Donna Wray, TGAS ADVISORS

June 3, 2009

Pharmaceutical Executive

Pharmaceutical Executive, Pharmaceutical Executive-06-03-2009, Volume 0, Issue 0

In other industries, online marketing is used to cycle through options quickly and dynamically to reach an optimal solution.

Donna Wray

MANAGEMENT ADVISOR, LEADER OF INTERNET AND RELATIONSHIP MARKETING PRACTICE | TGAS ADVISORS

In other industries, online marketing is used to cycle through options quickly and dynamically to reach an optimal solution and stay there over time and through changing market conditions. A/B testing, where two versions of an ad are compared, has changed to ABCDE, etc., testing online, since it is easy to quickly change copy or creative and see how targets' actions change. Pharma is certainly more limited in being able to change and then launch copy quickly, but it could do more of this by getting several simple alternatives approved in place of one.

Donna Wray

I observed a focus group where the person being interviewed was 30 years old, out of work, and not taking his blood pressure medication because he felt guilty using that money on himself instead of his family. I felt terrible. I wanted to shout at him, "What will happen if you need a new kidney because you haven't taken your medication? What will that cost your family!" Pharma marketers are prohibited from such extreme statements, but people need to understand that the risks and costs of not being treated are far greater for many conditions, even if they are asymptomatic.

It's clear that paid search investment and leads will drop dramatically across the industry. Other online promotion can use that budget, although not as efficiently. Nonetheless, increasing display advertising is likely to be important in order to compensate for the lack of voice of pharma brands to reach people looking for treatment information online.

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