Three Wise Dames

Marketing in the Life Science Industry

Is it time yet? January 22, 2010

Filed under: DTC,Lisa — Lisa Pohmajevich @ 6:28 pm
Tags: , , ,

Lately, I’m often asked this question, “When is it time to do DTC advertising?” Usually the question is followed by statements like these:

Our sales people keep asking for it.

Customers are calling and want to know why we haven’t yet advertised like company X.

The Board suggested we consider the impact of DTC advertising.

Occasionally there is also the admission that nothing else has really worked to skyrocket sales. Beneath the timing question, is always the implicit assumption that DTC marketing will most certainly result in increased sales.

Over the years, I have been involved in a number of medical device DTC advertising campaigns, delivered in a variety of form and magnitude.  Every campaign resulted in successful and interesting outcomes – much of an unexpected nature. Some were successful in terms of revenue returns, and others successful in highly valuable learning that served to refine and optimize the follow-on campaigns. Some of the outcomes were just plain interesting – human behavior type interesting – a blog topic for another day.

Having experienced successes with DTC campaigns, I am a firm believer that they can be very useful in the life science – medical device industry; they can help to drive product demand and increase revenue. Before my campaign successes, came the campaign trials. From these, I learned a few things about timing. Before deciding if the time is right for a DTC campaign, there are two key questions to answer.

  • First, is the product/procedure ready for a DTC campaign?
  • And second, but equally important, are you ready for a DTC campaign?

Because you are reading this, it’s quite possible that you are considering a DTC campaign. To assess if your product/procedure is ready for a DTC campaign, I’ve honed in on six key criteria that should be affirmative.

1. The product/procedure is now widely available through providers.

2. The consumer can access your product/procedure by making a specific request to his/her provider.

3. The product/procedure is affordable or covered in reimbursed medical expenses through a majority of insurance plans.

4. There is a body of published medical and scientific literature that contains significant effectiveness and safety data.

5. There is an abundance of positive chatter about your product/procedure.

6. The provider community understands the product/procedure can confidently converse with patients about it.

Of course, this is only an initial list of considerations for use when deciding whether a DTC campaign will be productive for your medical device/procedure – but it’s a great place to start. Feel free to add others in your comments.

In closing, just as you might expect, in-depth assessment before you decide to move ahead with a DTC campaign will be well worth the time investment. In the future I’ll tackle the issue of how you know you are prepared to launch a campaign.

Comments welcome.

(c) 2010 pH Consulting


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4 Responses to “Is it time yet?”

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  2. […] The first question posed about DTC/DTP readiness: “Does the staff know understand the patient … […]

  3. […] is told, “just put ads on TV and sales will take off like a rocket.” When considering Lisa’s 6 Criteria for DTC campaign readiness, points 1, 2, and 6 rely heavily on the health care professional trained to perform a branded […]


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