DTC Objectives-New Drug Launch

IN SUMMARY: Launching a new drug in today’s challenging market can be tough. Your first objective, when it comes to DTC marketing should be to reach your target micro-segments with relevant messages. Today, one message for all segments doesn’t work. More emphasis on digital that works and less emphasis on mass channels.

You’re waiting on FDA approval for your new drug and want to launch it with it some DTC that quickly meets your brand KPI’s which is why you should be working on your message development NOW.

DTC message development

When thinking about your message to your target market you need to think about two key factors:

1ne: What message will communicate our brand’s positioning?

2wo: What message will lead to people, in our target audience, going online to learn more?

I’m assuming that the message developed quickly communicates what separates your product apart from competitors in a way that focuses on patients needs. Too many drugs forget that patients are reluctant to try new products because pharma marketers don’t adequately communicate the “benefit” beyond numbers. A product, for example, that boasts about lowering a patient’s A1C may not take into consideration the negative feedback around dosage and side effects.

Testing the DTC message

By far this is the hardest to manage. Don’t assume that some qualitative research is going to provide the answers. I’ve seen too many messages fail even though qual research said it would succeed.

My recommendation, in working with clients, is to put the message in an ad and ask people “what action would you take if you saw this ad?”. If it leads to awareness but no action your message has failed.

TV for awareness: Digital for conversions

Let’s face it, DTC marketers are in love with TV. However, TV only drives a very small percentage to take action where it counts. Your market research people should provide you with an awareness dashboard that shows the awareness of your product within your audience. Once you have reached targeted levels digital needs to kick in to drive them to conversion.

Digital is a lot more than a product website and is not programmatic advertising. It’s a great online brand experience and it reaches patients where THEY are online with a compelling message. It begs patients to want to learn more and brings them into the brand. It’s also listening to what people are saying about your product on social media and responding to key questions/pushbacks in real time once they are quantified.

Obviously, these steps don’t fit for all brands or health conditions but if you think like a patient and ask “why should I listen to you?” and “what’s in it for me?” you can make your DTC more effective. Stop thinking of pushing all the time and start thinking of listening more.

Finally your agencies need to think like patients as well. Too many agencies are just too big to give you the time and attention your product launch deserves so beware.