Mar 6, 2010

Pharma DTC Spending Holds, and Digital Rises

Recent posts in Medical Marketing and Media notes that Pharmaceutical DTC spending has held firm in 2009, rising 1.9% to $4.5 billion over 2008 spend. Data is from the Nielsen Company. Considering reductions in sales force sizing, that means a relative rise in the percentage of spending in DTC in pharmaceuticals.

A closer look at these numbers brings insights by channel. Television spending is shifting from networks to cable, and magazine spending is down.

A note worthy trend is a rise in Internet ad spending of 31%, to $117 million. Of course, Internet spending is still small in the relative DTC marketing mix (less than a tenth of overall print or overall TV).

Still the rise shows that increasing numbers of pharmaceutical marketers are seeing these benefits of digital advertising:

Targeting: Online media can be targeted to consumers' behaviors, and their searches. It can also be placed within content areas geared toward disease education vs. specific products.

Direct response efficiency: On a cost per lead basis, search and direct response banners are very efficient.

Faster and Easier Measurement: Data on impressions, click throughs, and landing site activity comes in within hours and days after the campaign launches. This enables marketers to understand what their audiences really need and how well they respond to alternative offers.

Testing and Learning: In a related note, setting up parallel test cells for search or banner campaigns is straightforward using platforms like Omniture or Google Analytics. The rapid results noted above help you see which offer or creative is yielding the biggest response or most website traffic.

Rapid Media Optimization: One corollary to rapid data within a test and learn environment is enabling of rapid media optimization. Decisions can continually be made of what media changes to make.

These benefits should continue to make digital an ever increasing channel for consumer advertising and relationship marketing in pharmaceuticals in the future.