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Is DTC advertising really effective ?

According to an article in the August issue of PM 360 on Integrated Marketing the percentage of consumers who said a drug ad drove them to ask about a medical condition declined from 27% in 1999 to 17% in 2012.  Frankly, I’m surprised it’s still that high but I do expect that number to continue to decline as consumers use the Internet to research health conditions and medications and more big name drugs come off patent.

Any DTC marketing director who believes that DTC ads are responsible for a rapid uptake in sales of new drugs is surely playing games with the numbers. The truth is that DTC ads do not drive people to ask for a medication they drive people to go online and find out more” about the product.

As the article in PM 360 states integrated marketing is the future of pharma.  DTC marketers need to think about what consumers do when they become aware of new products and they need to build an integrated funnel to convert consumers into customers. But that alone is not enough.

DTC marketers also need to think about how they keep people compliant and engaged with the brand through the patient life-cycle.  They need to integrate research findings from current patients and ask “what did you like?” and more importantly “what didn’t you like?” about our product.  It’s not enough to simply to create awareness DTC marketers need to think more about what awareness means and how they can join awareness to conversion.

Any DTC marketers who takes credit for the rapid uptake of sales of new products is kidding themselves and playing games with numbers.  Today they have to build an integrated chain between awareness and conversion and show the ROI to management rather than saying “TV did it all”.

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