‘Soooo what’s your bachelor thesis topic on?’ something you’re mostly asked out of politeness, but I always had to snigger when someone posed me with this question. That wasn’t the only point of struggles throughout the process, but it was always fun to see people’s initial reaction to telling them your thesis was on contraceptive behaviour and you’re studying business. If you haven’t talked to me about it yet, you’re probably raising your eyebrows at this very second. But I’ll let you in on a few reasons why;
Firstly, my own personal experiences with hormonal contraceptives such as the pill have led me to question these products throughout the past year. I’ve read books, articles, talked to doctors, tried alternatives, had endless conversations with friends and what not. I’m not a gyno, but let’s just say I know one thing or another about the topic by now.
Whilst doing research I stumbled across a a swedish startup – Natural Cycles., I noticed that they had just entered the German market. The company provides a high-tech hormone free, natural fertility tracking app that allows women to avoid pregnancy by accurately tracking cycles. (Read up more about the company and product in the Thesis, or go to their webpage here) Because we had to choose a company at our institute, I thought, why not write it on a company and topic I’m interested in. To this day, I’m not entirely sure why this topic intrigues me so much…I guess because it plays such a huge role in our lives, yet we tend to take such little notice.
Update February 2017: I can now proudly say that my thesis managed to land me my job at Natural Cycles.
The thing is, contraceptives are products. They are manufactured by companies, marketed and distributed. That is business. But because it’s a high-risk product, within the health sector – we are oh so afraid to question it, enter the market or undergo research within the field. Having taken a consumer behaviour module in Australia, something stuck, and I wanted to find out just how do people come to the decision of what contraceptive product to use. Why are most girls using the pill? …or are they? And others the IUD? I did so by analysing literature and also undergoing extensive interviews with women in long-term relationships. From this, I could derive certain implications for companies marketing their products within the contraceptive product sector – in this case, Natural Cycles.
In the beginning, I was always reluctant to answer when asked about the topic of my bachelor thesis and here I am publishing a blog post about it. Cause I think, one or two of you, might find it interesting too.
You can read the entire thing below.
But if you’d rather skip to the juicy bits, this is what I found out about contraceptive consumer behaviour within the German speaking markets:
- The use of contraception IN GENERAL is sinking, that is whether it is being used or not at all, is sinking. This is most likely due to the fact that people are avoiding hormonal contraception, that being the second most common reason for avoiding contraceptives in general. Lack of intercourse being the first. This information is a little alarming to me to be honest.
- Women switch contraceptive methods and products due to feeling unwell, often caused by side effects – these include weight gain, loss of libido, mood swings and many more. Influences due to recent media attention and scandals have also impacted decision making.
- Contraceptives are experience goods – we can’t get all of the information before purchasing. Everyone reacts differently and has preferences – there’s no perfect ‘one fits all’ solution. But we do tend to get information from several sources to form an opinion before purchasing – mainly being friends, the gyno and online sources. Gynecologist’s opinion doesn’t seem to be top priority, many women are dissatisfied with the service they receive.
- It matters whether it’s a prescription or non-prescription product. Prescription options such as the Nuvaring, the Pill and the IUD should be marketed online, and non-perscriptional should focus on mass media and personal sources.
- Pharmacists are the most underestimated means of marketing.
- Testimonial’s increase consumer trust within the health product sector.
- There is an absolute IUD trend and it’s likely to be due to the fact that consumers do not want to ‘think about’ contraceptives, neither do they want it to interfere in their everyday lives.
- Contraceptive products need to be innovated towards hormone free, passive (‘not having to think about it’) usage – some startups are working on it, but we’ve still got quite a bit to go.
what do you think? what’s the best alternative and what do companies need to do to be innovative in this sector? let me know what you think in the comments below.
P.S. you can use the code ‘ambolivia2nc’ if you’re interested in Natural Cycles, you get 50% off the yearly deal which includes a thermometer.Bachelor-Thesis-Olivia-Scheibelreiter