Growth in devices, online video to drive media this year, buyers say

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MM&M asked three media-planning experts what 2013 holds in store. Their edited responses follow.


Deborah Dick-Rath,
president, Epic Proportions

What changes will we see in pharma use of media channels (mobile, social, digital, print, broadcast)?

DDR: I see movement in three different areas. In terms of marketing, we're going to see a lot more marketing advances in devices and diagnostics as a lot more start to come to the forefront, with successes like those from Stryker, Novo Nordisk, Allergan, etc. They will continue to experiment with various media aimed at both consumers and HCPs.

A second area where we will see more acceleration, in terms of media, will be in the use of online video. Just as the cost of TV buys will continue to drive expansion of online video, so too, will more companies launch websites with curated content, content focused not just on disease but on lifestyle and things like travel, too. Exciting online video will be a part of that expansion.

Finally, in terms of medical, we're going to see the increased focus on obesity and diabetes treatments continue, because of the fact that these issues are such a focus for the Obama Administration and one of the biggest concerns to global health.

In addition, the two new obesity drugs out now—Vivus' Qsymia and Arena's Belviq—may now be struggling, but I think there is going to be a real clamor [from the patient community, for payers and physicians] to get on-board with those drugs. The drugs have been constrained by FDA but will be getting more of a sophisticated marketing push in the new year—and hopefully will gain some traction.

What other changes in audience viewing habits will we see this year that might affect media investment?

DDR: The trend of patients avoiding the doctor's office will translate into greater use of online physician consultations. A recent research brief from—based on a survey of 1,000 adults by the online advice service—noted that 54% of respondents have lied to a doctor about a health issue, and 41% feel more comfortable asking questions about sex-related issues online than addressing them with their physicians. So online doctor consultations, like those available through services and apps like, are poised for much greater use in the next few months. This is supported by the general trend toward more online, less in-person consultations that we see. There are also sites for veterinarian consultations.

What about on the measurement front?

DDR: Expect availability of more sophisticated media analytics tools. We read so much about how Big Data is expected to change things, but it's already available and accessible. Right now, you can have a dashboard right on your screen showing what's working and what's not. You can look across platforms at your media plan to see what's driving sales. While there is a glut of analytics, we still need to see, in the future, more people at the client who are skilled enough to utilize this data. It's one thing to say, “I have the data.” But to use it and make decisions with it, that's another, and we need to see it happen faster than before. All the data is out in the open and can integrate across channels. So we need better internal resources to deal with this onslaught of media data. Sometimes Data just talks to Data, but to use it to make better marketing decisions is what we need to be doing.

Dr. Susan Dorfman,
chief marketing/innovation officer, CMI/Compas

What changes will we see in pharma use of media channels (mobile, social, digital, print, broadcast)?

SD: As more and more brand teams start putting their customers' needs in line with (and some ahead of) their own, we will see a non-personal engagement strategy and media-mix that will be customer centric—meaning being where their customers are and using the optimal mix of channels that are best suited for the message and more importantly each customer's preferences and needs  (for both the message and the channel mix).

Will we see greater investment in digital channels this year?

SD: As face-to-face access to customers continues to challenge us and as more and more customers start raising their hand in favor of non-personal engagement, investments in multiple channels of reach will continue to rise. Surely, digital will be one of those channels to grow, but not the only. Traditional and other innovative ways of connecting with customers will also increase in importance for these customers, as will the spend that will follow.

Richard Gagnon,
EVP, chief media officer, Draftfcb

What changes will we see in pharma use of media channels (mobile, social, digital, print, broadcast)?

RG: We believe all brands, including the pharma category, are recognizing that we have entered a new era of connectedness. Marketing is increasingly real-time and digital channels represent tremendous opportunity to forge deeper and more meaningful relationships with consumers. In the pharma category, we should see continued expansion in digital channels, including mobile, video and search. Social will be explored but clearly privacy issues are still front and center to the evaluation process. Other more established channels including print, in-office, TV will continue to be part of mix but with more digital options each pharma marketer will need to establish priorities relative to business and engagement goals.

Will we see greater investment in digital channels this year?

RG: Yes, we should continue to see the largest media-allocation shifts be in digital channels. Perhaps the greatest percent increase will be in mobile, although against a much smaller investment base. More clients are looking to optimize mobile experiences, requiring tailored mobile sites.

What about on the measurement front?

RG: The push toward greater accountable and certainty of determining which channels are most effective continues to be a top priority for all marketers. With more data-assessment tools, we have ability to understand ROI with greater precision. That being said, "channel attribution" will be a key topic in 2013 to better quantify the interplay across channels in driving consumer value and marketing effectiveness.
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