TV drives awareness, but the Internet drives conversion. That sentence should be rule number one when it comes to DTC market, but then again the Internet is not as glamorous as doing a TV ad.
While research has shown that TV ads are effective in driving conversion that is not the case with prescription drugs. The idea that someone is going to see a TV ad for a prescription drug and run to their doctor to research it is myopic. Prescription drugs are like buying a new car, you’re going to do research first before going to ask about it. DTC marketers heavy spend on TV is an indication that the industry has lost touch with consumers.
Creating a website is not enough
That seems to be the answer for most DTC brands. Create a website and spend money on search even though online health seekers prefer organic search. Most pharma websites are rarely updated, if ever, and a “content” plan is unheard of within pharma eMarketing. In this case, both DTC marketers and agencies share the responsibility.
I’m doing research with newly diagnosed cancer patients and caregivers and the key top line finding is that they are “lost an overwhelmed” with the amount of health information online. They print lots of pages but who do they talk to to get a sense of what might work and what might not work. Pharma websites are not even mentioned as a source of online health information for these patients and that is both sad and a huge opportunity.
TV is declining in reach and consumers are time shifting content to eliminate commercials. DTC marketers should spend less time on developing TV ads and more time on a digital strategy for their brand. Agencies that continue to recommend TV with firm measurement goals should be shown the door but then tey collect back door rebates on TV airtime.