Let’s talk dollars, spending, results, and impact

Pharmaceutical marketers have a unique set of matters to contend with when they create consumer-directed initiatives:  medical-legal boards, OPDP oversight, FDA guidelines, social media constraints, presentation of safety and risk information….and well, you know the story!

Impact Return CycleBut just like their fellow marketers of less-heavily scrutinized products, they want their programs to have an impact.  They want to generate awareness. They want their communications to reach the people (patients and prospective patients) who will have the highest likelihood of interest, so they’ll take the appropriate action.  They want their messages to be meaningful and not ignored.

And ultimately, they want to optimize their return on investment.   

Which brings me to the reasons for this post.  Dollars.  Spending.  Results. Impact.

According to the latest Nielsen data, DTC spending (excluding digital) in pharma was up considerably during 2014, almost 21% higher than the 2013 total.  As usual, TV claimed the largest share of the $4.5 billion – $3.2 billion to be exact, 26% higher than the prior year.

“That’s a lot of money….”

When we at Rx EDGE look at this spending data and see those TV numbers especially, we automatically think:  “That’s a lot of money!”  And then we think – “How is the impact demonstrated?  What methods are used to justify the spending?”  In a highly measurable medium like the pharmacy channel, these types of questions can be readily answered.  Matched-panel research techniques supply a true picture of program results and return.

If we compare the average ROI delivered by our Solutions at the Shelf program to typically-reported ROI from television, the impact that could be realized if even a very small percentage of those TV dollars were shifted to the pharmacy channel is staggering.   Here’s an example of how it would play out, using comparable spending amounts:

Impact on ROI Table

Based on the above model, this brand would have to spend than three times as much on a TV buy in order to generate the same incremental revenue created by a single Rx EDGE pharmacy program.

And now for the “qualitative” side of things….

Of course, marketing efforts contribute value to a brand in ways that go beyond dollars-in and dollars-out.  Television in all its bigness certainly has a place in brand plans when it comes to reaching a sizable audience, generating brand-name recognition, and stimulating awareness about diseases.  As well as creating a certain amount of “buzz” (although most of that buzz is less than positive).

Channel Impact on Consumers

But, let’s face it:  when people are watching a TV show of any kind, most of them want to be entertained on some level.  They are willing to have that entertainment experience interrupted from time to time with advertising, but given the choice, they’d rather just skip it.

Placing information in the pharmacy aisles, on the other hand, gives brands an opportunity to reach people when they are in the Mindset Moment™.  That’s when they are thinking about their healthcare and are motivated to act, which means there is a good probability that they will contemplate and actually absorb the message in some way.    Most importantly, they’re in a healthcare environment, which is more than can be said for the family room sofa.

Pharma marketers work hard to translate their strategic insights into messages that will be understood and embraced.  When they make investments in marketing vehicles, they should 1) feel confident that those messages are being seen by the optimal audience, and 2) be able to validate their spending decisions.