Poor copy and ill-advised budgets cost DTC marketers millions

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The two most common—and costly—mistakes in executing DTC campaigns are using poor-quality copy and setting inappropriate budgets, according to David Kweskin, SVP and practice area leader, advertising and brand performance for TNS, who also slammed the commercial wisdom of disease-awareness ads. Kweskin, who addressed 500 delegates at the Pharmaceutical Marketing Research Group's annual national conference in Las Vegas yesterday, demonstrated a model for a drug that would require $50 million in DTC spend to achieve 40% awareness using ads with “average-quality” copy. Based on TNS research, a 20% “improvement” in the copy quality would require $15 million less to achieve 40% awareness. However, a 50% “reduction” in copy quality would require $35 million in additional spending. “Good copy is worth millions,” he said. Kweskin also stressed the necessity for proper analysis to avoid costly mistakes with setting DTC budgets, demonstrating how the competing criteria on which budgets can be based—such as revenue, profit, ROI and incremental ROI—can produce wildly different levels of suggested DTC spending. Kweskin also suggested that launching a disease-awareness effort before a branded campaign does not make good commercial sense. “From a measurement perspective,” he said, “it is a mistake.”
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