DTC advertising is down 22%, a lot of drugs are coming off patent and consumers are using the internet in record numbers for health according to my report for eMarketer. While the ePharma conference meets a lot of very good people know what has to be done but are the right people there to make it happen ? The biggest challenge may not be launching a digital marketing initiative it maybe just convincing management that they need to invest in digital marketing NOW.
Just how bad is pharma digital marketing ? Consider this Tweet today from ePharma “Your consumers are online. You should be there to reach them in the way they want to communicate with you.” Come on ! I mean is that the best we can do ? This is like saying “water is wet and fire is hot”. It’s below internet marketing 101.
Now there are a lot of very smart people at the ePharma summit who know what should be done but the problem is that in order to get there they have to go through a lengthy process of convincing people to do it and the people who want to do it are under the perception, most likely, that online marketing is less expensive than other DTC marketing. It isn’t, not by a long shot.
I wonder how many people attending #epharma really have the data and understand how many people are online for health and what they’re doing online when it comes to healthcare treatment options. My guess is very few. If they could look over the shoulder of someone who has just been diagnosed or is preparing for a visit to their doctor they would understand the importance of online health rather than just implementing a one time product website.
So how can pharma hire internet marketing people and build capabilities while budgets are being cut ? Is it career suicide to go into a meeting and ask for significant resources for digital marketing ? No, it’s company suicide if you don’t. While pharma has taken a back seat to digital marketing (see below) consumers are moving on and having conversations around health without them. They still go to product websites but more and more that stop is a quick one because the product website is not meeting their needs.
Pharma needs more digital marketing pioneers and less Power Point presentations on what is happening. It’s like presenting the rationale for war when the bombs are already falling on you. The key questions is the light is on but who is willing to turn on the light for others and do what patients want them to do online ?