These are some broad tips for leveraging digital in pharma marketing to effectively and efficiently connect with digital audiences.
1. Be where they are
Consumers: Data shows that consumers are online seeking healthcare information. Consequently, the point at which this audience engages with health content in digital creates a highly qualified, near point-of-purchase opportunity to connect with your audience.
Physicians: Manhattan Research reports that 99% of physicians use the Internet, and the percentage of time they use it for professional purposes is upwards of 11-hours-per-week and growing. In addition, their activity is no longer restricted to before and after work hours. Time online during patient visits is also increasing at notable rates year-over-year. Their #1 online activity is researching pharmaceutical products on sites like Drugs.com. They also read professional journals across the multiple channels of print, online, and mobile.
2. Budget for effective SOV
At eHealthcare Solutions Premium Advertising Network, we see thousands of campaigns. It is troublesome how many agencies will attempt to buy an ineffective share of voice. Some site-specific purchases seem to be made simply to be able to inform the client that “they have a presence” on a specific site with a strong brand name. If a purchase translates into too small a share-of-voice, however, we often recommend that clients save their money, because the campaign will simply be ineffective.
3. Deliver a relevant & timely message
We tend to think of people as being clearly in just one stage of the customer-engagement funnel. What we find, though, is that reality is murky. Promoting through the transitions is powerful as well. If someone is 90% on their way to the next stage, it is far easier to push them through the next step. Don’t miss out on opportunity by assuming they are already converted.
When measuring ROI, evaluate comparable placements – don’t mistakenly compare the CTR of a brand-building campaign with one of direct response. These media buys were made with entirely different objectives in mind. Don’t compare an awareness campaign with that of a treatment-targeted campaign. When dealing with consumers on different ends of the disease awareness continuum it’s important to message to them differently, as well as to set and measure their desired results differently.
4. Utilize expertise of strategic partners
Agency partners are one important source of strategic collaboration. But there are many additional experts available to serve you and help you meet your marketing goals via the digital channel. Consider expanding your circle of advisors to tap into fresh and more-specific talent. Many strategic resources will work for free if they have services that might meet your needs because consultation provides an opportunity to showcase these services. Brainstorm directly with strategically aligned vendors and consultants. No one understands better how to tap into the potential of their area of expertise than the companies offering the services under consideration. These partners provide a great opportunity to create new solutions or to take existing products and tailor them into a program that will achieve great results for your unique situation.
5. Maximize time & investment
Countless studies by Dynamic Logic, comScore, and others have evaluated aided and unaided recall, and NRx and TRx lift resulting from online ad exposures and site visits. These studies have shown that digital advertising works. In fact, because online programs have been held to a higher standard for so long, other media are being asked to measure themselves against the same criteria. Digital performs well... and it’s flexible, cost-effective, and measurable.
Because metrics are so readily available for digital campaigns, data management becomes a key success factor in getting the best results for your investment. It’s vital to establish performance goals and measurements at the onset of a campaign –even before the creative is developed and the media buy is planned. Then, when live, campaign data and results need regular monitoring and optimization. For maximum results, it’s important to share all the data with all partners involved in the campaign. Each player has a role and a unique perspective in the process. Timely collaboration around what the full data picture means against the success metrics results in faster action toward optimization, improved efficiency, and more time for you to experience greater results.
RJ Lewis will be presenting "Trends & Technologies to Watch in 2012 & Beyond" at the 2012 ePharma Summit. For more information on his presentation and the rest of the agenda, download the brochure here. And, as a reader of this blog, mention code XP1706BLOG to receive 10% off the current rate when you register to join us this February!
About the author: R.J. Lewis has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for his entire career. He is the Founder & CEO of eHealthcare Solutions (EHS), the leading solutions-focused premium advertising network serving both advertisers and publishers in the digital healthcare marketplace. Our exclusive representation of more than 75 top-quality digital partners helps us deliver high-value exposures to and engagement with target audiences across the many niches of healthcare, including physicians, other HCPs, patients, and caregivers. We leverage our pharmaceutical, marketing, media, and digital expertise in strategic partnership with our marketing clients to deliver effective, custom solutions for their brands. EHS delivers proven results for both advertisers and publishers. For more blog posts from this author, click here.