Getting off the Couch

Getting Off The Couch When It Comes to Marketing Specialty Drugs

Here’s a newsflash: Your target audience might not be sitting on the couch. People in the pharmacy who are actively seeking solutions and options probably are.

While reaching an expansive audience should be part of any marketer’s goal, I want you to challenge your traditional thinking…perhaps the best way to market directly to consumers isn’t through television ads.

Biologic drug marketers often think that people sitting on their couches are a better audience than people in the pharmacy who are actively seeking solutions and options. We know the television audience can be valuable for marketing, so it can also be valuable for biologic drug marketers too, and we know biologic marketers are smart people that have TV in their plans for a reason. But there are some other options out there I think you should consider. Why not broaden your consumer media landscape?

It’s important not to ignore customers who are open and willing to receive additional information and education about their medical health — those that are in the Mindset Moment® — and that doesn’t often happen when Joe Schmoe is sitting in front of the TV simultaneously eating dinner and scrolling through his Facebook feed.

When and where does it happen?

The pharmacy.

Here’s a quick refresher on the Mindset Moment®:

Consumers are in the moment when going into their local pharmacy for healthcare needs, consulting with a pharmacist about drug options, considering supplements for side effect relief, concerned about enhancing their overall health, etc.

For those suffering from long-term or complicated diseases, the healthcare hub that is the pharmacy is a prime touchpoint opportunity for patients in this Mindset Moment®. Why? It’s a venue that they visit when they’re open to, and often seeking, health-related solutions and education. Messages delivered here reach patients when they are motivated to act.

Consider this: to manage their symptoms, mild to severe, patients with chronic conditions frequently use over-the-counter products either alone or in conjunction with Rx treatments. Delivering targeted marketing materials near OTC brands would give unique access to Rx and OTC databases in a nationwide network of retail pharmacies — which would help you connect with users of these products and arm them with information about your brand.

We wouldn’t expect shoe companies or CPG brands to ignore a main location their target audience visits frequently, so why should pharmaceuticals? Who among us hasn’t tried a new product at the grocery store thanks to an in-store advertisement or coupon? It’s important to get in front of people at the moment they’re looking for solutions, and that means treating in-store educational advertising like the media outlet that it is.

Your best fit comes from pairing target geographic areas with target demographics and the appropriate data to find the optimal market and stores for your placement. Don’t think the target audience for a biopharmaceutical drug exists inside the pharmacy? We beg to differ.

Here are some of the factors applied in identifying and reaching the right audience in the pharmacy

Your Target Audience IS Looking

Specialty brands are usually interested in reaching current patients, but because these patients use Rx medications that are not traditionally picked up at the pharmacy, marketers often write off the pharmacy and can’t see the value of promoting there. This is a big mistake.

People who are on biologic drugs go to the pharmacy all the time for other things. Mom may have RA but her son still needs his contact solution. That working professional with severe asthma? He also suffers from heartburn and heads to the pharmacy every month for OTC antacids. Your next door neighbor with plaque psoriasis picks up her allergy medication at the local pharmacy too. Not to mention that patients with long-term illness often go to the pharmacy even more due to side effects, comorbidities, and a desire for general health resources such as immunizations. The pharmacy is actually an excellent venue to reach them.

Worried in-store marketing only works for certain Rx products? Not true. While a biologic drug does not have an OTC corollary (unlike dry eye/eye drops, where people use certain OTC products as a first line of treatment), many programs for products that have no OTC corollary like diabetes, ADHD, vaccines, etc., all see significant benefit to advertising to their target audience where they shop.

Patients gather information from multiple resources as their needs continue to evolve and their condition unfolds. The pharmacy is a prime touchpoint that patients visit when they are open to learning about new solutions. Patients with chronic diseases often continue to cope with other minor symptoms at the beginning of a new treatment option. Where are they going to go to deal with these side effects? That’s right, the pharmacy.

Reaching Your Target Biopharmaceutical Drug Market

So, you sell a biologic drug and are looking to reach more members in your target market? As you know from marketing 101, messages need to be delivered where they can go most directly to the intended audience…the trusty “right audience, right message, right time” adage. The ultimate goal for biopharmaceutical drug marketers should be to partner with the most suitable entities to fill information voids concurrent with today’s changing healthcare ecosystem. It’s an exciting time in biotherapeutic medicine! The current landscape continues to grow and as of 2017, there were over 200 approved drugs on the market, over 1,500 being evaluated in clinical trials, and many more in the pipeline.

What better time is there to grow and educate your audience on these helpful advancements than in the places they shop the most?

We want to help patients better understand their disease, the treatments available, and the steps needed to maximize their health and wellness. Period.

A combination of right messaging and right placement presented at the right time makes the difference for all Rx brands. The best place to reach people who are looking for chronic health care condition resources is at their first-stop shop — the pharmacy.

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