Merck takes e-focused approach to marketing

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Merck is embracing its approach to scale back DTC television advertising for new drugs in favor of a more targeted, e-focused approach.

Merck's president of global human health, Peter Loescher, said changes in viewer habits and awareness of a more cost-effective use of resources have made the new approach necessary.
Loescher said Merck has begun experimenting with different channels of marketing to better know its target audiences and how its messages work.

“We tried to target specific populations—to be far more targeted and far more diverse,” he said in published reports.

Merck has expanded its e-marketing efforts with the introduction of a video detailing service.
“We have created a state-of-the-art video service for physicians who want to communicate with us in this way. There is (already) very good segmentation under way.” Loescher told investors during a recent meeting at Merck headquarters.

Merck's video detailing efforts aim to serve as a cost-effective way to interact with large physician offices, rather than through large sales forces, Loescher said.

“We have scaled this up to 50,000 physician offices. These physicians want to communicate with us, so this is a critical moment,” he said.

Loescher reported that video detailing had increased the quality of average physician interactions. Merck began pilot testing the new video detailing model in 2006 with the launches of Gardasil and Januvia.

He said Merck does not plan to increase its sales force, despite the launches of Gardasil and Januvia.

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