Pharmaceutical and over-the-counter (OTC) marketers face some tricky challenges that are unique to the drug industry. Unlike other industries that include simple products with simple purposes, the drug industry has to contend with highly complex products that potentially have multiple indications, mechanisms, and side effects. While pharma and OTC marketers must strengthen brand awareness and incorporate into their marketing efforts effective calls-to-action that drives sales – just as marketers in other industries do – they also have to communicate complex technical information in a manner that satisfies healthcare providers and regulatory bodies but also motivates consumers. To effectively build awareness and sales, it’s critical to engage the consumer by offering a possible solution to their medical problem, then making it simple to follow up with you. Whether that follow up is a phone call to one of your nurse educators or brand ambassadors or a visit to a website specifically geared towards their condition, these touchpoints ought to be simple and easy to remember. But how can this simplicity be achieved?

Why and How to Use Television Ads for Drug Marketing

Television advertisements offer the opportunity to present simple, actionable information quickly to consumers. The benefit of television is that it allows consumers to seek additional information online after viewing the commercial, as most do.

The unfortunate consequence, though, is that the subsequent searches of misspelled drug names often leads consumers to a page of results that includes information about the advertiser’s direct competitors as well as possibly dangerous and inaccurate information. This makes it difficult for your consumers to find the information about your brand they were seeking in the first place.

To avoid this problem, it is important to provide memorable touchpoint information that makes it easy for your audience to find your drug online, or call you directly. A simple but underutilized tactic is implementing vanity URLs and phone numbers. This approach has been successfully utilized by other industries and is supported by research. A recent study shows that 72 percent of people can remember vanity toll-free numbers after hearing them and 90 percent of Americans have used toll-free numbers to reach an organization after viewing their ad.

Proven success by focusing on customers – along with a key demographic

Given the computational limits of our brains and increasingly distracted lives, making things as easy and memorable for consumers as possible is the best way to build awareness and engagement. This is proven by the stock market – 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 find additional information.

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

To further capitalize on the power of a customer-centric focus, pharma brands should also double down on targeting the most important demographic: women. Women account for 80 percent of the healthcare work force, and as consumers, tend to be the healthcare decision makers – whether as wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, or friends. According to Nielsen,
adult women consume traditional television more than other forms of media. Television ads that infuse more emotion and connect that emotion to solving a medical problem will produce better results that the more popular homogenous “happy, active lifestyle” scene formatted commercials. And by adding simple, relevant, niche phrases into vanity domain names and numbers, that target women, have the opportunity to be a much more efficient and cost effective drug marketing method.

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