Why is pharma wasting so much money with digital budgets?

Research has said pharma had increased its digital spending because of the pandemic. That may be right, but I would suggest that 50% of that spending is wasted because pharma doesn’t have the resources to measure its digital marketing adequately.

eMarketer recently released a report on healthcare spending on digital. At best, at best laughable, as the “analysts” at eMarketer are nothing more than writers with little experience working with ANY pharma clients. However, it does show that pharma is overspending on digital.

Let me back up a minute here.

I’m a digital marketer, and I understand how HCPs and consumers use the Internet for health information. More importantly, I know how to measure meaningful digital marketing for bean counters. Here is an example…

A pharma company wanted to reach thought leaders with data for their new drug. The salesforce was costly and ineffective, so they asked me for suggestions. We developed a list of the top physicians we wanted to reach and then contacted Medscape to determine how many of those physicians were on the site. Medscape told us that 90% of the targeted physicians were on the site, so we developed a program to reach them. Medscape would then let us know how many had viewed our module on the drug’s data. In the first week alone, we went over 20% of targeted docs with a one-minute detail. That metric excited the HCP team.

To reach our target audience, we developed an online ad that took the message to them where THEY were online, but it required interaction (rollover) to expand. Rather than splash the banner everywhere, we targeted specific sites based on our audience’s psychographics and demographics. Measurement indicated a very high rate of interaction that was way above what we had expected.

But it wasn’t all good. We spent a lot of money on paid search, but the data indicated that the bounce rate was too high and page views too short. We decided to cut back on paid search and rely more on organic search.

With HCPs, we kept them engaged with new data, and one of the most successful ways we engaged them was a module on how patients felt about their health conditions. Some physicians replied with a “thank you for this information.”

Pharma wastes way too much money on ineffective digital marketing that could and should be measured because they don’t have adequate resources. Placing billboard ads via programmatic is a colossal waste of money.

Are you suggesting that other channels are ineffective?

No, of course not. I suggest you measurably reach your audience with digital marketing rather than just following a blueprint of money to search etc.

TV ads with a high-frequency waste much money, as do repeated print ads. Consumers are going online for their health information. Digital CAN be highly effective, but you need a team that understands digital

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