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BY ROBIN ROBINSON
It’s not an emerging trend, because it has been in practice for years. It’s not exactly a growing trend, because although there has been more uptake, it is still “underutilized” as a marketing medium. However, pharma companies that use DTC programs at the pharmacy level have found this to be an effective strategy to increase patient compliance and lift ROI numbers. So why isn’t everyone piling on the bandwagon? That’s a good question, our experts say. “The scarcity of these programs has more to do with a lack of experience than it does with the viability of the channel,” says Mark Klapper, VP, strategic planning, MicroMass Communications. “Budgets are limited and the comfort level isn’t the same as it would be for a tactic that has proven to be effective for the brand or the category. Having someone on the brand team who is willing to champion a pharmacy program because he or she has used it before or believes in its potential makes all the difference in the world. Inmarket pilot programs are a good way to gain experience with a new tactic without committing a significant amount of money.” Shelagh Brooke, executive VP and chief strategic officer at EvoLogue, part of CommonHealth, agrees, but cautions that any activity needs to prove itself against ROI and it’s difficult to pilot and test programs in a way that gives the clear evidence necessary to expand on a larger scale. “Investing in pilot programs and developing internal case studies will help brand teams in developing differentiated, scalable programs that contribute to the business,” she says. According to Lloyd Sheep, chief strategist at HC&B Healthcare, another reason for the slower uptake is that the retail space is another world to pharma companies. “Compared with other marketing communication venues, DTC pharmacy programs require a great deal of coordination and resource allocation, and they offer marketers less direct control,” he says. “Large pharmacy chains and groups of small independent pharmacies have separate rules, fees, and requirements, and few, if any, vendors exist that can provide coordinated access to all of them.” Still, there are several market factors — among them Medicare Part D and increased scrutiny of traditional DTC advertising — that could increase the use of DTC pharmacy initiatives going for ward. Also, today’s technology allows for a consumer touch point at the pharmacy, and data capture capabilities can be used for specific targeting, while taking into account HIPAA and privacy regular REACHING PATIENTS in the PHARMACY ALTHOUGH CURRENTLY ONLY A SMALL PART OF THE OVERALL MARKETING MIX, CONNECTING WITH THE CONSUMER — AND THE PHARMACIST — AT THE PHARMACY LEVEL CAN HAVE A HUGE IMPACT ON IMPROVING COMPLIANCE,AWARENESS,AND ROI. Consumer Success Prescription for I SELFMEDICATION IS ONEOFMANY FACTORS DRIVINGTHE OTC DRUGMARKET PAST $80 BILLION BY 2012. KALORAMA RESEARCH And the increasing shift in the role of pharmacists — from dispensers to healthcare service providers — provides an opportunity for the pharma company to design programs that involve them in the continuum. Another factor is the growing need for pharma compa nies to cut through the clutter and reach the consumer at a targeted level. And last, but certainly not least, results show that DTC at the pharmacy level works. Results have shown that when programs are tracked and ROI has been monitored, the out comes can be high, according to Gary Norman, executive VP and general manager, RxEdge. “For every dollar spent in a DTC pharmacy program, there is a $7 return on the investment,” he says. “Program results show an aver age lift of 9.8% across 40 different categories in a sixweek program, based on about 300 research studies.” The pharmacy is the perfect place to reach the consumer, because he or she is thinking about medications and health problems and look ing for solutions right then and there. Having a healthcare professional on hand when every message is delivered also increases the value and credibility of the information. If a consumer has questions, he or she can discuss these with the pharmacist before leaving the store. “The beauty of advertising inside the pharmacy is that the pharmacist — a healthcare professional — is right there in the store,” Mr. Norman says. Directtopatient marketing in this space has the additional benefit of being supported by the pharmacy, says Bob Mernar, brand patient messaging VP, Ateb. “Pharmacists are a highly regarded com munity of health resources,” he says. “Infor mation received in this channel is associated with a trusted profession and is wellreceived. The pharmacy as a focus of outreach is becom ing a more prominent marketing layer.” Mr. Mernar, who is also a pharmacist, tells PharmaVOICE that the programs that are most effective are moving from strictly tradi tional DTC mechanisms to more integrated programs that include multiple touchpoint vehicles, such as IVR, the Internet, and wire less communications via cell phones. “DTC has historically been a sort of shot gun approach, and now we are looking at effective programs that are still classified as DTC but that are more defined and targeted to reach the patient,” he says. “In my experi ence, there is a still reliance on the older mass media tactics and the industry is slow to embrace or integrate some of the newer direct to patient models,” he says. Providing information at the pharmacy has benefits similar to those gained by providing info at the point of care. The patient is think ing about his or her health and looking for a way to make it better. “Presumably if the consumer is at the drug store, he or she may be thinking about health matters, and being able to provide them with objective information at this time is the Holy Grail,” Mr. Sheep says. TARGETING patient by patient In addition to a hardy ROI, being able to deliver individual messages to the target PHARMACY success SHELAGHBROOKE, EvoLogue CONNECTING WITH CONSUMERS IN THE PHARMACY ENVIRONMENT WILL BECOME INCREASINGLY CRITICAL TO THE SUCCESS OF BRANDS. JOE MEADOWS, Catalina Health Resource MESSAGES ARE BEING CREATED AND DELIVERED BASED ON FACTORS THAT MAKE THOSE MESSAGES RELEVANT TO THE INDIVIDUAL CONSUMER OR PATIENT IN THE MOST FREQUENT HEALTHCARE TOUCH POINT: THE PHARMACY. MARKKLAPPER, MicroMass Communications THE MESSAGE SHOULD GET PEOPLE TO STOP AND RECONSIDER WHAT THEY ARE DOING. IN OTHER WORDS, IT SHOULD GIVE THEM INFORMATION THEY NEED TO FIND A BETTER SOLUTION TO THEIR PROBLEM. 23 PharmaVOICE J un e 200 8 PV0608 Layout FINAL2 5/20/08 12:45 AM Page 23 PHARMACY success patient at almost a oneonone level is one of the biggest advantages of directtopatient messaging. “Pharma companies can target and commu nicate with their selected audiences based on a patient’s actual prescription and healthcare product use, while preserving that patient’s pri vacy,” says Joe Meadows, VP, marketing and creative services, at Catalina Health Resource. “The great thing about this type of messaging is that companies can talk to only those that they want to reach, or that would find the mes sage most useful. With more and more compa nies developing specialty products, the audi ences for these types of products can be very small, and using a massmedia vehicle like tele vision would be expensive and often wasteful. “Making sure that the message relates to the patient on a very personal level and that it is relevant to that patient’s needs will help establish a onetoone communication rela tionship with the patient,” he adds. Many marketers are not aware of the avail able scale of this type of marketing. Mr. Mead ows says more than 35% of retail prescriptions can be targeted through Catalina’s network. “We reach more than 110 million patients within a single year, all through a single touch point,” he says. “It’s not one message going out to everyone at once; it’s thousands and thou sands of conversations every day. Messages are being created and delivered based on factors that make those messages relevant to the indi vidual consumer or patient in the most frequent healthcare touch point: the pharmacy. This adds up to huge numbers: 1.3 billion messages this year alone, just in our network.” Pharmacy BENEFITS One of the major benefits to DTC phar macy programs is that the oneonone market ing can be further tailored to follow the patient through therapy, which allows mar 24 J un e 2 008 PharmaVOICE 5Strategies for DTC Marketing Success in the Retail Pharmacy Strategy 1Establish communication priorities and brand marketing goals. Virtually every critical brand goal — acquisition, adherence,education,awareness,pharmacist communi cation, adjunctive therapy messaging — can be addressed in the retail pharmacy environment. It is impor tant to not only consider the overall objectives,but also the product’s lifecycle phase. Instore programs can be strategically deployed at every phase of a product life cycle, helping a brand reach its full potential. Strategy 2 Define your target. Programs delivered at the shelf are typically targeted based on the association with a related product.For some prescription products, there are clearly corresponding items. Some are obvious, for example,placing a GERD prescription product promotion in the antacid aisle. For products that do not have a clear corollary on the shelf, consider the closest corresponding products that align with your target or demographic. Psoriasis sufferers, for example, may first reach for a medicated skin cream. Another consideration is the level of traffic in a given aisle or section. Many products have had success with placing information dispensers in hightraffic sections such as aspirin/pain relief and cold/cough. Four signature categories drive drug store traffic: prescription, beauty care, OTC, and photo processing. These four categories drive 55% of all drug store trips and account for more than 80% of purchases on those buying trips. Strategy 3 Think of the store list selection as a media decision. The ability to target geographically is a key benefit of retail pharmacydelivered DTC programs, and the store list is a critical ingredient. Think of it as a media planning and buying process. It means developing a retailer lineup that will ensure that your message reaches target consumers when and where it will be most relevant to them. Store lists can be derived from a simple list of zip codes — or can be created by using a combination of factors. Store lists are analyzed and crossmatched against key data points to determine the “mix” that will deliver optimal coverage. Strategy 4 Creative is key — design the instore program in view of functionality, message appropriateness,and integration with other marketing elements. As with other marketing communication vehicles,creative design plays a significant role in the success of an instore program.Functionality: Consider the section of the store where the promotion will be displayed. Message appropriateness:Tailor messages to the needs of your target,and communicate according to those needs. Integration with advertising messages: incorporate key messages from other media forms that con sumers are seeing. Strategy 5 Track and measure — put a measurement plan in place to help you refine future plans and validate your decisions. Through the use of a matchedpanel research methodology,results of instore DTCmarketing can be reli ably measured. Source:RxEdge,Hoffman Estates, Ill. For more information, visit rxedge.com. GARYNORMAN, RxEdge THE BEAUTY OF ADVERTISING INSIDE THE PHARMACY IS THAT THE PHARMACIST — A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL — IS THERE RIGHT IN THE STORE. PV0608 Layout FINAL2 5/20/08 12:45 AM Page 24 PHARMACY success keters to adjust the message to fit the needs of the patient along the treatment continuum. For example, if patients have started a med ication to control their diabetes, the first mes sage they may receive would be a “welcome to therapy,” message, one that rewards patients for starting on therapy and filling that first pre scription either with a voucher or network of support. If patients obtain the second refill pre scription on time, the message may congratu late them on their commitment and give them more information that will encourage them to stay compliant. If, however, the second refill is late, the message would instead caution them about the need to take every dose and take it on time. Based on what happens between the sec ond and third refill, the message will change appropriately. If patients show signs of not fol lowing therapy, then the pharmacist can talk to them about the importance of the medication or encourage them to speak to the doctor about other alternatives or ways they can better stay on therapy. “We are witnessing a lot of continuum messages being developed based on what patients are likely to be facing in their therapy at a given point along the way,” Mr. Meadows says. “For chronic diseases such as asthma, compliance must be established as a habit early on, so by providing these tools, patients come to understand the therapy and why stay ing on it is important.” Pharma marketers have a tendency to want to stay on message once they have a DTC advertisement that has been approved, says MicroMass’s Mr. Klapper, but simply repur posing that message at the pharmacy level can be a big mistake. Using the same advertising message — for example, one that says this product is safe, effective, and convenient — in the pharmacy channel is fine, but it doesn’t take advantage of the opportunity to connect with the patient at an important moment of truth, he says. “Marketers should be using behavioral sci ence to dig deeper into consumers’ psyche and guide them in developing a message that speaks to their needs and motivates them to act,” Mr. Klapper says. “For example, within a given group of patients there may be someone who is very highly motivated and wants to know about the product and why it’s a better option than others available. These patients should get a message about the product and how it differs from others. Another patient — one who has a disease that has been a problem in the family for generations — may need more emotional support. Other patients may just want the facts so they can have a conver sation with their doctor. The message needs to Oncology Marketing Strategies TM Western Europe (DE, ES, FR, IT, UK) 5 Strategies for DTC Marketing Success in the Retail Pharmacy Experts on this Topic Shelagh Brooke. Executive VP, Chief Strategic Officer, EvoLogue, part of CommonHealth, Parsippany, N.J.; CommonHealth is a network of specialized healthcare marketing companies, all aligned to build brands. For more information, visit commonhealth.com. Bill Drummy. Founder and CEO, Heartbeat Digital, New York; Heartbeat Digital is an interactive marketing and software company specializing in sales and marketing solutions for the pharmaceutical, consumer products, and financial services industries. For more information, visit heartbeatdigital.com. Mark Klapper. VP, Strategic Planning, MicroMass Communications Inc., Cary, N.C.; MicroMass Communications is a relationship marketing agency providing behavioral-based communication strategies and programs. For more information, visit micromass.com. Joe Meadows. VP, Marketing and Creative Services, Catalina Health Resource, Blue Bell, Pa.; Catalina Health Resource connects healthcare companies with patients and consumers by delivering useful, relevant information in trusted environments that preserve patient privacy. For more information, visit catalinahealthresource.com. Bob Mernar. Brand Patient Messaging VP, Ateb, Raleigh, N.C.; Ateb offers a comprehensive suite of workflow improvement technologies, customer-relationship management, and point-of-sale applications for chain pharmacies, hospitals, and pharmaceutical marketers. For more information, visit ateb.com. Gary Norman. Executive VP and General Manager, RxEdge, Hoffman Estates, Ill.; Rx Edge is a business unit of LeveragePoint Media, which provides a broad array of retail marketing solutions. For more information, visit rx-edge.com. Lloyd Sheep. Chief Strategist, HC&B Healthcare, Austin, Texas; HC&B is an independent, full-service healthcare advertising agency. For more information, visit hcbhealth.com.