KEY TAKEAWAY: The current model of DTC marketing is unsustainable. If DTC marketers continue to use the current outdated model and spend most of their budgets on TV they are going to be spending more time trying to justify marketing dollars while business objectives may or may not be met.
With the decline in blockbusters more and more marketers are demanding more accountability from digital marketing which is ironic because there are already a lot of ways to measure everything you do online. Today a Web Analytics 3.0 mind-set and strategy call for robust qualitative and quantitative analysis in your web analytics approach with specific goals: to understand the customer experience explicitly and to then influence customer behavior on your site. It also calls for people who understand online behavior and can turn online marketing into a business driver. But most of all DTC marketers have to change their mindset from outbound marketing to inbound marketing and conversation and look at key patient decision points as a consumers not as a marketer.
The traditional DTC model calls for a lot of money to be invested in TV/Print and other mass channels. When it comes to digital marketing they are usually the last in line and most of the dollars are spent on keywords and the actual development and build of website. However this approach leaves too many consumer needs and wants on the table.
In order for this to work we have to set quantitative goals of awareness of the disease state/brand. Once an awareness level has been reached we need to move from awareness to giving your audience reasons to ask for your brand in reasons that are important to THEM. This means staying away from marketing speak and talking to a person like you would be talking to them one on one.
Social Media Requires Marketers to Think Differently
Now we move to social media. While some research indicates that consumers do not want to have a relationship with a biopharma company I view this as an opportunity. If you give consumers a good reason and value to talk to you they will talk to you, and it will positively impact your brand. With tools like PharmaWall you can manage risk, but you have to ask “what does our audience find important to make treatment decisions and can I provide value in resources?”
While it may be hard to add resources and build digital marketing capabilities when most pharma companies are reducing head counts some agencies can add a lot of value by being your digital marketing arm. Sure, there is some risk involved, but the conversations are happening anyway and wouldn’t you rather be part of the conversations than to sit back and waste more money on TV ads that just aren’t effective because more people are multitasking while watching TV.