Time to ditch ROI discussions for DTC Marketing

ditchroiPOST SUMMARY: It’s hard to have a meeting to discuss new DTC marketing initiatives without the dreaded ROI discussion. I understand that the current business environment in biopharma is about creating customers, but the problem is that consumers today don’t want to be sold.  If you really want to closer to your customers, find ways to help them make better healthcare decisions and get good credible health information.

What a lot of CPG marketers are learning is that there isn’t a strong correlation between social media marketing and ROI.  However, what they are also learning is that not everything that matters can be measured, especially when it matters to patients.

John Mack asked, last week, if biopharma websites were really impartial and provided the best health information.  My answer to that is no.  I also understand that nobody is going to create a website that doesn’t drive business and brand KPI’s.  The challenge, therefore, is to find a good balance between your audience’s needs and brand objectives.  How do you this?  It’s actually not that hard, just ask them in research.


When I was leading a team on website redesign we did some qualitative research with our audience to ask them everything from homepage design elements to content.  Much to our surprise the people in our research actually used a white board to draw their ideal homepage layout and how navigation should be positioned within the site.  We used it as a template and tested it with other groups and came up with a winner.

Did it work?  Our bounce rate dropped, time on site increased and visitors were reading content in pages that, before, had very low views.  One of the best features we incorporated was a small callout on the homepage that summarized new content updates.  By listening to our audience and giving them what THEY wanted we were able to improve key brand metrics.

So Rich, what’s your point?

key_pointRather than focus strictly on ROI, think about helping your target audience get the information they need to make healthcare treatment decisions.  Don’t use language that constantly sells to them, rather inform, educate and let them come to the conclusion that your product is the answer to their health problem(s).

When someone in a meeting asks about ROI throw it back to them and ask “if it’s best for our customers, it’s best for business”.