Pharma websites still missing the target

KEY TAKEAWAY: Pharma product websites, according to the latest qualitative research, are still not providing people with the information that drives them into their doctor’s office to ask for a prescription.

The last two weeks I have been actively engaged conducting some qualitative research for a new client.   With focus groups in four cities I hoped to learn when people might go to a pharma website after being exposed to a DTC commercial and if, once they got there, the information was enough to convince them to ask their doctor for/about the product.  What I heard was not encouraging.

Top Line Findings:

1ne: When the target audience is exposed to a DTC TV spot they do not immediately go to the product website even though many are multitasking on mobile devices.

2wo: People are having trouble spelling and pronouncing names of new branded drugs.   As a result, they start their search on Google where they are often hijacked by a competitor who has spent more on keywords.  In other words, you’re losing traffic because of your brand name/URL.

3hree: Pharma websites do not offer content they need to convince them that a new branded drug could “solve their problems”.  In addition, many find the content dry and stale.

4our: WebMD has become a secondary resource for information on prescription drugs. Many people are turning to social media to see what others have to say about available treatments but they fact check claims.

5ive: People want to listen to conversation with patients who have the same issues they do, but they are worried about privacy issues and behavioral targeting.

6ix: Trust in pharma website information is better when it comes to disease state information, but when the content promotes the product with product claims credibility of content often suffers.

7even: The home page of many pharma websites “scares” people away with clutter, with most people saying the pages are “too medical”.

Finally, content is just too hard to read.  One woman said that she was a college graduate, but still found the content difficult to understand.

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