August 1st, 2007

RX: ONLINE

By Richard Tedesco
Promo Magazine

Both consumers and physicians alike research medical treatments online. So it’s of no surprise that a new survey found that drug makers are spending more on the Web than previously.

Nearly half of all pharmaceutical executives responding to the survey say they expect direct-to-consumer spending to grow by as much as 5% this year.

Last year, only 30% of those surveyed predicted an increase in alternative media spending among drug makers.

Cegedim Dendrite, a pharmaceutical marketing services firm, conducted the research among 134 manufacturers, agencies and other vendors.

Nearly two-thirds of responding agency execs report they anticipate more online marketing money from drug makers to shift from TV, print and other traditional advertising media to the Web and other alternatives.

“You can do a whole lot more online than you can on TV with the same money,” says Dominique Hurley, vice president and general manager of relationship marketing operations for Cegedim Dendrite.

“It’s a higher level of dialogue that the brand can have with the physician and the client can have with the brand,” she adds.

Smaller drug companies often don’t have the resources for direct sales contact with doctors. According to Hurley, online marketing can help fill that void.

But the survey cites a “big disconnect” between where marketers say their money should go, and where it’s really going. Spending less on national TV makes sense, admit 58% of the respondents. Yet only 44% indicate an intention to actually spend less on commercials.

Government regulation was cited by 61% as the biggest challenge to DTC marketing. Half of those surveyed shared that view last year.

There’s also less of a concern over a potential consumer backlash when advertising pharmaceutical products. Last year 44% called the issue a major industry challenge, compared with 31% this year.
Pharmaceutical Marketing:

45% spending more on interactive

61% of agency execs seeing boost

58% think less should be spent on TV

Source: Cegedim Dendrite

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