AZ Adds an Electronic Component to Direct Mail

Aug 26, 2008

AstraZeneca on Monday announced early results of its latest integrated ad strategy, designed to tie direct-mail marketing to its online campaign using an innovative new gadget called a Webkey. Until now, the easiest way to integrate direct mail and online advertising was by including a Web URL in the mailer, suggesting that a doctor visit brand.com.

Using digital marketing agencies Digitas Health and Kyp Systems, AZ conceived a plan using a small, dimensional mailer that includes custom art, risk/benefit information, and a USB device that pops out of the side of the mailer, much like a Swiss Army knife.

The key, unlike a traditional USB thumb drive, does not hold any information. When attached to a computer, the device automatically directs the physician to a Digitas-designed Web site. The site includes exclusive information and sample order forms for AZ's prescription migraine drug Zomig (zolmitriptan).

"With Zomig, we were faced with a cluttered marketplace in terms of competition, so we were looking for a way to break through and reach the healthcare professionals in a unique way," said Michael Harpish, director of marketing at Digitas Health.

The Zomig package was sent to 400 targeted physicians in mid-June, and has seen a physician response rate of 11 percent. According to Gartner Research on Forbes.com, traditional direct mail has a response rate of 1-3 percent.

This is the first time Kyp has worked with a prescription pharma brand, and according to AZ, this is the first time company has used this kind of promotion. While a complex mailing like AZ's can cost significantly more than a traditional mail campaign (Kyp wouldn't go into numbers), the return is measured by the double-digit response rate, which can go upwards of 20 percent.

The technology can also be used to create progressive experiences. According to Lou Vastardis, president of US operations for Kyp Systems, the first time the Webkey is used to access the site, it welcomes visitors and offers more information about the technology. With every subsequent use, a personalized message welcomes the user back and new information is generated based on preferences.

"In today's world, it's not enough just to cut through the clutter and get someone's attention," Vastardis said. "It's imperative that the target audience is engaged in a way that they become educated and empowered. Then you can elicit an intended behavior."