16 June 2009

Online Pharmaceutical marketing the new wave

Online Tools & Techniques Strategies for reaching today’s Health Care Consumers

The direct to consumer pharmaceutical marketing landscape was much straight forward ten years ago. This day’s consumer shift to new online media and technology, especially for health and pharmaceutical information, is transforming the game. And while they are plenty of examples of innovative digital campaigns in pharmaceutical (Lifestyle medication), the reality is that pharmaceutical marketing is struggling to keep up with the media preferences of today's healthcare consumer.

There’s a learning curve associated with the evolution of an online marketing model, and Pharmaceutical marketers have the added challenge of complying with strict regulatory guidelines and managing public and media scrutiny of DTC Online advertising. Key Factors Pushing new media to the forefront of Online Pharmaceutical Marketing. The emerging media mix and consumer’s access trend to them is changing rapidly, they have more option for obtaining news entertainment and information through available media mix.

The Digitalization has been changing marketing landscape since 2002, online health information seeking has more than doubled since 2002 and online pharmaceutical information seeking has more than tripled in the same time period and the online health resources consumers find are impacting the healthcare decisions they are making for themselves and their families.

Pharmaceutical marketers are catching on to the trends, but there's a long way to go before brand media closes the gap between where consumers are and where budgets are going, only a small fraction of overall pharmaceutical advertising spend is currently allocated to online campaigns. But as we’re seeing with our clients, consumer trends are prompting marketers to put more weight behind digital strategies.

Shifting focus to niche therapies:

As the pharmaceutical industry shifts its focus from blockbuster drugs to niche therapies, different online marketing strategies come into play. While mass media campaigns were successful in raising awareness of conditions of interest to a broad base of individuals, promoting niche drugs requires precision targeting and fostering one to one relationships with patients. Traditional broadcast media doesn't necessarily fit in well with this approach, but strategies around online social media, search marketing, behavioral targeted advertising, video podcasting and the like can help marketers target better defined audiences and engage with them on a more personal level. Example: You may have heard about the new “diet” pill Alli. Alli is a milder formulation that has been made to be purchased over the counter, launched by GSK. The online marketing campaign of alli is well known to pharmacy marketers.

Online Marketing Gimmicks and ROI:

Companies all across the board are struggling to make sense of online ROI, especially those in industries like pharmaceutical where most of the transactions take place offline, (now a day’s online pharmacy grab 20% market share for prescription and non prescription lifestyle and over the counter medication), but advancing analytics technology will provide marketers with a clearer link between digital strategies overall should help marketers to more efficiently reach a critical mass of healthcare consumers of better target those within a specific condition group. As pharmaceutical companies become more comfortable with new media, they will be better able to leverage its power to enable cost effective marketing strategies.

For more detail about Online marketing trends and its application please Refer this post: http://ksujay.blogspot.com/2009/01/online-marketng-trends-for-2009.html

So if online digital media is poised to increase its role in pharmaceutical marketing, what are some of the key points that marketers need to know to stay ahead of the curve today?

In light of where pharmaceutical marketing has come today and where it’s heading in the near future-it's critical for brand teams to be educated in the latest trends and best practices in new online media and digital marketing. Of course agency partners are valuable for providing expertise and tactical execution, but in pharmaceutical marketers don't have a solid grasp on the wide breadth of digital strategies available to them, they may be missing out on channels that are most relevant to their particular audience.

Once marketer understands their target audience's media preferences, the ball is in their court to use the knowledge to form brand strategies and campaigns. Market analyst and agency partners can guide brand teams on how to best use new channels to communicate with patients in a relevant and authentic way.