Digital pharma budgets take a hit

budget-cuts-ahead-art-a75c6f9199983095KEY TAKEAWAY: Digital marketing, to be effective, has to be done right as drugs are going through the approval process, but what I have found, recently, is that pharma digital marketing budgets are taking huge hits as pharma prepares for what could be a forced new business model.

I was recently hired by a digital agency to “guide a client” through the process of developing a pharma product website.  We determined that digital marketing was going to be an important element of their marketing plan, however, even though I presented the best practices and detailed a process, we were soon faced with the reality that the client didn’t have the budget to do even a decent job.


People like John Mack and Ed Silverman often ask me why pharma can’t ramp up their digital marketing  and my answer is always the same: because they often lack great digital talent and digital budgets are way behind TV and other channels.

For DTC marketers, TV is usually the first choice when it comes to budget allocation.  Why? Because they know what they can do on TV while digital is a combination of tactics that are in the FDA gray area. It’s also largely because most DTC marketers don’t understand digital marketing as it has evolved, and is evolving, very quickly.

There are, of course, some companies that do get it right, but that percentage is very small.  Research and usability studies are usually the first things to get cut and then clients wonder why their website is not performing?

mad laptop

If pharma really understands the importance of digital then digital will get a bigger piece of the pie. Until that happens pharma digital marketing is still languishing in the 90’s.