The rise of people using the Internet has probably done more to make DTC marketing ineffective than any other consumer behavior. Yet with more and more people using the Internet for health pharma marketers have not evolved their online marketing to meet changing needs and wants of empowered patients.
At the core of any online marketing strategy is a keen understanding of how people are using the Internet and what they want from you in terms of usability and information. Most pharma product websites are stuck in web 1.5 and have not evolved with tactics such as customized home pages tied to search specific search terms. However pharma marketers also need to understand the “triggers” that drive consumers online for health information. These include:
(1) The search for general “condition” specific health information.
What consumers want to know is “what is it, how serious is it and what are my treatment options”. However that’s not enough because today consumers also want to know how treatments effect them in terms of wellness. Wellness today can best be described as “living a good quality of life as defined by me not product labels or HCP’s”. Today patients want quality over quantity.
(2) Collecting information on specific health treatments (Rx)
As consumers learn more about their health and are diagnosed they often then want to compare different health treatments. For marketers this often means a comparison of drug sided effects compared with effectiveness and cost. They will often come to your product website and read about product safety. It’s also important to remember thought that in all likelihood consumers are also going to go to other websites like Yahoo Health. Part of their collection of information is probably going to include social media as well.
(3) How do I take the medication ? Can you help me save money ?
With close to 25 million Americans out of work and co-pays rising on branded medications patients are looking for ways to save money on your product. They also want to know the best time to take their medication and possible interactions with other medications. You would think that HCP’s would spend time talking to patients about medications but doctors spend 49 seconds during a visit telling a patient what they need to know about taking a new medication.
While all the talk continues to revolve around pharma and social media there are things that pharma can do now to improve their online marketing (websites)
2wo: Update health condition information on a regular basis and provide links to credible health information on other sites. This is especially true when there is new conflicting information on health conditions and medications.
3hree: Understand that the collection of health information is a journey with a lot of stops. Make sure the information on your website is consistent with information on other websites.
4our: Call out key messages on your website home page including ways to save money. People don’t often read webpages they scan for key messages or terms.
5ive: Finally show real people on your website enjoying life because to most patients that’s what it’s all about. Make sure the content relates to them not to your marketing.