Online is a more important channel in DTC marketing than TV

UnknownKEY TAKEAWAY: Digital pharma West is taking place and the conclusion of the presentations thus far is that pharma people just don’t understand digital and how people are using digital to make health care decisions.

The Tweey from Digital pharma West said “60% of people are using social media for health”.  That statistic is meaningless.  It’s meaningless because numbers don’t tell the story.  A constant finding in the research that I have led over the last three years is that [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]people will go to social media for health, but very few actually make healthcare decisions based on information in social media.[/inlinetweet] They use what they learn to conduct further searches.

Computer Key - Health with Stethoscope

By now pharma marketers should be experts in digital marketing, but they aren’t, because to them, TV still rules. Every disease is a different macro market with its own dynamics.  MS patients, for example, are very active on social media, but people with other conditions, such as depression, are not as active.  While the use of Twitter has increased in pharma, it’s still used as a PR announcement platform for too many.  Sanofi is doing a good job engaging diabetics and not too long ago Greater Than One used Twitter to help engage flu patients.

Let’s be honest though, pharma marketers will spend a lot of time and money on developing TV spots, but that effort is not duplicated for digital initiatives.  Things like usability studies and research dedicated to the online experience are rarely ever done.  Then they go to conferences like Digital pharma West and see the same things presented year after year.


More money should be spent on your digital marketing than TV.  If you have to ask why then you don’t understand how people are making healthcare decisions and choosing treatments. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Online is a more important channel in DTC marketing than TV.[/inlinetweet]

The other key point is that once you develop a great digital brand experience you continually need to optimize it to keep your content relevant.  If you fail to do this, your audience is going to go elsewhere to get their information and make decisions.  Given that TV is less effective in driving Rx’s this should be a priority.