New York, NY — An app isn’t right for every brand, but when it is right, it can be really powerful.

We recently had the opportunity to hear from Paul Ewing and Tawana Burnett, with Pfizer’s consumer marketing and consumer engagement teams, about one of those powerful, simple apps.

At Pfizer, patient engagement has always been a priority. They believe more patient engagement creates more patient benefit: more knowledge (replacing confusion), better decisions (dispersing denial), more action (fighting inertia), and real long-term behavior (winning over competing priorities).

Of course, each of those opportunities for patient engagement is happening in an environment of information overload. There’s real-time access to all kinds of information, constant comparison between similar options, and then the tricky triagulation with lots of other health- and family- deicions.

It can be overwhelming.

To break through that overwhelming clutter and create that clarity, Pfizer is focused on three strategies:

  1. Two-way dialog with consumers and patients
  2. Increased personalization and custom content
  3. Higher levels of engagement beyond the product experience

One of our favorite examples of that experience strategy coming to life started with a really confusing shelf:


Even if you’ve figured out whether you’re dealing with a cold, flu or allergies, you still have to select among the hundreds of options to treat it.

To help consumers at their point of need, Pfizer developed an app: Robitussin Relief Finder. It helps people find the right product, delivers flu-fan data and creates moments of personalization.


It starts with a simple four-click diagnostic. Pick who’s sick (grown-up or child), select when you need relief (day or night), check your symptoms, get results. The product recommendation page includes the current packaging, a coupon and a store locator. It works on the website or as a native app.


The reviews have been outstanding and we’ve personally seen people holding the app up in the aisle to match the product packaging to their recommended relief. Good experience in what probably started out as a pretty crappy day.

Posted by: Leigh Householder

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for shaping the company’s perspective on the next era of healthcare marketing. Through thought leadership, strategic innovation workshops and new products and capabilities, Leigh focuses on identifying marketing approaches that will fuel that new era and generate significant growth for clients. Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for over 17 years. She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she had several leadership roles at one of our agencies, GSW. There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business. Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes. A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice, Leigh also was recognized as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.