Pharma marketers embrace online media: survey

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Pharma companies are increasingly relying on the Internet and alternative media to promote products to doctors and patients, results of a new survey show.

Although overall DTC ad spending by pharma companies is expected to grow this year, it will do so at a slower clip, according to the results of Cegedim Dendrite’s annual DTC Industry Check Up survey. The survey polled 134 companies comprised of pharmaceutical companies, ad agencies, consulting firms and vendors. 

Nearly half of the survey’s respondents said they expect DTC spending to increase this year. But only a quarter of those respondents said they expect DTC spending to increase more than 5%.

Instead, respondents said DTC marketers will generate the greatest promotional spending increases in areas such as Web sites, search engine marketing, and e-mail, while decreasing investments in traditional advertising areas such as national TV advertising, spot TV, radio and direct mail.

“We are becoming more sophisticated as an industry and our understanding and use of marketing is becoming more sophisticated,” Cegedim Dendrite VP and general manager of relationship marketing operations Dominque Hurley told MM&M. “As a result, where the industry would have once traditionally used sales force, with some collateral support in the detail bag to reach the doctor and national and broadcast and print to reach the consumer, the availability of online tactics has broadly expanded marketing.”

Meanwhile, the biggest perceived challenge for pharma marketing continues to be government regulations, 61% of the survey’s respondents said.

“The industry has already responded to this by taking a very close look at how to improve public perception and taking better care of its patient base,” Hurley said.

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