A marketer holding hands with patients, doctors

Brand teams have had huge success with traditional DTC advertising. Slowly but surely, new media channels were adopted, but the fundamentals remained the same: reach as many people as possible with a broad message necessary to drive NRx or TRx.

Enter, stage left, the FDA—imposing strict regulations on adverse event reporting. And thus the challenge of communicating a brand message, coupled with the dangers of severe abdominal cramping, in 30 seconds. Kudos to the creative minds who managed to make this happen. DTC continues to evolve to conform to political, social and technological pressures that question the effectiveness of traditional advertising—regardless of new or old media.

Now enter, stage right, Facebook and the bloggers—this social anomaly robbing us of our free time and workday attention. It asks us to recognize another communications structure.

What's a marketer to do? Go back to basics?

Patients are human and regularly visit physicians. Between visits their lives remain the same: they cook and clean, play bridge on Tuesday nights, worship on the weekends.

This is why we believe in reaching patients where they are most comfortable—in their community. It may seem costly, but the measurement metrics are hard and positive. There's no fuzzy math when determining outcome as there can be with other tactics.

Grassroots patient mobilization education programs yield data wearing a Teflon vest. Nobody can argue the number of attendees, their compliance and the change in their doctor's prescribing habits. That change comes when a brand invests in the health and wellness of its patients. After a decade of producing and executing local programs, we've held hands with America and our clients have realized the social and economic benefits of personal outreach.

We believe with budget pressure on traditional DTC, the current political climate, and the chance of negative patient and consumer group response to some national advertising, a scalable ROI-based national grassroots model is a patient-centered, positive-ROI choice for generating new prescriptions, compliance and persistency and non-clinical differentiation.

Seth Ginsberg is co-founder and president at TGI Healthworks
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