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7th Annual CubeX-Nicholas Hall Consumer Healthcare Conference 2019 held

The conference explored ways for marketers to connect with today’s tech-savvy consumers through speakers who were presented at the conference

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As the technology matrix gets bigger and better, every entity is finding innovative ways to keep up with it, especially in the health and wellness arena. From sight to touch, consumers are exposed to digitisation through all basic senses. The consumption techniques are multiplying and the strategies are entangling, day after day. The one who is in tune with this change, will catch the consumers’ attention. Based on this, the 7th Annual CubeX-Nicholas Hall Consumer Healthcare Conference 2019 explored ways for marketers to connect with today’s tech-savvy consumers through speakers who presented at the conference.

Global consumer healthcare market continues with low momentum but key trends drive the market. Nicholas Hall, Executive Chairman and Creative Solutions Director, Nicholas Hall Group of Companies, provided a global outlook to the consumer healthcare domain and highlighted the key trends shaping the market. The global OTC market has been valued at $175 bn (in 2018, as per Nicholas Hall’s DB6 2019), growing at CAGR of approx. 5 per cent. The growth momentum continues to be low due to various factors such as pricing pressure, deceleration of emerging markets, impact of e-commerce on retail business (generic offerings playing a key role) and more importantly, 2018 was the first year in a long time that did not witness a switch.

However, there are some key trends influencing the overall market such as innovations, especially in lifestyle OTC category. Cannabis continues to make headlines with new gum format while cocoa extract food supplements get positioned for healthy blood circulation. Hall also co-presented 15 infinity zones from his signature report ‘New Paradigms 2019: Over the Horizon’ along with Bernadette de Villiers, Creative Solutions Manager at Nicholas Hall and Company. One of infinity zones was prevention wherein digestive health is assuming more importance as a gateway to overall health and well-being. Women’s health especially for the ageing population gains ground (the brand, wellwoman 70+ being a testimony to this trend). Medical devices, including those positioned for women’s needs such as fertility monitors, are a rapidly evolving segment. Finally, Hall reiterated that PACE model (Pharmacy, Adjacency, Consumer and E-commerce) will be a strong pillar for consumer healthcare.

Decoding the Digital Consumer
Shivaji Dasgupta, Chief Strategy Officer, Havas Group India shared insights regarding the emerging consumer profile in India. Based on BCG research on urban consumers, it was found information-based shopping (with at least two data points) was found among 85 per cent of the respondents across categories. In the context of healthcare, it was found that 57 per cent of consumers embrace health and wellness through services, food and gadgets – which indicates that marketers have to think beyond the pill and other traditional offerings. The study also indicates that while online retail may touch approximately 10 per cent of the total retail spending by 2025, by then, “digitally influenced retail spending” will touch 30-35 per cent (currently it is estimated at roughly 20 per cent). Hence, the power of the digital medium as a consumer touchpoint will only gain more importance in time to come. On similar lines, Venugopal Ganganna, CEO, Langoor Havas also highlighted that online searches for various information points is increasing as also voice-based searches and hence, redefining the media experience for the digital consumer stands out as a prominent need for marketers.

Creating New Footprints and New Routes to Success in Consumer Healthcare
A few young leaders also shared interesting insights and experiences related to innovative businesses that are catering precisely to the digital consumer. Varun Alagh, Co-Founder and Chief Dad, Mamaearth spoke about influencing consumers in the digital age, one of the principles being commitment and consistency. Also, he stated, an authoritative figure (such as a doctor) does influence consumers as a“social proof” of the brand as it can influence other consumers’ behaviour and thoughts.

Chris Clarke, Chief Operating Officer, Hello Health Group spoke about how the company’s digital health media network in South East Asia is empowering consumers, based on content in local languages. Known Hello Swasthya in India, it is the country’s fastest-growing health and wellness platform with over 2.3 million social followers especially in lower tier cities.

Dr Rashmi Shetty, Aesthetic Dermatologist, Ra Skin and Aesthetics spoke about how right influencers can help consumers adopt solutions that are more suitable to them. Often, bloggers and vloggers on social media platforms may not be qualified to give the right advice like dermatologists (who can be constrained in advocating specific solutions due to regulations) and thus, it can leave glaring gaps with consumers.
Varun Khanna, Co-Founder, Fast&Up and Founder, Fullife Healthcare spoke about focussing on specific consumer segments such as millennials and creating products and communication that they can relate to. He also answered a key question that often besieges marketers stating that both, online as well offline retail presence, are needed today as consumers adopt both of them based on convenience.

Ajay Singh Parihar, Head of Marketing, OTC Health Care Business, Dabur India, further highlighted that e-commerce as a distribution channel may be more of a compulsion for brands launched in recent times as it has almost become a norm. He also spoke about how important it is to maintain core brand values while contemporising existing heritage brands.

Betting on Success: Digital vs Phy-gital
The panel discussion was a mix of marketers from varied backgrounds such as pharma and FMCG as well as existing and emerging businesses. One of the key takeaways from the panel discussion is that marketers may have to start redefining “phy-gital” not just in the context of distribution footprint. They may have to consider it in terms of enhancing consumer experience through packaging innovations that utilise the digital medium and health ATMs in pharmacies that connect consumers with healthcare professionals.

What is in store for marketers
The conference also witnessed a fireside chat between NK Ahooja, State Drugs Controller, FDA, Haryana/Head of new OTC sub-committee and Milind Thatte, Managing Director and Member of the Executive Board, Procter & Gamble Health/Chairperson of OTC Committee in OPPI/Member of the Global Self-Care Federation board. The outcome was a positive outlook to the much-awaited OTC regulations with emphasis on the need to empower pharmacists/paramedics as well as ensure right information touch points are available to empower the consumer.

Kanchana TK, Director General and Board Member, OPPI presented on ‘Empowering Every I’, an OPPI initiative related to the cause of responsible self-medication. Nitika Garg, Director Research, OPPI presented details pertaining to the Value of OTC Study, a research initiative to determine the economic impact of OTC medication in India.

To conclude, while digitally native consumers may be today’s key audience in the digital world, it cannot be ignored that the consumer base is significantly rising across ages as well as socio-economic groups. The successful companies will be those who can seamlessly integrate the digital world into the real world and redefine the consumer experience in terms of offerings (products and services), marketing, distribution as well as engagement.

The conference was rounded off with a bang with the launch of the first edition of India’s 1st Consumer Healthcare Marketing and Creative Awards 2019. There were three categories of awards – Best Creative Campaign which was won by Durex of (RB), Best New Product Lau      nch for which PeeSafe – Menstrual Cups took the lead and the Best Digital Campaign had two winners i.e. Neurobion (P&G Health) and Cofsils (Cipla Health).

EP News Bureau

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