DTC Marketing priorities

KEY TAKEAWAY:  While pharma dabbles in mobile apps there are too many other things that DTC marketers should do to ensure they are part of the conversation.

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.

3 thoughts on “DTC Marketing priorities

  1. Maureen Hall

    When it comes to wasting money, I think the biggest question facing DTC marketers today is how much to spend on that DTC commercial in the first place. The traditional / digital marketing mix needs to be re-examined in light of the fact that the internet, social media and mobile channels can provide balanced information and real patient experience in a way that no glossy TV ad can.
    What’s more, there’s a strategic shift needed from selling products to improving outcomes and that’s where mobile apps that support patients (or their doctors) can truly play a useful role. It’s not so much a matter of reminding people that they have a disease, but giving them the tools to make informed decisions about their health.

  2. Arch Dumenigo

    All good points in here. Solving business problems and meeting business objectives do not always call for the new shiny toy. Understanding your customers and their current behaviors is key to any DTC advertising. However, I would not make a blanket statement that a mobile app is not a worthy investment. It depends on your audience, your brand and your condition area. Also, if you know its going to take 12-24 months to get a mobile app through regulatory, you should start thinking about it now considering how fast mobile adoption is moving. At the very least make sure your brand site is optimized for mobile. But I agree that the business case has to be there first.
    By the way, where is the data in these charts from? Sorry if I missed it in the article.

  3. richardm Post author

    Maureen: Very well said. Your points are all valid and I would question the effectiveness of any DTC marketing today

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