Saturday, July 3, 2010

Selling the Brand: A Rethink May Be in Order

If industry wants to sell to women and to survive, then industry may want to rethink how it tries to attract them.

A recent Pink Tank survey of 1,300-plus mostly college educated, middle class Boomers showed that these women are a) not enamored with industry advertising practices; b) do not fill out script without consulting friends and/or doing research; and c) more apt to try non-pharmaceutical solutions to health care issues. Oops. Not exactly opinions that expand the bottom line.

Some data from the survey:
18% skipped a recommended treatment or test in the past year
33% used home remedies or OTC medicines instead of visiting a physician in the past year
16% did not fill a script in the past year
75% forward health articles gathered from blogs, medical web sites, and so on, to friends and family, a third on a regular basis
60% are influenced by online product reviews
59% discuss specific brands with their doctors
26% go to a pharmaceutical company web sites for information about a brand
44% investigate a drug before filling a script

And more women are paying attention to the fine print: they want to know all the side effects. 80% of women pay attention to the side effects in TV ads, and 64% read the small print in magazine/newspaper ads if they are interested in the brand, the study said. The women in this survey feel that industry shortchanges them much of the time. 

We need to stop listening to all the advertising agency creative people and respond to the consumer. While the industry may be afraid of some of the unintended consequences from the FDA and others, they are now no longer in control of the “content” they produce. What once may have been considered credible is now not meeting the needs of health care professionals or the consumers. What do you think the long term of this might be?

Industry has a few options here. It can try and get involved in that post-doctor-visit conversation, supplying Web sites and phone numbers to answer questions, especially about side effects. It can do a better job of talking about those side effects in TV ads and elsewhere. The survey dropped names (Boniva, Ambien CR) of those brands that did a decent job of delivering a straightforward message. 

Marketers should consider assuming control of content development and stop letting the legal and regulatory folks in the company decide what is right and wrong. Think of all the problems, stress, and conflict within companies that has caused.

Industry may want to pay attention to this survey. We think this is another example of how the industry is not focusing enough on its customers. Thanks again to Matthew Arnold at Medical Marketing and Media for generating the story that got us thinking.

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