Traditional DTC Media Is Alive and Well–But Not In A Vacuum!

“Even as digital marketing channels and platforms become increasingly important and pervasive in Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) advertising, traditional ‘mass’ media channels can still be effective and efficient (especially for larger brands)… The key to success is a well-integrated marketing strategy that takes advantage of old and new media alike,” writes  Steven Niles in the May issue of MedAd News.

While the industry largely continues to label DTC merely as ‘broad-based advertising’,  there are many who subscribe to DTC in the 21st Century (DTC 21) as a key strategy to educate and engage consumers through push and pull touches, including old and new -media and relationship building – tactics alike. 

Further, the decision to use traditional DTC media is not done in a vacuum–but depends on such factors as:

  • the target consumer, including their attitudes and behaviors, and where and how to best reach them– which media and platforms they frequent and have comfort with…
  • the condition itself– sufferer size, the treatment pathway, frequency of doctor visits, adherence and patient value, competitive frame, etc.
  • the brand’s objectives, positioning and platform and budget.
  • the mix of media that it will interact and have synergy with…

Yes, DTC awareness media spending is down, and as budgets get squeezed, especially for smaller more targeted brands, web and social media strategies often make more sense than broad based DTC.

Yes, DTC is increasingly caught up in the public policy debate.

BUT–Traditional DTC still works well for the right brand as part of the right media mix and integrated strategy, often including branded and unbranded efforts and awareness and relationship building drivers.

Why throw the baby out with the bath water? Why always surround the debate with either traditional DTC or web when the choice can depend on what’s right for the brand at a particular point of time and a mix of media and social media platforms working together to build a brand and satisfy a consumer?


PS Full Disclosure: I’m quoted in the MedAd News Article…

2 thoughts on “Traditional DTC Media Is Alive and Well–But Not In A Vacuum!

  1. The right media mix has eluded DTC marketers for quite awhile. TV can drive awareness, but once awareness has reached a certain level it becomes ineffective. Yet we see the same TV spots over and over while the digital channel goes largely ignored because DTC marketers are both afraid to use it and don’t understand the concept of empowered patients.

    • So agree that the media mix has to change over time as the brand matures…While Pharma is increasingly using the digital channel, there is still room to grow for sure!

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