Forecasting DTC's Future

Jul 18, 2007

And now, the climate report--the climate for direct-to-consumer advertising, that is. Conditions should be mildly favorable in the coming year, with a lot of focus on electronic communication and patient education. Government regulation will continue to present the industry's cloudiest weather.

The predictions come courtesy of last week's Annual DTC Industry Check Up, a survey conducted each year since 2002 by Cegedim Dendrite. The survey included 134 respondents, from manufacturers, consultants, agencies, and other vendors. DTC's outlook for the coming year, according to respondents:

  • The big challenge to DTC is perceived to be government regulation, which was mentioned by 60 percent of respondents, up from 50 percent last year. Other leading challenges included effective measurement (say 35 percent of respondents), physician backlash (34 percent), declining effectiveness of DTC (32 percent), and consumer backlash (31 percent). Consumer backlash dropped 13 percentage points since last year--pushing it from second place on the list to fifth.
  • There is a bit of a sunny forecast for DTC: Nearly half the respondents expected spending to be up next year--though only about a quarter expected growth to top 5 percent.
  • Use of electronic media is expected to increase next year. Leading the list of areas in which respondents expect more spending are Web sites, search engine marketing, doctors' office programs, e-mail, and pharmacy programs.
  • Health Care Provider (HCP) programs are a big area of focus, with 88 percent of respondents reporting that they use some form of HCP program to augment DTC (compared with 73 percent in 2006). The biggest area is HCP materials distributed by the sales force--a tactic used by 79 percent of respondents.
  • The full white paper is available at www.dendrite.com.