nicholas will also unveil the “infinity zones” he has identified as being crucial to the future growth of the industry. In addition to this, you can upgrade your purchase to include a customised in-house presentation or webinar with Nicholas for an additional GB£10,000. To find out more or to place your order, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.