BEIJING: GSK has successfully tapped into e-commerce giant Alibaba’s data ecosystem to boost user growth of its Flixonase nasal spray treatment for hay fever.

The pharmaceutical company worked with media agency MediaCom and Alimama, the marketing services and data arm of Alibaba, to both broaden the user base of Flixonase and to switch people from using oral antihistamines to nasal ones.

“The pool of users who had purchased antihistamine pills was rather small,” explained Cindy Lau, area general manager, GSK consumer healthcare, Greater China – the existing user base of the brand was a mere 1.3% of the Chinese population.

“But we found out that this group of users also buy pet-related and household cleaning products on Alibaba,” she told Campaign Asia-Pacific.

“So we were able to identify a much bigger pool of potential users than we initially thought to push the related content to users who buy the same products.”

As a result, GSK claims that user growth almost doubled as the brand found new users with higher conversion rates.

But Lau added that the company had to be careful not to over-invest in digital sales efforts.

“We do need to keep a good balance, and integrate online and offline so we can benefit both channels,” she said.

So Flixonase has partnered with the Moji weather app to warn users of high pollen levels, with the pop-up alert doubling as a coupon that they can redeem at nearby pharmacies.

“Once the consumers go to the key accounts [pharmacies], we can ask them to set up an allergy corner with a pharmacist to educate the consumers on how to use the product,” said Lau.

“This is a three-way win, for online and offline, and GSK gets more exposure in the pharmacies.”

Sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by WARC staff