Women with children in the household are the primary users of online health information—they are the “chief medical officers” of their families. Roughly three-quarters of US women use the internet for health information, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, and many of them do so nearly daily. Yet when it comes to unifying the customer experience cross-channel less than one quarter of companies report they “always succeed,” while more than 60 percent “often or sometimes fail” according to a Forrester study .
Today’s consumers don’t just question, they challenge and flat out reject the irrelevant, unnecessary, and insulting. Yet a lot of pharma and biotech websites don’t talk to people, rather they read like a drug label or worse, a used car salesperson. It’s ironic that an industry so entrenched in processes often can’t develop a great online branded experience.
Today DTC marketers are often caught between the harsh reality of shrinking budgets and trying to prove to management that their marketing is driving sales. The key challenge is to balance the needs & wants of your target audience with insights from research to ensure that what you are doing is in fact driving consumers to at least consider your brand as a treatment option. As I showed with my work at Lilly you can both meet the needs of your audience and measure real results that managers want and need.
According to the Deloitte 2012 Survey of U.S. Health Care Consumers they want better service, increased used of technologies to improve service and coordination of care, social media, and transparency about performance. To U.S. consumers, health care is intensely personal. Opinions about the “system’s performance” are based on personal, often local, sometimes painful and frustrating experiences. Nonetheless, they are satisfied with the care that they or a family member receives but unhappy with the health care system as a whole – perceiving it to be complex, fragmented and expensive. Affordability is increasingly a problem for consumers. Though consumers do not know the true costs of services used, they are increasingly concerned about the costs for which they’re responsible – premiums, co-payments, deductibles and others. And the economic downturn had a negative impact on their use of the system forcing many to delay needed treatments, and undermined somewhat the sense of security many feel who have insurance coverage. So what does this mean for pharma marketers ?
The rise of people using the Internet has probably done more to make DTC marketing ineffective than any other consumer behavior. Yet with more and more people using the Internet for health pharma marketers have not evolved their online marketing to meet changing needs and wants of empowered patients.
Two in ten online consumers indicate that, in the past month, they have forwarded a link to an article about a brand or product (19%) or to a brand’s or product’s website (19%) to someone in the past month, while 15% have forwarded a link to a brand’s or product’s video (Source). With all DTC budgets facing increasing scrutiny it’s time to pay a hell of a lot more attention to your product website than to simply turn it over to an agency to develop. A good website can help achieve brand objectives, but a poor one can lead to a lost conversion and a waste of money against key brand KPI’s.