DTC TV ads: Are they effective?

pemberton_main_2372537bKEY TAKEAWAY: DTC TV ads are effective in driving awareness of new Rx products, but to sustain growth marketers need to think multi-channel and measure key product messages with their target audience.Just how effective are TV ads when it comes to prescription drugs?  The answer is very effective in generating awareness which leads patients to search for more information.  Of course drug.com websites are used by people to get more information, but drug websites don’t answer all of the questions patients have about taking medications.


The journey from awareness to Rx is more complicated because of changes in our healthcare.  Even is a patient requests your drug the physician has to agree to write it and insurers have to agree to cover it.

Recently my group did an analysis of prescription drug launches, TV vs. no TV.  We found that brands who did not use TV failed to meet first years sales projections by as much as 60%.  Brands who used heavy up TV and had a poor online website (low time on site, high bounce rates) failed to meet sales projections by as much 40%.


What does this tell us?

1ne: DTC marketers need to have measured metrics for each channel.  For example, with TV it should be awareness of the product.  For online it should be bounce rate, time on site as well as website visitors.


2wo: DTC marketers need to understand the rule of diminished return when it comes to TV.  Simply stated, it means too much frequency so your ad dollars are less effective.  Identify triggers to pull your target audience into your brand either online or through a physician’s office.

3hree: Your website is a living, breathing brand initiative. You need to keep it updated with news around your health condition and product. Develop a media plan so that your brand is considered a leader in the category.

DTC TV ads are not going anywhere soon, but to focus more on TV without thinking “OK, they are aware or my products, now how do I get them to actively ask for it?” is a failure of any DTC marketing campaign.