According to Comscore there is a fundamental shift in what drives strong DTC campaigns today:
- Presents a Balanced Communication of Risks and Benefits
- Likelihood to Seek More Information (Dr. #2, Web #4)
- Increased Understanding of Drug’s Side Effects &New Information
In short patients are more cautious in the actions they take when they see a DTC commercial. In addition visits to the doctor are still in decline as co-pays have increased.
What is happening today is that consumers, usually women, are turning to the Internet when they learn of a new prescription drug product and because of recent bad news around big pharma they are skeptical of marketers’ claims.
As for mobile apps health apps, they are not even registering in data for most services because users don’t want to be reminded that they have health problems and they don’t have the time to learn new apps.
Women use their smartphones to help them organize their lives and that does not include, for the most part, the use of health apps.
What DTC Marketers Should Concentrate on
(1) The product website: Usability testing is a MUST now, but more importantly DTC marketers have to ensure that they have content that users can understand and that it answers all their questions.
(2) Understand that your site will be met with skepticism so make the most of visitors’ time. The hard sell does not work, you need to provide honest and transparent data and use testimonials from thought leaders and current patients.
(3) Integration of your message. Remember that nobody is going to come to your site and make a decision to ask their doctor. They are going to go to other online health sites to see both what others are saying and learn about competitive treatment options.
(4) Make sure your site is optimized for mobile browsers. There is no excuse for not doing this today given the high use and penetration of tablets and smartphones.
(5) If your agency tells you to develop a mobile app, then run away, fast. The money can be better spent on other programs that really drive brand objectives.
(6) Finally, refresh your content based on what people are talking about and what’s new in the media. Keep people coming back to your site by being the authority in your area.
So should we give up on mobile apps?
No, of course not, but DTC marketers need to set priorities as to where conversations are actually taking place when it comes to healthcare decisions.