Are you committing a pharmaceutical faux-pas when it comes to marketing? We’ve been researching, leading, and succeeding in the pharmaceutical marketing space for 18 years. I’ve personally attended hundreds of meetings with pharma marketers and their agencies during my career with Rx EDGE, and have observed these common behaviors that usually contribute to a lack of success when it comes to marketing.
These 10 Marketing Mistakes May Cost You
1. Having a Narrow Definition of Media
These days, media is defined differently, it’s about fans, followers, and being where the action is. If you have the scale to influence, then you’re media. Expand your definition of media and you’ll expand your impact.
2. Ignoring Marketing 101
The basic tenets of marketing to consumers holds that you should be reaching THE LARGEST number of targeted eyeballs, for THE BIGGEST effect, for THE LEAST amount of money. Consider the “five P’s” of marketing in your next campaign: Product, Price, Promotion, Place, and Position. These five are key marketing elements designed to help you think strategically. By the way, the pharmacy fits nicely into that “Place” element!
3. Overlooking New Ways to Target
Setting is critical in all facets of life, and it is particularly pertinent in advertising. Two words always come to mind for me, content and context. Does your message really matter to the consumers it reaches? If not, consider expanding your targeting strategy horizons. “Brands need to adapt, evolve, and use data to understand what’s working and what’s not,” Lakshaman Narayan, CEO and a co-founder of Unmetric, Inc. told Forbes. Dig into your metrics and analytics to determine how to reach the best target audience for your current campaign and consider trying new approaches like Insight Edge.
4. Missing Multi-Channel Marketing
To connect with the right audience at scale, the key is to not put all your eggs in one basket – consumers aren’t loyal to a single publication or to a single social media platform, making a diversified and flexible approach to paid distribution necessary. Using multiple channels significantly amplifies your reach. Sometimes now called “omni-channel marketing,” the idea is to keep consumer needs at the center of the marketing campaign. Provide one consistent communication strategy, with content tailored to the channel, delivered across multiple channels to multiple audiences. 95% of marketers agree a multi-channel strategy that allows them to target customers is important for their organization. Don’t limit your platform strategy — diversify!
5. Skipping the Pharmacy
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, the new healthcare hub is located in none other than the pharmacy. Why aren’t you marketing there? It’s a risk to assume that your target audience cannot be found in the pharmacy: The average American lives within just two miles of a community pharmacy and over 275 million visit a pharmacy each week!
6. POC Isn’t Just About Focusing Only on the Waiting/Exam Room
Speaking of multi-channel marketing, are your advertising dollars focused solely on the waiting and exam room of physicians and hospitals? Or perhaps you only spend your ad dollars on television? While reaching an expansive audience should be part of any marketer’s goal, it might be time to challenge your traditional thinking (see #1 above). Are you willing to miss out on an average ROI of $8.12 and a 12.5% script lift just because you want to stay in the office? Potential patients are taking trips to the pharmacy for self-treatment OTC products eight times more frequently than they are visiting a physician. Why then do we consider the doctor’s office “closer to prescribing” than the pharmacy?
7. Saying “We’ve Always Done It That Way”
In an industry that is already notorious for taking longer to embrace new things due to tight regulations, it’s easy to fall into the trap of saying “we’ve always done it that way” when it comes to marketing. When is the last time you took a hard look at the success of your current advertising campaigns? ROI might not be everything, but it seems like it would be difficult to justify the ongoing use of media strategies that cannot be concretely evaluated. It’s essential to link marketing actions to patient actions whenever possible.
8. Under-Communicating with Your Partners
“An open exchange of viewpoints is essential to ensuring the agency/client relationship stays healthy and productive” says Ableson Taylor Healthcare Marketer Laura Bartmess. Make sure you’re an open book when it comes to your wants, needs, desires, and ROI requirements when talking with agencies and advertising partners. This holds true not only for your agency relationships, but for your working relationships with other marketing services providers as well.
9. Not Considering the Consumer Connection
A big theme from the recent MM&M’s Annual Transforming Healthcare Conference was creating a consumer connection and focusing on the patient first. Consumers are more motivated than ever these days when they are searching for answers about their health. It’s important to create an opportunity for these potential customers to discover new brands in a timely and relevant manner. Help the consumers that are helping themselves! They are taking healthcare into their own hands and missing them when they’re in that Mindset Moment® is a large, lost opportunity.
10. Forgetting to Measure the Call to Action
Marketers love talking about calls to actions: CTAs. Don’t forget to focus on the action you’d like the consumer to take. Use action-oriented media to spark the hand-raisers (those who’ve seen the ad and are interested in the message) to DO something. The typical metrics of awareness, website visits, and impressions are all contributing factors to media success and important to know, but they are diagnostic in nature and do not give you the full performance picture. Metrics that are delivered primarily through sales data provide a more unequivocal assessment of media effectiveness because they tell marketers if a real action was taken.
Keeping these 10 tips in mind can be challenging, but will ultimately be rewarding.
Need a partner to help you navigate the changing pharma marketing landscape? Consider Rx EDGE. We’d love to help you with your next endeavor.
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