Direct-to-consumer product marketing has many of the same challenges in healthcare as it does in other industries. Strengthening brand awareness and incorporating effective calls-to-action that drive sales require breaking through the clutter and both motivating consumers and giving them the tools to engage with your brand.

A unique challenge for direct-to-consumer product marketers, however, is that many products being marketed are solutions to medical and aging problems, which can be challenging to educate your target market on it’s benefits. When utilizing television advertising, short-form DRTV commercials that are one or two minutes in length, compared to a typical shorter :30 spot, are beneficial to allow more time to explain or demonstrate your product’s benefits. You want to be clear on how you structure your call-to-action in that it is simple and easy to remember. Indeed, it can be difficult as a healthcare DTC marketer to get across the value of a product especially since there are also regulatory pressures and tight restrictions on claims you can convey about medical or aging products.

To succeed in marketing health-related products, it is critical to understand the process by which you earn a healthcare consumer’s attention and guide them through the sales funnel. A critical – and often overlooked – part of this process is increasing brand awareness and strengthening the positive associations with both your brand and your products. Through this enhanced brand strength, the consumer engagement required for sales becomes easier.

Everyone is a Healthcare Consumer – But One Groups Matters Most for Your Sales

How can we strengthen brand awareness in the complex, crowded, and often overwhelming healthcare industry? One critical thing to consider is that women tend to be healthcare decision makers – whether as wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, or friends. Thus, increasing awareness among women is a promising strategy for broadening brand awareness generally, as well as awareness and interest in specific health-related products.

How do we reach women? According to Nielsen, a leading global information and measurement company that provides data and insights on when and where people connect with content, adult women consume traditional television more than other forms of media. Television advertising is therefore likely to be the most efficient and cost effective way for direct-to-consumer product marketers in the healthcare industry to raise awareness about their brands and products amongst this decision making demographic.

How to Ensure Your Ads Don’t Accidentally Advertise Your Competitor’s Products

While television advertising has historically been one of the best mechanisms for raising brand awareness for DTC products, the call-to-action details of those TV ads can make or break the return on investment (ROI) of that campaign. Once interest in health information is sparked, the vast majority of people go to the Internet to seek more information. Television ads focused on health-related products often effectively garner attention around a major concept, such as a symptom or problem that needs a solution. These ads are sometimes crafted in a way that does not enables consumers to remember the specific product or at least the product’s brand.

The unfortunate consequence is that the subsequent Internet searches by consumers lead them to online information about the major concept they remember but not to the advertised product or brand. These search queries can lead consumers to information that is counterproductive for the direct-to-consumer product marketer who paid for the ad. For instance, by searching relevant medical information, the consumer will undoubtedly stumble upon major competitors of the product that was initially being advertised.

What Should Consumers Take Away from Your Ad? How to Find Your Product

To avoid this problem of promoting education in your space but not of your specific product or brand, it is important to provide memorable information that makes it easy for consumers to find you when they go to search the Internet – or to help them avoid the need for an Internet search altogether because they understand how to contact you directly. Though these goals are not new in healthcare product marketing, the opportunities for achieving them have not been fully tapped.

For instance, following the relevant success enjoyed by product marketers in other industries, healthcare marketers have attempted to personalize their ads with vanity URLs and phone numbers. Research has indeed shown that 90 percent of Americans have used toll-free numbers to reach an organization after viewing their ad. Importantly, compared to only 5 percent of people presented with a non-vanity toll-free number, 72 percent of people can remember vanity toll-free numbers after hearing them.

However, when implementing the vanity URL and phone number strategy, healthcare product marketers often use vanity URLs and phone numbers that are not intuitive, obvious, and easy to remember and thereby miss a key element of what tends to make this strategy successful for selling products. Complex vanity URLs and phone numbers that correspond to difficult-to-pronounce and difficult-to-spell product names or brand names do not provide the opportunity that strategic use of vanity URLs and phone numbers present – namely, the opportunity to make it easier for consumers to understand and remember how to find your product.

Given the computational limits of our brains and the growing amount of stimulation and input we are forced to accommodate, making things as easy and memorable for us as possible is the best way to build brand and product awareness and engagement. There is indeed a reason that stocks with names that are easier to pronounce do better on the stock market. These names are more engaging, garner more trust, and are easier to remember when people want to seek out relevant information.

As other industries become more customer-centric, consumers are coming to expect the same level of service from the healthcare industry, despite healthcare being well behind. By shifting focus from the company’s needs to the consumer’s needs – not just at the health level, but also at the communications level – direct-to-consumer product marketers can increase brand awareness and drive the engagement that leads to loyal consumers and higher volumes of long-term sales.

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