How can agencies improve DTC marketing?

dtc improvementPOST SUMMARY: With more and more biopharma companies turning to agencies it’s essential to continue to inform, educate and prove the value around digital marketing, including how consumers are making healthcare choices based on available online resources.

More work, in DTC marketing, is being done by outside agencies but that doesn’t mean that’s an improvement.  Like any business, there are some really good agencies, Intouch Solutions, Greater Than One, and some not so good agencies (i.e. Crestor spots).  I could make a very strong argument that DTC marketing needs to catch up to today’s consumer, but it should start with agencies that want to innovate rather than just become vendors.  Here are some ways that agencies can improve DTC marketing which, in turn, means more business…


1ne: Understand the pressures of today’s pharma marketers – The days of unlimited budgets are over.  Today, marketers are being asked to clearly show ROI for everything they do while patients have little trust in “big pharma”.

2wo: Understand health consumers – OK, the reality is that there is only one really valid source of health research and that’s Manhattan Research (online).  I was at an agency pitch two weeks ago and they used Kantar media research which was way too broad and opened the door to too many questions that they didn’t have answers for.

3hree: Don’t make suggestions without first understanding the market.  At he pitch I was invited to attend, for hemophilia, the agency recommended a strategy without an in depth understanding of the patients need for safety around new medications.  Not good.

4our: Understand the culture of the organization – Get to know where there some room to really innovate and provide constant learnings on how the market is changing and how pharma marketers can leverage these changes.


5ive: Are you ready to work with rookies?  There are a lot of changing faces in DTC marketing and you’re going to spend time to train them in new marketing for today’s healthcare environment.

6ix: Think outside the box – One of the best successes I had was creating a custom content management system so that global affiliates could quickly implement digital initiatives without dedicated emarketing support.

7even: Be willing to walk away.  I know this sounds crazy in an era where business is important, but do you really want to be associated with bad marketing?

If you succeed, we succeed, but success should not be measured by invoices.