DTC is evolving: 10 things you must do

SUMMARY: DTC marketing is evolving as patients become more thoughtful about choosing treatment options. The model of “heavy TV followed by a website designed to sell people isn’t going to work anymore.

I hear more and more from top pharma clients that “our DTC ROI is not where we want it to be.” In a detailed analysis across different health conditions, I’m finding two common causes. First, there is the misinformation on the web, and second, there is a fear of drug side effects that are applied because of the drugs used to treat and prevent—the pandemic.

If you plan to launch a new drug with the model of heavy-up TV and a website with some programmatic ads, you’re going to fail. Here are the ten things you must do to ensure that your DTC is a success.

1ne: Don’t believe that TV alone will drive brand objectives; it’s not. Today almost everyone on your market is an online health seeker who will “fact check” your claims.

2wo: Talk as a person, not as a corporation trying to “sell” someone a product.

3hree: Your product website is a KEY part of your DTC. Invest in copywriting that talks to your audience and addresses their questions.

4our: Use social media to listen to your audience and develop a content plan based upon their comments/concerns and questions.

5ive: Online health seekers will spend hours looking for answers to their questions. It would help if you were sponsoring online chats with thought leaders that can pass thru M L R.

6ix: Data is crucial even to patients. They’re brighter and want to understand the data behind clinical trials better.

7even: Beware the PR trap. This year a diabetes drug was introduced with headlines “a drug to help diabetics lose weight.” However, an audit of social media showed that patients were concerned about drug side effects (mostly GI problems) and that during clinical trials, patients were counseled on what to eat.

8ight: Don’t underestimate the power of DTC in doctors’ offices but test messages before implementation.

9ine: A drug website with a bounce rate over 85% is unacceptable and is a message that you need to make changes.

10en: As your product moves through its life-cycle, change tactics based on what you have learned.

It’s not easy to be an online health seeker today. Too much wrong information and advice can lead to poor decisions. Drug companies need to bridge the gap between trust and helping people become better-informed treatment decision-makers.