Prove to me that your DTC ads are working

prove dtcKEY TAKEAWAY: Just as insurers are asking pharma companies for proof that new drugs provide better outcomes DTC marketers should demand accountability from their agencies that recommended advertising is effective.

Last year I met with a potential client who had farmed out all of his DTC marketing from CRM to digital and offline ads. He became more of a manager of his four agencies than a marketer and it clearly showed in the results.  It’s time that agencies be held accountable for their recommendations by firm, agreed upon metrics.  In order to ensure this works, however, DTC managers have to put their trust in their agencies and their execution.


Working with an agency should be collaboration based on trust and an open exchange of information.  At times I have witnessed a great exchange of data and a meeting of the minds, but the agency came back with concepts that were way off base.  Why does this happen?  It happens mostly because the people working on the account are not the “A” team. To be honest, most agencies are hurting for talented people. There are only a small number of digital agencies that do excellent work and since they are digital only shops, they often have a problem getting past procurement who wants to consolidate vendors.

So how do you hold agencies accountable?

1ne: Ensure that there is a clear line of responsibility between the agency and managers.

2wo: Measures of success should be agreed upon BEFORE hand.


3hree: DTC managers need to know when to trust agency people and when it’s time to “cut ties”.

4our: Every campaign should be evaluated against a creative brief with agreed upon metrics.  Always ask “what can we do better?”.

5ive: DTC managers who don’t have an extensive consumer marketing background need to trust their agency.

DTC marketers can’t afford to continue to waste money on TV while digital marketing lags.  Paying for paid search when your website comes up first, for example, in organic search is a waste of money.

DTC campaigns need to be held to a high standard and today that means performance.