There is an inverse relationship between DTC spending and its effectiveness. With continued pressure on the current pharma business model DTC marketers are going to be asked to justify every dollar and will spend a lot of time in meetings trying to justify their strategies and spending.
The pharma industry, especially DTC marketers, spends a lot of time self congratulating themselves on their marketing while patients are making healthcare treatments without their input. The DTC industry cannot stay on the current course and we have to recognize the efforts of trailblazers to really influence patients and help them navigate the maze that has become healthcare in US. Here are some things that need to be done now:
1ne: DTC marketing has to include more information on how to work with HCP’s and insurers. Patients need help rather than searching, online, for information on how to actually get a treatment they actually want.
2wo: More action items to drive patients into doctors. Too many people are putting off that visit to their doctor because of higher co-pays. Pharma needs to both remind people that putting off treatments can result in more serious problems, plus talking points on how to make the most of their time with their doctor.
3hree: Put as much money and effort into developing and testing your website as you do TV commercials. Remember, these are people who have voluntarily raised their hand and said “I want to know more”. Once you get them to your website you want to keep them there and answer their questions so they don’t have to spend a lot of time looking for information online.
4our: Measure your DTC TV spots for awareness within your target audience. Once awareness reaches a certain level continually running TV is a huge waste of money.
5ive: Align your organization around your customers. Some DTC can be very inexpensive, such as social media, but you have to ensure that your organization can execute.
6ix: Hire people who are disruptive and can bring new thinking to your DTC marketing. Pharma has lost too much talent and needs more game changers, but even today the recruiting and interview processes are stuck in the last decades.
7even: Promote successes within your company and evaluate everything you do and ask “how can we have done it better?”.
8ight: Do NOT use big ad agencies for your digital marketing. Digital expertise is not their specialty and digital is too damn important to leave to people who don’t get it.
9ine: Become a sales person for all DTC, including a show and tell of what other brands are doing. Win over doubters one at a time.
10en: Invest in market research with current customers. Ask them “why” and “how” they became customers and leverage insights into future marketing.
DTC marketing is going to get harder, not easier. DTC managers have to wear many hats, but if you’re stuck in back to back meetings all day you can’t effectively reach people who are forced to make healthcare choices on their own.