DTC 21: DTC Marketing in the 21st Century

With mounting economic pressures and growth of generics, increasing political tension surrounding healthcare and DTC marketing practices, Pharmaceutical and Consumer budgets are under intense scrutiny like never before–forcing new and innovate thinking –starting with how to engage and mobilize high potential consumers to optimize ROI, and ending with focus behind the few efforts that return the most for brands and their customer segments.

Engaging the ever demanding healthcare consumer of the 21st century takes the same insight and hard work as we’ve always aspired to with traditional DTC efforts and MORE…Consumers today have 21st Century expectations, but little time and patience…

[If you’re interested in pharma social media, see previous blogs: “Building on Janet Johnson’s 5 Phases of Social Media“, “Twitter reaches 9.3 Million Visitors–Pharma Marketers Beware!” and “The Ten Social Media Watch-outs for Pharma and Healthcare Marketers“]

To continue moving from traditional DTC Advertising to DTC in the 21st Century (DTC 21):  consider these six C’s where ever possible to more fully engage and learn from your core constituents and consumer segments:

  1. Content that is original, insightful and demonstrates that you know what your consumer segments want.  Provide context to speed uptake. And keep it simple by focusing on what’s most meaningful. Interesting and relevant content can take the form of branded or unbranded efforts, educational or interactive, serious or fun eg, healthgaming.

  2. Collaborative Conversation –people prefer two-way diolog–no one likes to be ‘talked at or spoken to”…Find the places where dialog and co-creation can occur within the highly regulated regulatory world of pharma. Work hard to meet the expectations of today’s consumer.

  3. Customization to add relevance.  Content that feels more personalized– ‘for me’– will consistently get more consideration and action. People love to feel like information, products and services are designed for them, to meet their personal needs and desires–and better yet–if consumers can partake in their own customization. [C.K. Prahalad’s book The New Age Of Innovation provides much insight into the possibilities for personalization and co-created value.]

  4. Community grows the feeling of connectedness, and feeling connected is a fundamental attribute of happiness (Link to “Consumer Healthcare Marketing–Pursuing Happiness” blog). Consumers continue to weigh in that peer-to-peer dialog and learning is greatly preferred over manufacturers’ speak.  The continued growth of many disease- oriented communities proves this out.

  5. Consumer Confidence is built through authenticity, trust and transparency--often a concern when consumers think about pharmaceutical manufacturers and healthcare providers. The Edelman trust barometer  has continually raised this opportunity.

  6. Consistent Commitment takes time to develop and necessitates consistent actions across touchpoints and customer initiatives.  One-shot and ‘flashy’ initiatives may not work to demonstrate commitment.  Nothing takes the place of time to build ever-lasting relationships.

The act of engagement can help consumers feel and act smarter, grab control of their healthcare needs and everyday life, and connect with others, including brands or companies.

Many in pharma are initiating new marketing and social media efforts (To see the latest go to Dose of Digital’s Pharma and Healthcare Social Media Wiki); many are trying new integrated efforts across traditional and new media, and so on…some with more use of the 6 C’s –The ones that are sure to build stronger engagement, trust and sales– and some with less-Those with less may be wise to consider if their marketing endeavors fall below threshold levels of Expected Visitor Experience or EVE… [Originally coined by Jonathan Richman at Dose of Digital blog].

How are you engaging your customers? Care to share?

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