The debate surrounding the strategic and economic value of having an online DTC strategy rings loud and clear at most global pharmaceutical companies today. Typical questions include "Should we invest more in the product Web site?" "Do we need an unbranded disease portal?" "Do we even need an online marketing strategy?" Although key criteria such as the product life cycle stage, competitive landscape, and therapeutic category must always be taken into account when answering these questions, there is generally a real need for an online marketing strategy that supports and optimizes the overall product strategy. In general, the key questions are where and how the online strategy creates disproportionate and sustainable value for the brand.
We have firsthand experience with our clients, and
years of data documenting the evolution of the online consumer, proving
how the Web is a powerful component to an overall DTC marketing strategy
and how it can enable a brand team to achieve new heights with respect to
customer reach, ROI and total Rx sales. If properly leveraged and
integrated into the overall strategy, the value is clear -- it has the
potential to be a facilitator and a motivator for patients who are already
seeking additional information. Although the role of using the Web for
primary awareness of the product and therapeutic category is very
important, we will focus on the power of the product Web site as a
conversion tool in this article and illustrate how the Web strategy fits
into the overall marketing continuum -- from initial engagement all the way
to loyalty marketing.