DTC marketers disconnect from digital marketing

HERE’S THE PITCH: Guidelines surrounding effective frequency are different by every advertised product. For pharma products, effective frequency is, for example, the frequency at which someone is going to go online to learn more about your product. TV alone is not going to sell your product. You need to invest in digital marketing too.

DTC marketers should be joined at the hip with their market research people. Not only should they learn everything they can about their target audience they need to know the top three messages that will drive action offline and online.

Offline that action is, more and more, to drive people online to learn more about your product. It involves not only your product website but also what other patients are saying about your product in social media. To ignore social media trending topics around your brand is a huge mistake.

What I have found is that too many DTC marketers make mistakes by applying generic research to their product categories. The online diabetes patients are much different, for example, from the online psoriasis patient and their online needs are unique to each other.

In today’s environment your website, alone, is not going to get them to run to their doctor for an Rx. There are too many things going on within the healthcare conversion model including way too much interference.

One of the ways to ensure your website is providing the information needed to take action is to develop a content plan that revolves around the trending health topics within your category. This is especially true in an era when social media stories are not credible.

When launching a new drug you should be getting weekly reach and awareness reports from your market research people. You should then ask your emarketing people to correlate these numbers with website visitors including pages viewed and time on site.

What about switching more money from TV to digital?

The trend, right now, for CPG people is to spend more money on digital. Unfortunately, the metrics for online ads for pharma products are pretty bad. I have found that the bounce rate for online ads is extremely high usually because DTC marketers failed to invest money in creative that matters to your audience.

Here is a great example; a new diabetes product that can result in weight loss in patients who use the drug sounds great but an analysis of the message indicates that online health seekers are more interested in the side effects as there was a direct correlation between the brand’s website traffic and searches around pancreatitis. Visitors to the website also were interested in the cost of the product.

Marketing is not science; it’s an art. A good DTC marketer understands the environment in which we market and can adjust the brand’s message accordingly. Bad DTC marketers run TV ads that have, in the fair balance, that their product can lower the body’s ability to fight infection which is not what people want to hear today with COVID-19.

DTC marketers are still too in love with TV and too many agencies are not aggressive enough to push for online marketing basics such as usability testing and online ad creative. It’s got to change or DTC marketing will become more and more irrelevant.