DTC Marketing: A quantitative approach

UnknownKEY TAKEAWAY:  As marketers, we need to ensure that everything we do can be measured against brand KPI’s but how then do we account for DTC TV spots that continue to air with increased frequency?

What is the overall objective of DTC advertising? It’s the same as all advertising; to turn prospects into customers.  The question then becomes is advertising, in itself, enough to get a target audience into their doctor to ask for a specific product?  The answer that is “no”.

The best way to generate awareness for a new prescription drug is with TV advertising, provided that the audience is large enough.  While some people may say, in research, that they intend to take action as a result of being exposed to a DTC message, there is a huge difference between intent and actually taking action that involves making an appointment with a doctor, taking time off to go see a doctor, requesting and receiving an Rx and filling the Rx.


I have been surprised at the number of DTC marketers who don’t measure the “drop off” from each step required to get an Rx.  Focusing on metrics like impressions and even total Rx’s fails to measure the direct impact of the dollars we spend on DTC marketing.  We don’t know, for example, the impact of our product website on asking for an Rx and most digital marketers don’t even measure click stream analysis to measure where a target audience is going after visiting our website.

While most CPG marketers have been adding analytics people having one person or one application, like Google Analytics, is not enough to measure the effectiveness of DTC digital marketing initiatives.

TV ads should be measured against quantitative measurements such as “awareness within our target audience” but then we need to measure exactly what our audience is doing next and how each visit to a website is driving desired behaviors.  Today we CAN measure each step, but make no mistake, it takes a lot of time and effort to understand key drivers of Rx behavior.  This is one area where a Patients Insights group can help.

Balancing stones
Balancing stones

I like to do research with existing patients so that I can better understand what drove them to get and fill their Rx.  What I have found, more times than not, is that a doctor is still the number one reason for using a particular brand of prescription drugs.

The benefit of using a quantitative approach to DTC marketing is twofold; first, it can help us become more efficient marketers and second, we can use these quantitative results to demonstrate that marketing is not just an expense.