DTC marketing vs consumer packaged goods marketing

Idea concept with row of light bulbs and glowing bulbKEY TAKEAWAY: DTC marketing has many similarities with CPG marketing, but it also has a lot of differences.  Perhaps no product is researched online as much a prescription drugs and consumers have a lot of resources via Dr Internet.

There was a story last week, online, about a woman who was misdiagnosed using a WebMD symptom tracker.  It should be a wake-up call to everyone who talks about the future of health being online.


While there is talk that consumer packaged goods marketers are abandoning TV that is pure bull. Marketers have lost touch with the average consumer. They are living in a dream world of their own invention. It is fed by a cultural echo chamber of books, articles and conferences in which people like them talk to people like them.

For CPG marketers TV is still a viable channel:

  • Live viewing dominates consumer TV habits. About 80% of viewing is done live. About 9% is time-shifted (DVR). Only about 5% of video viewing is done on a web device. Only about 4% of TV viewing is Netflix, YouTube, and all the other new age viewing options. Pivotal Research Group.
  • People watch way more video on a TV than they do on a PC or a smart phone. It ain’t even close. This data comes from Nielsen’s Total Audience Report, Q3, 2015.

But for DTC marketers, TV is only good for generating awareness and that alone is not going to lead to new Rx’s.  DTC marketers, therefore, need to measure the steps taken from awareness to generating an Rx and they need to do it for on and offline marketing.


DTC marketers need to think about an integrated content strategy because banner ads aren’t working anymore since fewer than one person in a thousand clicks on a standard banner ad. (DoubleClick).  They need to be aware what patients are saying to one another and where and when they decide on treatment options.

Above all DTC marketers need to think and act like consumers who are researching healthcare treatments.  Go beyond the numbers and think like patients,