A mistake DTC marketers frequently make

KEY TAKEAWAY: Each disease condition has unique online characteristics with online health seekers.  It’s a mistake to take any “generic” research and apply it all health conditions. 

The research we did last week on the use of social media and online health provided some great insights, but when we, on the next day, listened to online health seekers with MS and diabetes (different groups) there were stark differences in how each group approaches the use of social media for health.

We found, for example, that MS patients are more open to receiving tips from others on how to live with MS and how to best manage their condition, whereas type 2 diabetics were more interested in the difference between medications and how to save money on new Rx’s.  MS patients were also very much in touch about regarding the clinical trials of new MS drugs and they were willing to post on social media whereas diabetics were not.

If you’re a DTC marketer, you could be making a huge mistake if you take generic research with online health seekers and apply it to the market in which you compete. We correlated data from 12 months of qual and quant research and found that although there were some small correlations each health market was different in the way patients and caregivers approach online health.

The biggest gap in developing a great online brand experience continues to be, in my opinion, the failure of brands to do research with THEIR online target audience.  They apply research from their market that is too general and doesn’t uncover what online health seekers really want.

The other developmental process which is killing pharma websites is the continued heavy hand of regulatory and legal people. I have seen them completely rework websites that tested well into generic pharma websites that online health seekers hate.  I even had to deal with an M L R team who tore up content written by a thought leader to the point the thought leader did not want it published under his name.

The bottom line is that people are going to come online to your pharma website and you should make every effort to keep them on your website but your internal processes are hurting your online marketing.  Time to take more risks and turn this around.

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