Will traditional media get a boost?

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The AMA is the latest association to call for an increasingly limited financial relationship with pharma. With less opportunity for sponsorships, will journal advertising and other professional media see a much-needed lift?

Bonnie Southcott,
Interactive producer,

I expect that money once spent on sponsorships will likely be directed toward new media initiatives, rather than print. The undeniable march toward contextual, online and mobile marketing, where messages are delivered to individuals based on their specific and personal interests, is an increasingly important part of successful campaigns. The nature of journal advertising doesn't allow for that. Contextual, online messages will also have an interactive element that engages physicians by offering utility, education or insight.Today's connected physician is busy blogging, networking online and checking facts on his smart phone. Marketing companies providing that content, and guiding pharma where to place that content in the new media ecosystem, are the ones that will win tomorrow's business.

Larry Lannino,
Managing partner,
Sudler & Hennessey

The short answer is no. While the medium-term effects of limiting financial support may alter the way we conduct business, increasing journal/media spend will not be the result. Much of the money saved here may not even find a way back into promotional efforts, particularly in tough economic times. Additionally, the promotional mix itself continues to evolve and be enhanced by new tools or methods of communication. Greater need for online advertising; enhanced direct to patient programs; even the integration of social media tools will supplement and possibly replace older, traditional forms of communication. In our industry, newer communication tools will have a greater impact on traditional media spend more than the AMA ruling. 

Devin S. Paullin,  
EVP, new bus. dev., product dev., 
Physicians Interactive 

PhRMA code changes are shifting professional marketing spend to digital sales and marketing solutions. Proactive pharma organizations are changing the promotion paradigm, leveraging internal assets as the basis for online campaigns that create a personalized customer service relationship with clinicians. Digital sales and marketing “optimized” brands are giving physicians convenient access to services like eSampling, patient education materials, vouchers and coupons via integrated online and mobile resource centers. Pre-campaign data modeling helps identify and create new relationships and revenue from clinicians not previously serviced by the traditional sales force. Brands and agency partners who engage this model are seeing significant ROI and behavior change. 

Keith Yocum,
Dir. of online advertising, 
New England Journal of Medicine

There are numerous forces at play in the direct-to-professional pharma marketplace these days and it's nearly impossible to predict how they will affect journal advertising. The physician community is in the process of redefining its relationship with the industry and will continue to do so until it is has assumed the appropriate distance. Journal advertising has long been a successful vehicle for marketers to reach a target audience and is driven by factors like ROI, share of voice and CPM. While it's difficult to estimate how pharma marketers will respond to new constraints, the fact remains that journals and their websites consistently deliver results and will continue to be a part of the media mix.
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