Direct Marketing in the next 40 years...

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As the mass marketing approach has become considered increasingly less effective, CRM and direct-to-patient initiatives are being thrust to the forefront of pharma marketers' efforts.

“There is an overall decline in effectiveness of DTC in light of a plethora of alternative media channels,” says Wunderman COO Becky Chidester. “This is forcing marketers to rethink channel strategies. Relationship marketing, including the Web and new digital channels, is the beneficiary of this change.”

Harte-Hanks' SVP, pharmaceutical markets, Julian Parreño adds, “All of these things make media planning more challenging than ever.”

According to Parreño, the direct marketing medium will continue to grow in prominence due to the database technology available and the importance of customer loyalty and lifetime value to the bottom line.

New technology has tremendous implications for the patient/physician relationship that direct marketers hope to achieve, says Lynn Benzing, president of Patient Marketing Group.  “Consumers are now able to access a vast array of condition-specific information on the Web, leading to increasing patient sophistication. This, coupled with DTC advertising, has led to a scenario where patients are more likely to ask complex questions, and request specific treatment options.”

Consumers are now more savvy and demanding as healthcare customers. 

Benzing says, “The power of the Internet to serve up personalized and relevant information at a fraction of the cost of other communication media has revolutionized the ability of pharmaceutical manufacturers to offer highly interactive health education information online, which leads to being a successful marketer in the future.”

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