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Merck Serono Uses Social Media To Raise Awareness On Fertility

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About Merck Serono

Merck Serono is a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Darmstadt, Germany, and a brand and division of Merck focused on biopharmaceuticals. They are also the pioneers in the fertility improving products worldwide & have products for every stage of the reproductive life cycle.With an estimated 1.8 million babies born thanks to our innovative products, we have helped thousands of infertile couples to realize their dream of having a child. Merck continues to pursue focused research and development in order to offer patients the fertility treatments of tomorrow.

1.8 million babies are estimated to be born, thanks to Merck’s innovative products.Merck has also  helped thousands of infertile couples to actualize their aspiration of having a baby.

Prelude:

Producing a progeny is a natural expectation of every human society but the degree may vary basis geography, race, culture & socio-economic factors. In the India context, reproduction & conception is an extremely sensitive subject & any inability can cause huge emotional & social distress to the family concerned.

There has been a substantial epidemiological increase in the number of infertility cases lately & as per a 2013 world bank report, decline in fertility started a decade back  as mentioned by doctors to times of India.

The factors that lead to these could be either lifestyle or clinical in nature. The lifestyle factors are an increase in martial age, higher obesity issues, more alcohol & cigarette consumption & finally more working women. The clinical factors are increased PCOS & higher STDs.

The burden of infertility in India is about 22-33 million couples in their reproductive age  as per the recent EY report.

The times of India survey article says the following, “It is believed that 10% of the general population suffers from some form of infertility. Given that India has a population of over 1.2 billion, the number of Indians suffering from infertility is huge,” -Dr Jaideep Malhotra, the president-elect of the Asia Pacific Initiative on Reproduction.

close up of woman with pregnancy test hugging man Poor sperm count (41 percent) played a major role in male infertility, female infertility was caused mainly by polycystic ovarian disorder or PCOD (40 percent), said Dr Hrishikesh Pai, from Indian Society for Assisted Reproduction (ISAR).

This research survey, endorsed by the Indian Society for Assisted Reproduction (ISAR), was focused on nine large Indian cities like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Agra,  Bangalore,  Kolkata, & Delhi

In spite of increasing epidemiological concerns, there seems to be limited public awareness around treatment & management of the condition. Therefore, Merck intended to harness the power of  social media to reach out & engage with the community.

Image credits www.expert beacon.com

Business Objective:

  • Helping Indian couples break their silence on the dominant & rising issue of infertility.
  • Spreading awareness on tackling fertility issues through education & counselling
  • Increasing social intent towards diagnosis & treatments.
  • Building a positive mindset towards ART treatments amongst all stake holders.

Approach/Initiative:

The launch of a social health initiative to educate & engage with couples with fertility issues. The launch of Parents of fertility web portal, “Break the silence” campaign on Facebook & youtube.The campaign was also integrated with a judicious use of public relations & radio campaigns & in-clinic messaging.This was one of the pioneering initiatives by a pharma major in the digital space .

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 5.38.27 pm Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 8.44.25 pm

Results:

With great quality educational content, simple & emotional creative execution & progressive SEO bouts, the campaign created increasing reach & interest amongst the intended stakeholders. Some of the interim metrics are mentioned below

case_studyFacebook page:

29000+ fans,  800000+ social reach

Web portal:

225000+ views for 6 episodes,1100+ messages from couples

You tube:

1.17+ million views for break the silence views

Fertility awareness Camps;

20+ camps counselling 3000+ patients

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Learnings:

In spite of having the highest need for parenthood, India ranks the lowest in awareness towards fertility problems. The need to destigmatize the problem & at the same time get the society to be vocal could have been achieved only through an online media multichannel route.

The learnings could be summarised as follows;

  • Emotional videos communicating the deep anguish of couples  are the best mediums to change behaviours from denial to acceptance. Video content also goes more viral.
  • Educational content from medical authorities nudged the couples towards possible treatment solutions. Key opinion leaders & practice leaders programmes garner more weight leading to better relative ranking for the web portal.
  • Focused public relation’s effort could further amplify key messages to a larger audience through the newspaper route.
  • Increased usage of original posts on the facebook page & higher share rate amongst fans also helped in building the organic reach.
  • Concurrently, The helping families survey that was marketed through Adwords & other tools pushed the audience to the web portal further enhancing the reach.

Ending remark: Although social media is predominantly used for entertainment purposes, integrating it with certain important life issues like health improves the credentials of this medium. It’s the beginning of a new era of social health.

Image Credits: EY report on expanding IVF care in India

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