The current DTC model is outdated

  • It’s estimated that less than 5% of consumers ask their doctor about/for a drug product after seeing a TV commercial.
  • People who are interested in new advertised drugs usually go online to “get more information”.
  • Pharma websites are becoming a less important part of the decision making.
  • Switching money to online ads is not going to help.

If ever there was a time for disruptive marketing in pharma the it’s now.  While reports of pharma switching money into digital ads has been reported it’s also estimated that ad fraud is out of control eating up as much as 50% of online advertisers budgets.  At a time when patients have more choices pharma seems to be stuck in the past. So what are the problems?

1ne: Pharma product web sites – There are some good websites for pharma products, but the other 90% are horrible.  They read like medical journals and fail to really engage people  who are researching treatment options.  Usability studies are usually not conducted and websites are updated very rarely.

2wo: Pharma is not contributing to the conversation – The research stats would have you believe that pharma is becoming more active on social media, but what they don’t tell you is that most of the activity is aimed at investors and Wall Street.  It’s alarming that pharma companies don’t monitor social media conversations around their products/health conditions.

3hree: Patients have to find out for themselves if new products are covered by their insurance and what the cost of the co-pay is.  Nothing is more frustrating to people than finding out new Rx’s cost more than other drugs available to them.

4our: TV still gets too much of pharma budgets.  Pharma companies aren’t measuring the awareness of their TV ads and then switching dollars to “pull” people into the brand.

Pharma branding is more important to pharma marketers than to patients.  I could make a strong argument that what pharma does is not branding, but is, rather, product branding.  Drug brands, for the most part, are impersonal and cold and once you’re a patient they don’t seem to care.

What’s needed is new disruptive marketing that talks to the audience like people not a big corporation.  Very few pharma companies seem to be willing to take that risk and invest in the people, that’s my needed to effectively communicate with the audiences.