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

Some of the Best Healthcare Blogs and eBooks of 2009

As we move into 2010, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ve learned this year, much of it triggered by the tremendous number of thought leader blogs, eBooks and white papers that I’ve read this year.  While there is no way to capture all the great work happening 24/7, here’s a smattering of a few (well maybe more than a ‘few’) that you may want to read or re-read as we get ready to step into 2010…

Topics cover a range- from social media and technology, to ePatients and marketing, including implications for Pharma and Healthcare, in the US and Europe. Please feel free to share other posts that you found valuable. Happy reading…  Continue reading

Pharma: Twas the Night before #FDASM

Twas the night before #fdasm, when all through the blogosphere,

Not a marketer was stirring, due to their fear.

The 62 slide decks were posted with care,

In hopes that St DDMAC soon would be there.

The pharma tweeps were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of facebook dance in the heads.

And legal in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the web there arose such a buzz,

I sprang from the bed to see what the fuss was,

Away to my Google, I flew like a flash,

To find in my search fourteen letters to trash.

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Pharma: Is Your Marketing Designed To Engage And Educate Or Sell?

As Marketers, we’ve long been conditioned to “sell”, also known as the fourth Marketing P: Promotion.  Increasingly, however, the world of Marketing is shifting from a model of selling and shouting to one of listening, engagement, dialogue and education. Pharma is no exception to this change.  A recent study by about.com outlined in eMarketer points to success with current pharma advertising, but also highlights opportunities for improvement that are consistent with the continued shift in consumer mindset.

Key Takeaways

Following diagnosis from their Physician, most consumers use the web to find more information about their condition, a smaller percent use search engines to better understand treatment options or the particular medication that they’ve been prescribed.  Only 35% trust what the doctor says and fill the prescription without further search or education.

Currently, more than four in 10 Internet users told About.com that pharma ads made them aware of treatment options and educated them about symptom and conditions; 17% felt like they could speak more knowledgeably with their doctor because of pharmaceutical advertising.  Continue reading

The Use of Email as Part of DTC Marketing…

These days, with so much talk about Social Media, its easy to forget about the use of email to spur action.  A recent study by Epsilon titled  A Prescription for Customer Engagement:  An Inside Look at Email Marketing in the Pharmaceutical Industry provides some reasons not to forgo emails as part of an integrated DTC campaign.

Considering ‘my new favorite’ acronym E.V.E. or Expected Visitor Experience, which Jonathan Richmond defines as ‘the set of activities and functions that an average user would expect to find and use on a specific digital platform’, it’s interesting that unlike many social media platforms being used right now, when it comes to email, Pharma can and often delivers on consumers expectations ‘to get coupons and learn about new and existing products’.  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.”

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A Few Takeaways from the FDA Risk Communication Advisory Committee Meeting

On February 26-27, the FDA Risk Advisory Committee met to review the following questions.  The offical docket slides.

I was able to participate in the meeting on Friday and present some thoughts with regard to “How Neuroscience Learning Might Help Improve Risk and Benefit Communications” (Thanks to some great work by Dr Medina and presentation support by Garr Reynolds of Presentation Zen) My talk suggested: 1) Greater use of multi-sensory communication elements beyond just words to include visuals,  2) Focus on what is most important–‘less is more’ — as humans generally have difficulty digesting too many pieces of information at once 3) humans need repetition to learn–so if its truly important– repeat, and lastly 4) patterns can aid learning so formats like the drug fact box can be very helpful.

I also enjoyed two of the morning presentations: 1) The Effectiveness of the drug facts box in communicating the benefits and side effects of prescription drugs (L Schwartz/S Woloshin Outcomes Group, VA Medial Center, White River Junction, VT.)  The drug fact box has received much attention recently and represents a vast improvement in design and communication of risks and benefits–and as you will see, made it into the advisory committee’s final recommendations…and 2) Consumer Medicines Information in Europe; learning from research, policy and practice (Dr Raynor Prof of Pharmacy Practice, Univ of Leeds, UK)

Catalina Health Resources also appealed to the committee to mandate one document of patient risk information at the pharmacy level.  Continue reading