Case Memo: PatientsLikeMe
PatientsLikeMe (PLM) is an online community where patients share their personal experiences with a disease, find other patients like them, and learn from each other.
Similar to TripAdvisor, it has large UGC information and get paid by the 3rd party ( partnership w/ pharma company) But the difference lies in 1) it focus on more professional area(health-care), requiring more specific and deep-diving knowledge 2)has closer user bond, a sense of belonging in the community, while in TA, users generally do not have strong social bond; 3) data tracking plays an important role 5) its revenue ...view middle of the document...
In less than five years, PLM has grown to 15 patient communities where over 80,000 patients discuss 19 diseases. Now PLM planned to launch of a General Platform that would expand the number of diseases covered from 19 to over 3,500 to meet latent demand, increase enrollment and enhance commercial opportunities. But many concerns and risks remained ahead:
1. Users: How to acquire new members? How to maintain user engagement?( will expansion dilute exist user experience)
2. Disease selection: what’s the priority and how to allocate sources (marketing dollars ,working time, etc.)
3. Monetization: how this move will change its business model?
1. Step by step move: from specific platform to GP, it asks for large investment in infrastructure, labor and marketing. Frankly speaking, there may be no perfect strategy to avoid all those risks and assure success, what I would suggest is to do some pilots project, allow mistakes, and learn from doing.
2. Leverage the user incentives: focus on the biggest groups, for smaller groups, may act like Douban Group model, let the influencers/group leaders to establish groups and in charge of group engagement; while PLM only need to motivate the leaders
3. Keep the brand safe: in the expansion, PLM need to keep its open, trustable and professional ( to a degree, esp. in outcome studies) image in the public, PLM may need to be slower and more cautious when tapping into online advertising/marketing business