DTC Marketing strategy must be fluid

Before most drugs are launched, much time and effort are spent developing marketing plans and getting approval. However, given the rapid changes in the market and the realization that too many tactics are more hype than reality, fixed marketing plans are a waste of time.

There are three essential elements of any good marketing plan: brand objective, Strategy, and tactics. Brand managers usually spend a lot of meetings getting approval for product launches, but that could be a huge mistake.

There are two areas of healthcare marketing that have entered the hype curve. One is telehealth, and the other is throwing more money into paid media. Telehealth is vastly overrated and will be used by patients for routine visits like medication renewals. Paid media is perhaps the most significant waste of money within DTC marketing because of fraud and programmatic advertising.

I’m working with a top healthcare magazine on some research they conducted. Without breaking confidentiality, I can say that pharma websites are not seen as a resource to make healthcare treatments. Traffic to your website does not correspond to brand objectives and should not be used as a KPI.

The biggest challenge right now is the changing healthcare environment. More people are going online for health searches, and they want to understand the benefits, to them, of new medications. Insurers also have more say as to what gets on top tiers versus products that will require more patient co-pays.

This all leads to a new model in DTC marketing. KPIs are measured in real-time, and managers can change direction if specific tactics don’t directly relate to the brand objectives. Companies that react to opportunities quickly will be better positioned to exceed brand objectives versus organizations that need weeks and months of meetings to respond to market changes.

Changing a marketing plan does not mean you made a mistake. You’re on top of trends that will affect your brand’s launch or growth in its life cycle.

As times change, so do trends. Patients want convenient and unique healthcare experiences that stand out. Keeping up with the latest marketing trends can help your brand stick out to potential and current customers.

In the digital area, it’s easy to understand how people are thinking about your brand via real-time search data and paths through your website. Anyone who thinks DTC TV ads will directly lead to new Rx’s is delusional. Your website continues to be a precious source, but too many brands take shortcuts and want to get their website up without a coherent content strategy.

You need to can the preprinted marketing plan and be ready to react to opportunities in a changing market. Forget this, and you’re wasting time and money.