Wednesday, February 6, 2013
The New Look of DTC: Digital-to-Consumer
Today's guest post comes from Mark Tosh, Medivo BTP
In a post here late last week, Cutting Edge Information’s Nicole May addressed the topic of whether DTC ads are “falling out of favor” with consumer Rx marketers. As she correctly noted, the ad-spending data from tracking firms such as Nielsen certainly indicate that fewer marketing dollars are now earmarked for big-budget broadcast and print campaigns.
Some skeptics cite the decline in the number of blockbuster products as the primary reason for this direct-to-consumer falloff (i.e., fewer big drugs mean few big marketing efforts), but we believe the reason is something else.
It’s now blatantly obvious that more and more people (both patients and caregivers) are turning to the Internet when they need to find important health information. And this is where marketers are moving their budget dollars, trying to stay more closely in step with this health-information seeking audience.
We don’t have ad-spending data to cite here as evidence of this shift to digital channels, because either the research firms aren’t tracking Internet/digital or the numbers are just plain out of synch with the market.
But just look at some of the numbers coming out of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, particularly the data about where caregivers are turning for health information:
• 72% of Internet users say they looked online for health information within the past year (based on a September 2012 Pew survey).
• About one-half of this online health information research is being done on behalf of someone else, most likely by a caregiver, or what Pew calls “information access by proxy.
• 31% of cell phone owners, and 52% of smartphone owners, have used their phone to look up health or medical information.
What we find even more compelling for marketers to consider is the way in which caregivers are using the Internet as a main resource for helping them provide better care. For example, Pew reports that caregivers are more likely than other Internet users to read online reviews of drugs, clinicians and medical facilities.
Here’s the data:
• 38% of online caregivers have consulted online reviews of particular drugs or medical treatments, compared with 18% of non-caregivers.
• 21% of online caregivers have consulted online rankings or reviews of doctors or other providers, compared with 13% of non-caregivers.
• 20% of online caregivers have consulted online rankings or reviews of hospitals or other medical facilities, compared with 12% of non-caregivers. (Statistical analysis shows that being a caregiver has a significant association with an Internet user’s likelihood to consult such reviews.)
So, yes, there are innumerable opportunities for marketers to engage patients online. But, as the population ages and more consumers find themselves, in the role of caregiver, we see even greater opportunities for health marketers to provide much-needed digital health resources and monitoring tools.
Want to learn more about Digital-to-Consumer? Our media partners, Medivo BTP will be joining us at ePharma Summit March 4-6, 2013 in New York, and you can to! To view our full program, download our brochure. As a reader of this blog when you register to join mention code XP1806BLOG, you'll save 10% off the current rate!