May 28, 2010

Fish Where the Fish Are -- Not Only Digital IQ

Previously in this Blog I mentioned the Digital IQ report and rankings compiled by L2 (Luxury Lab) and PhD Media . Yesterday our company, the CementBloc had an in-depth discussion group, and we realized that some of these findings must be taken with a grain of salt.

While use of innovative digital channels is admirable, the ultimate goal of media (the report notes 4% of Pharma DTC spend is online) is to reach your target segment, and to acquire qualified leads that can drive conversion to prescriptions.

It is not surprising that the highest scoring brands in the report where aimed at youth (18 to 30) markets, most notably female contraceptives -- for that audience you need to be on mobile, social, and web. Many of these products also have years left on their product life cycle as well.

Also not too surprising that cardiovascular drugs are generally challenged. The target age range is consumers in their 50s and 60s, and many of the drugs have gone generic or are nearing their loss of exclusivity.

Digital IQ is a good concept, but ranking within your category of peers (same target, similar therapies) may make more sense than a global ranking.

We also need to consider specialty products: oncology comes to mind as a very active online category that has its own special digital needs.
So, in considering consumer awareness and acquisition media, consider your target. Do research into the channels and media that your target really consumes. For some therapeutic categories, don't give up on focused print, or focused demographically matched DRTV, or even targeted direct mail or email lists. Digital is one important arrow in your quiver, but not the whole arsenal. Your digital investment and innovation should align to your brand's needs and your target.

Thus, as my friend Jason Ruebel of Bridge Worldwide taught me, when we were working on StrongMoms together, in relationship marketing you have to "fish where the fish are."