Pharma DTC At The Crossroads? 2011 Prevention DTC Study Results

Here are six thought starters I see coming out of Prevention Magazine’s 14th Annual Pharmaceutical Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) Advertising Study.*

1. Generic growth continues to put downward pressure on DTC ROI’s.

2. DTC continues to positively impact conversations with the doctor, but there is a general decline in patients receiving the prescription drug–a significant drain on ROI.

3. Consumers value Pharma websites, but opportunity exists to improve their value with less focus on ‘benefits-only’ messaging.

4. Consumers are consistently looking for Pharma to provide more information about the safety and risks of prescription medicines.

5. Social Media and Mobile Health are still in their infancy in helping consumers to gather information about prescription medicines and to manage their healthcare.

6. Consumers are interested in new health IT and advanced treatment solutions to help improve their health.

1.      Generic use continues to rise with 36% reporting that they’ve switched to a generic prescription or OTC medicine in the past 12 months to reduce healthcare costs.  With Generic medications now accounting for 78% of all retail prescriptions dispensed (IMS Health), this has sizable potential implications for any brand’s DTC Adverting ROI.  Continue reading

Pharma Marketers: 6 Key Skills Every Brand Champion Will Possess

In our ever-changing media landscape, coupled with increasingly powerful ePatient communities, a demand for new standards has arisen.  As a result, Pharma [and in reality all marketers] must accelerate their skills in six key areas to separate their marketing communications, and become brand champions. 

Read the full article in DTC Perspectives March 2011: Tough Demands to Galvanize Marketing Communications: 2011 Brand Champions Will Possess Six Key Skills.

Every marketer knows that spurring brand and patient success requires building on wisdom from the past, while honing new abilities to educate, motivate and converse with patients and their families.  Savvy marketers know that the 4P’s – also renamed SIVA [Solution, Information, Value, Access] to provide greater customer focus- have never been more critical.  In addition, 2011 brand champions are challenged to create Michael Porter’s “shared value”, accelerating skills in six areas:

  1. Dynamic listening and action, real-time. Astute marketers take dynamic listening seriously- they know who to listen to, where to listen, what’s most important to take note of, and are eminently geared to take action by responding nimbly to new learning.  Champion marketers know that listening without action is as dangerous as acting without listening. Continue reading

A New Reality in DTC Advertising?

The last few months, I’ve been deeply entrenched in “Execution” for an important client. So needless to say, I’ve been thinking A LOT about what it takes to move from strong strategy to superb execution, and more specifically, what it takes to achieve what I call “High Return Execution” (HRE).    Look for more thoughts on HRE in the upcoming weeks… (And my sincere apologies for the resulting lack of blogging and staying connected with many of my friends’ blogs these last few months)

Today, I want to share a personal experience.  Last week my team led an advertising shoot for a prescription product’s new multi-channel campaign we are intimately involved with.  There was much to feel good about – the creative idea tested very well and is strong. We also had a terrific creative and production team, a wonderful photographer who we’ve all worked with before, and we were shooting in a venue that turned out to be magical…not to mention the beautiful picture- perfect, dry sunny days … [How can you  complain about spending two days on an unspoiled 200 acre ranch in northern California?]

But as I flew home from the shoot, reflecting upon the previous few days, I kept feeling there was something even more special … something that I rarely feel after shoots … and then I realized … Continue reading

Pharma Marketers: No Product Is An Island

Recently, I spent a productive day working with a smart group of consumer agency partners to integrate and finalize 2010 Marketing Plans for a Pharma brand we all support.

Our conversation centered around the brand promise and the patient experience throughout the decision and treatment journey: from awareness and consideration, through conversion, adherence and advocacy or brand champion. We discussed the impact of different triggers and barriers, or where we might lose consumers (leaky buckets), which targets should be high priorities and why, and how the patient journey is no longer linear. (You may also want to read The New Marketing Funnel by Adam Cohen at A Thousand Cuts.)

All the stuff you might expect a consumer team to collaborate and consider…Sounds good… EXCEPT… the work represented only the consumer team– or one of the brand’s customers.  Continue reading

Pharma: Dip Your Toes and Other Tips From DTC Perspectives Conference

We’re in the midst of conference-frenzy.  Last week I was able to attend day two of DTC Perspective’s Fall Conference: Reform & Refocus  (For twitter followers: #dtcfall). Here are some of the key themes that I picked up:

  • Dip-your-toes approach. This was said over and over about social media. Get started, and evolve as you learn and your company becomes more comfortable with the effort. (This is also a common theme in Digital Pharma’s conference taking place this week. #digpharm)
  • Remember your overall marketing strategy–Before you clarify objectives  for social media and start running with tactics…
  • Give the team TIME. Initiating new social media programs took many more hours and resources than originally planned. And there is always the unexpected…
  • The Internet is for marketing-not just advertising. This also requires a shift in mindset. (Bill Drummy of Heartbeat Digital)
  • Technology is moving oh soooo fast-Mobile, video, ‘smart’ advertising using behavioral data, gaming and of course social media are musts to be more than experimenting with in 2010.

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Pharma: Are Current DTC Ads Meaningful?

I just finished reading Bob Gilbreath’s new book “The Next Evolution of Marketing. Connect With Your Customers By MARKETING WITH MEANING.” Given my roots in package goods consumer marketing, I found the book and the examples ‘meaningful’…

I whole heartedly agree that the next evolution in marketing is to move from ‘telling and selling’ to providing value and ultimately, to improving people’s lives.  I think too, this is one reason that so many consumer package goods marketers made the move to pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing-to help save and improve people’s lives and well being…

What are marketers to do when consumers are not just immune to our messages, but they’re ignoring us completely?

Create marketing that’s meaningful.

What is meaningful marketing?

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Pharma Marketers: Think You Can’t Do Moderated Chat?

Is your brand actively engaging its customers, enabling them to share their stories and opinions, and hear from “other consumers like them”? (In the latest PEW Internet and California Healthcare Foundation study, 68% of all adults ask a friend or family member for healthcare information-second only to asking a healthcare professional at 86%, and 57% of all adults use the internet.) Or are regulatory and AE concerns keeping you from considering moderated chat, even though it could strengthen two-way conversations  and help move your brand closer to building a genuine community?

Asacol, P&G’s prescription treatment for Ulcerative Colitis has recently launched a new Community for UC patients to share stories-and share advice.  Asacol created a moderated chat where consumers can share their stories -if they keep it focused on their experience managing UC – diet, travel, telling others, etc. – and do not mention “Asacol” or other drug treatment options by name. (See their Guidelines for submitting stories.)

In the Asacol Community, consumers are encouraged to provide stories or to ask questions.  Content is carefully moderated per the guidelines, but consumers can rate and vote on story content and answers.  Continue reading

New DTC Ad: Grow your eyelashes!

I was SURPRISED to see this new DTC print ad by Allergan for  Latisse–the first and only prescription product to help with “hypotrichosis”–another name for having inadequate or not enough eyelashes!

With the economy in the dumps and Pharma and DTC advertising under increasing scrutiny, here’s a new print campaign for what might seem like a pretty trivial and ‘soft’ medical condition. Adding to this is the fact that they are using a celebrity endorsement in their advertising-Brooke Shields- which adds an extra level of scrutiny these days– and they’re advertising to the consumer within the first six months of introduction (I guess their thinking is that this is a safe cosmetic treatment and therefore shouldn’t follow the latest PhRMA Guidelines. It contains the active ingredient of the glaucoma drug Lumigan, which is also made by Allergan).

They’ve tapped Brooke with terrific testimonial video and great ‘before and after’ photos (not retouched of course) demonstrating results at 12 weeks…hoping women will return to see her results at 16 weeks. (Honestly, I can’t ever remember ever thinking that Brooke’s eye lashes were ever deficient…I do remember her for her stand against postpartum depression which I think was greatly admired by many. ) There’s also a fund raising effort for ‘make a wish foundation’ on the website.  Continue reading

Pharma Marketing to Consumers Faces Continued Pressure from Generics

Generics and the Economy continue to add pressure to Pharma Brand Marketing.  The most recent data released by Wolters Kluwer Health continues to support that even the Pharmaceutical industry is not immune to the economic downturn.  In fact, by the close of 2009, 2/3’s of all prescriptions filled will be for a generic…

 

Summarized in a recent WSJ article “Many Drug Prescriptions are Going Unfilled”  the data suggests that the numbers of Americans not filling branded prescriptions is continuing to rise.

“Due to cost, U.S. patients failed to fill 6.8% of the brand-name prescriptions their doctors requested in the 2008 fourth quarter, a 22% increase from the first quarter of 2007. Patients also abandoned prescriptions for generic drugs at a higher rate, failing to fill 4.1% of generic prescriptions,” according to the WSJ.

Wolters Kluwer also also reports that “abandonment increased as the amount of the co-pay increased, especially for new prescriptions. For example, new prescriptions with co-pays of $100 or more carry an abandonment rate of just over 20%; while with co-pays of $10 or under, the abandonment is only 4 percent.”

Continue reading