Determining DTC Budgets: Metrics tell you where to spend

Arrows Surrounding Red Question Mark Showing Choice Decisions Problem Brainstorming

QUICK READ: Metrics not only show you where you’re having success they clearly identify opportunities and where DTC marketers can use their budgets to drive brand objectives.

There’s nothing like having a great DTC marketing budget with a range of options to chose from. Where to spend the money, the media mix has always been a challenge. Too many agencies recommend channels that are most profitable to them plus they have no stake in your brand’s success.

Even before you started developing and testing a message hopefully you understand how much of your product’s success will be driven by consumers asking for it and how much will be driven by HCP’s recommending your product.

Last year we were reviewing some metrics for a new diabetes product. We recommended doing some research with current customers and much to our surprise the vast majority (87%) said they had gone on the medication at the suggestion of their doctor. Phase two of the research indicated that physicians were recommending the product to Type 2 diabetics who had trouble maintaining their A1C levels and continued to gain weight. The DTC was rarely mentioned and, in fact, some people said they were offended by the ads.

In summary you need a clear and concise quantitative understanding of how may people are going to request your product vs. how many doctors will recommend it to patients without patients asking about it.

Calculating Effective Frequency for Your Ad

Effective frequency refers to the number of times a consumer needs to be exposed to an advertising message before the advertiser gets the desired response. That response obviously is very complicated today given a patient’s reluctance to visit their doctor’s office.

In pharma effective frequency is complicated. Almost nobody is going to see a TV ad and ask their doctor about your product. If you draw a decision tree it will probably look like an NYC subway map. One thing is for certain, people ARE going online to your website and using social media to see what others are saying about your product.

This brings us the second issue which DTC marketers have an issue with; website metrics. Please don’t talk about website visitors because unless they are viewed under the bounce rate filter they are worthless.

If your bounce rate is above 80-85% you’re losing people who voluntarily said “I want to know more about your product”. In other words, the hundreds of dollars you spent to market to them is wasted.

Frankly, when you launch your website you should be ready to test several homepage concepts to determine which one invites online health seekers to say “I want to know more”.

In today’s DTC workplace too many DTC marketers spend way too much time measuring what they do rather than testing different messages or challenging agencies to think outside the confines world of Pharma marketing.

Finally, the idea of developing one set of online ads is myopic. Too many agencies are recommending programmatic online ads to clients even though they are ripe with fraud.

Any agency you work with should develop a series of online ads that are relevant to where they are placed. An ad on WebMD, for example, should not be the same as an ad on a national newspaper’s homepage.

As I wrote yesterday metrics not only show you where you’re having success they clearly identify opportunities.