Direct to Consumer: Women are a powerful, but untapped, audience - Pharmaceutical Executive


Direct to Consumer: Women are a powerful, but untapped, audience

Pharmaceutical Executive

When it debuted two years ago, began attracting women with a fresh take on health issues. It provides a free exchange of information, expert knowledge, and a grassroots movement that has grown as more women sign on to learn about their health and communicate with other like-minded women. More than 10,000 women have joined this online community, which links visitors to health experts in different fields, including fitness and nutrition, infertility/fertility, breast health, menopause, and cancer. This interactive site engages women through chat rooms, message boards, blogs, and webcasts related to specific health topics.

Rather than provide comprehensive information on every topic of interest, the experts give women only the most relevant information. The site also encourages women to sign up as health champions and become advocates in their own communities. Every month a new champion's story and photograph are featured on the site's home page.


Women's magazines that address health also represent a great vehicle to reach women. For example, O, The Oprah Magazine, published the editorial series "Here's to Your Health." The magazine turned to a network of evidence-based health experts and engaged them in developing the series, which featured health experts' guidance on reaching a healthier place through baby steps — from nutrition to heart health to emotional health. The series generated thousands of e-mails from women asking questions and seeking additional guidance. In addition, other major magazines and newspapers routinely feature health and wellness content in response to their readers' interest. Health magazine, for example, has expanded its reach by offering live events to bring communities of women together. In March, it will hold a half-day conference to honor "Me Time," a day that encourages women to put themselves first.

Marketing to women makes sense for many reasons. Not only do women make health decisions for others, but they also actively seek new health information for themselves. By supporting independent health-education initiatives, pharmaceutical marketers can create a more educated consumer who is better prepared to assume healthcare responsibilities for themselves and others.

Elizabeth A. Browning, Founder & CEO, Lluminari Inc. She can be reached at


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