DTC Grows Up - Pharmaceutical Executive


DTC Grows Up

Guide to Branding

Figure 3
A comparison of APLD from before and after exposure to advertising (or between test and control groups) can demonstrate whether a campaign is performing as intended—that is, reaching the right groups of patients, conveying the right message, and capturing the expected share of the dynamic market. Such studies can be used to assess the effectiveness of newer patient-directed programs in addition to more traditional channels.

A DTC strategy should be designed to encourage product trial, adoption, and long-term compliance and persistence. IMS evaluated DTC effectiveness according to its impact across these three stages of patient behavior. An analysis across multiple brands shows TV and print were effective in raising awareness and promoting product trial, driving 60 percent of the new patients trying a new brand (see figure 3).

DTC: The Next Five Years
Meanwhile, detailing and the associated product messaging drove adherence and compliance. The contributions differed across brands and therapy areas; DTC contributes much more in consumer-driven markets (e.g., insomnia) than in critical-need markets (e.g., oncology).

While new legislation could bring additional challenges, advertisers have never been in a better position to make their strategies work. They have the benefit of 10 years of experience in reaching out to consumers and now also have a new means of measuring the direct impact they're having on patient behavior.

Tim Kelly is the promotion management practice leader at IMS Health Management Consulting. Reach him at


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