The complicated ROI measurement for pharma

SUMMARY: The LinkedIn team had a unique take on measuring ROI. “77% of marketers measure ROI within the first month of their campaign, knowingly trying to “prove ROI in a shorter amount of time than their typical sales cycle., while only 4% of marketers even measure ROI over a six-month period or longer.” So how should DTC marketers really measure ROI?

The “sales cycle” for prescription drugs has gotten more difficult to measure because of the pandemic. It can now take months for patients to ask for or start a new therapy. DTC marketers who insist on measuring ANY marketing program quickly are not getting the whole picture of what’s working and what’s not.

I would suggest that the timeline between becoming aware of a new therapy and actually asking for it is lagging, but we shouldn’t blame it all on the pandemic.

Today’s online health seekers are savvier than in the past. That is not a theory; it’s a fact. They spend more time online researching treatments, including costs. They want to know if they can ask for a new product via telehealth or whether they need to come into the office. In the meantime, DTC marketers review metrics to see what’s working.

Market research should be a close ally during ROI measurements. They need to measure things like awareness within your target audience and time to taking action between awareness and action.

Measuring ROI for digital can be even harder when it comes to DTC. I have found, for example, that there is a substantial lag between traffic on a product website and new Rx’s. I have also spent time analyzing certain product buzz on social media and found a direct correlation between mentions and new Rx’s.

So how can you measure digital? Before you can adequately measure digital marketing, you should have an in-house digital analytic team dedicated to your brand. A central digital team can’t provide a detailed, in-depth analysis based on your audience requirements.

A good digital marketing analytic team doesn’t just report numbers; they tell a story. “This is how many people are coming to the website, and this is where they are going on our site.” Today analytic people have to ensure that managers understand certain metrics’ importance while ignoring others like total visitors versus bounce rate.

DTC managers should present a dashboard based on all Chanels not each one. I would continue to argue that digital is more important than TV yet I see a lot of DTC people continuing to evaluate their TV spend.

Your DTC marketing is an engine with all the cylinders working together to deliver brand metrics. Measure the whole, not the sum, and you’ll be able to tell a better story and quit wasting time.