Digital outperforms TVC for DTC


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All the most recent research shows that consumers are increasingly tuning our TV commercials. This includes Pharma offerings. Other industries have reacted to this much more quickly and are now adopting holistic, interactive, digital strategies and are getting the sort of cut through and (more importantly) sales results that TVC offered when it was the only medium in the game.

The activities of the FDA should not deter marketers from venturing into the digital age and increasing their focus and spending online – OK we all know that Novartis got its wrists slapped for the Tasigna facebook widget – because this is where the customers are at the moment. More and more of the people with whom Pharma marketers want to interact are online, and using online as their conduit to all media. How many people watch TV these days? The majority of us either have TIVO system where we record what we want, or subscribe to Vuze or TV duck . I cannot remember the last time I actually sat down in front of the TV and suffered an episode of House interrupted by commercials: but I am looking at ads online ALL the time. So are the majority of your customers.

The FDA is not the problem here, it is the fact that Pharma marketing departments have not invested in digital knowhow and the big agencies that they work with either do not have specialist digital agency teams (so don’t promote this as the way forward), or once they get the team they are so emasculated and underfunded that you might as well not have bothered.

And that’s the crazy thing. Digital costs so much less than other channels to develop, and test – yet it is now proving to have the best ROI of all. Why? Because your prospects is pre qualified before you get to them. Instead of pay and spray advertising (do you really know how many of the target audience suffer from the condition targeted with your sponsorship or TVC?) you can be more targeted, more specific and much more likely to make a sale. Having a website is simply not enough any more. Consumers want dynamic content, news, interaction a conversation. While it might not be true, it looks like Pharma marketers simply do not understand this channel.

Part of the reason is that Pharma marketers like to work with one agency ‘that understands the industry’. And that’s why all the advertising looks and feels the same and why the consumer is increasingly disengaged. As I said above, the big agencies have developed a digital service, but what happens is that the cutting edge marketers from these smaller agencies leave once the big boys come to town. It’s just not fun for them any more. They went into digital because they saw the difference it could make and the fact that they were not institutionalized is what made them great. Industry knowledge is too inward looking, too self contemplative. Digital agencies are about fresh blood and ideas. OK, you might make some small mistakes to being with, but these guys learn really quick.

And talking of the inside out view providing analyses that TVC works on an ROI basis is frankly self serving. Have you ever looking into the potential conflicts of interest from the market researchers, agencies, media buyers and all the other professionals working in the industry who would have so much to lose if Pharma decided that the ROI from this channel did not deliver? Sadly a great deal of the marketing industry is beset with organizations that feed on each other, none of which wants to upset the gravy train they are all on because they have too much to lose.

Look what just happened with the Super Bowl. Millions of dollars spent on providing advertainment for the audience. We saw lots of reports on which as was the most popular, which had the best recollection, which was funniest and which agency had egg on its face for screwing up the execution. What we did not see is any of the agencies suggesting which might actually change consumer behavior and increase sales.

With digital media measurement can be more precise, direct: effective.

I do not propose that all your budget is immediately switched into the digital area, but please, please start the shift in this direction now. The Pharma companies that will win in the future already have sell designed digital strategies as a part of an holistic 360 approach. In this instance, there is no doubt that speed of getting into this channel will deliver significant competitive advantage.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Richard Kohn
Results driven, inspirational innovator with extensive global experience. Blue-chip experience in FMCG, B2B & professional services. Respected for delivering actionable & game changing business solutions across all aspects of a commercial operation.


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