Being in the pharmaceutical industry over the last 3 years has given me an interesting perspective on consumer behaviour.

Doctors and pharmacists are like all of us, consuming information at the speed of thought from whatever sources are available, yet choosing certain sources as more reliable or convenient than others.

While most of us go about our day getting said information from Facebook, Wikipedia, 9GAG, Twitter or otherwise, this lot prefers a highly peer-led way of sourcing this.

Secure log-in portals, closed-group webinars, secret Facebook groups and Whatsapp are their go-to sources.

Wait, what? Whatsapp? What’s up with that? (Sorry, couldn’t resist).

Due to the Whatsapp’s recent encrypted chat announcement, more and more doctors – and, well, everyone else too – are using Whatsapp as a professional group chat option. Scholarly discussions are now taking place with emojis and scientific documents on a mobile chat platform. Who knew?

Taking this to the next level, however, are brands. In recent months, there’s been a surge in brands signing up for research into chat-platform marketing, including insights into conversations taking place on Snapchat, Instagram Stories and now Whatsapp.

In the UAE, there’s an already burgeoning market for experts who provide consulting services via Whatsapp. I know of 2 Arabic language instructors who run group sessions using Whatsapp, including sharing voice messages for intonation and linguistics as well as images and videos of the alphabet.

This morning, when I clicked on the website link for a marketing agency, here’s what popped up after the page loaded:

whatsapp-marketing

Definitely something led by analytics and ad servers, but food for thought. Here’s an agency that knows its target audience and knows the platform they frequent today.

I’m excited about this. I want to know many things about this. I want to know, for example:

  1. Will there by group-specific discounts, offers, insight, brand loyalty programs?
  2. Will there be new guidelines and advertising innovation geared at these platforms?
  3. Will I be able to have a one-to-one or many-to-one conversation with a brand that engages with me on Whatsapp? Imagine the personalisation!

We live in exciting times, don’t we?