The Right Way to Market a Vaccine (and Any Product)

Written by Mehrab Reza | March 05, 2021

The Right Way to Market a Vaccine (and Any Product)

Written by Mehrab Reza March 05, 2021

2020 has changed everything. And though vaccines have brought a light to the end of the tunnel, we now face the challenge of overcoming vaccine hesitancy.

People seem to have a ton of concerns, a lot of opinions, and plenty of questions.

To address these challenges and spread positive information about vaccines, businesses and governments have turned to the best marketing agencies with hopes that they can find a way to get more people vaccinated quickly.

I believe this to be true: the greatest possible pinnacle of marketing is achieved when it’s used to change behaviors in the direction of the consumer’s best interest. It’s at its lowest when marketing is used to trick or deceive people into acting against themselves for the interest of corporations.

The Right Way to Market a Vaccine (and Any Product)

How to Market a Vaccine

In order for marketing to work, whether it’s for a vacation, a Volkswagen, or a vaccine, marketers shouldn’t forget about the business of marketing. Which is, Who, What, and How.

  • Who is my audience and who am I marketing to?
  • What do I need to say to them in order to change their behavior?
  • How will I achieve my goal in the most effective and efficient way possible?

If you start with these three questions, all of your marketing campaigns will perform better. And the degree of your success will depend upon your ability to arrive at the right answers.

Let’s plan a vaccine marketing campaign starting with the first question. Who is my audience and who am I marketing to? The mistake many businesses make is that they think in very broad or vague terms. They lump audiences together and try to advertise to everyone at once.

Instead of saying their audience is someone who has tried to lose weight at the gym in the last 60 days and failed, businesses say their audience is everyone who is overweight in America.

We’re not doing that; we’re going to do better.

How to Market a Vaccine

Understand Your Audience

The theoretical audience for a vaccine is literally everyone.

But when you say your audience is everybody, what you’re really saying is that your audience is nobody. No one can (nor should they try to) write a singular marketing message that can penetrate the hearts and minds of every single person.

Ideas only resonate with audiences if the message speaks to them uniquely. If we’re to inspire people to change, we need to get specific about who needs the vaccine and divide them into demographics.

Here are a few demographics for the vaccine:

  • People who have come across misinformation and have become skeptical
  • People who have been discriminated against by the healthcare system for their race or color
  • People who have unanswered questions about the vaccine, such as:
    • The speed of vaccine development
    • The level of immunity it provides
    • Long-term side effects that may be associated
  • People who don’t speak English as their primary language

These are complex and diverse groups of people. Can you imagine trying to create a singular message that impacts all of them?

What Do You Want to Say?

To persuade someone who is concerned about the speed of vaccine development, they need to receive messages about how the vaccine has gone through more trials than any other vaccine in history.

It would be beneficial to explain that the vaccine has already been given to tens of millions of people with very minimal negative results. And that there have been zero vaccine-related deaths across all those tens of millions of people.

And positive stories about individuals who have received the vaccine would go a long way.

But as you can imagine, this message would completely flop for someone who experienced discrimination from healthcare and insurance companies.

Where Do You Need to Be

Where Do You Need to Be?

The final question (the How) in the business of marketing is about platform strategy. This is all about where your target audience is most likely to be receptive of your message.

If your audience isn’t just one type of person and they don’t all respond to the same message, then logic confirms they don’t live under the same roof or gather at the same public square.

It can be safely assumed that people who have come across vaccine misinformation did so on social media. Therefore, a social media campaign would be the right platform for you to spread your unique message.

But if you’re trying to reach an audience who does not speak English as their primary language, then you probably need to physically go into their communities and place billboard ads in their primary language.

And people who have been discriminated against rightfully harbor a deep mistrust for the healthcare system and insurance companies. To persuade them, you need to find ambassadors within their communities who can speak honestly and directly.

The Business of Marketing

The Business of Marketing

The Who, What, and How are the fundamentals of the business of marketing. They will guide and help you understand your audience better than anybody else in your industry.

If you understand your audience well, if you walk in their shoes and register how they feel, if you discover what their challenges are—well, you’re going to win.

If you ever lose your way, go back to your audience and they’ll tell you what you need to know. They have all the answers.

Hope this helps,

Mehrab Reza



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *