How to make digital DTC marketing relevant

your-name-dot.com_Today DTC marketers are often caught between the harsh reality of shrinking budgets and trying to prove to management that their marketing is driving sales.  The key challenge is to balance the needs & wants of your target audience with insights from research to ensure that what you are doing is in fact driving consumers to at least consider your brand as a treatment option.  As I showed with my work at Lilly you can both meet the needs of your audience and measure real results that managers want and need.

Understand the journey…

It’s important to remember that every health condition has its own unique market characteristics.  The diabetes 1 and diabetes 2 markets, for example, are very different from the needs of patients and caregivers.  It’s therefore essential to understand the journey from diagnosis or information seeking to the physician’s office.  This is why market research is so important; you need to understand the journey and how you can help those seeking information get the answers they need to say “I want to know more”.

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It’s also important to develop and test messages that lead to a call to action and to ensure these messages are not the hard “sell”.  More importantly you need to think like a patient or caregiver so you can answer their questions with engaging content.  There is a direct correlation with the time they spend on your site and the likelihood a patient will ask for your product.

When developing drug websites I have always believed that content should address patient needs and be written in easy to understand language.  Repurposing content for a brochure is not the way to go.  I  have licensed content from other sites and have even tapped thought leaders to write healthcare information.  Time and time again, these pages ranked in the top 10 in page views and time on site.  In addition, adding content, like a dictionary of medical terms, is a great way for your brand to get closer to your audience.

Think outside the box..

Digital marketing today is about thinking outside the box.  Too many drug.com websites look like medical textbooks with homepages that bombard visitors with too much information. I often recommend to clients that they develop more than one landing page segmented by keywords and patient behavior within the treatment selection stage.  One homepage for everyone is a waste of attention and doesn’t help consumers get the information they want and need.

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Secondly you need a media plan to refresh the content on your site.  CPG marketers are learning that brands are media today and that they have to keep their sites fresh to keep consumers engaged.

Finally, ensure your site is optimized for mobile.  There is no excuse not to do so.  A quick look at your website metrics will show you how many people are coming to your site via mobile devices but that’s not enough.  You need to ask why they are coming to your site on their mobile device.  I doubt that consumers are so bored they go to Advair.com to read about asthma. More likely they are coming to your site via a mobile device because of a trigger.  You really need to understand how to get consumers to pull that trigger.

By understanding your audience needs, in depth, you can better make your digital marketing relevant.  Sure it’s about brand needs but on the Internet it’s also about the needs of your audience because they can turn off your message with a click of the mouse.

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