As illustrated by the latest data provided by Nielsen, the pharmaceutical industry’s expenditures on Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) advertising via measured media jumped by close to 10% last year when compared to 2012. And the upward trend is expected by many analysts to continue throughout 2014.
According to Cheryl Policastro, Director of Shopper Marketing and Insights at Novartis Consumer Health, pharmaceutical ad spending is on the comeback trail.
“In terms of digital advertising,” Policastro told eMarketer last week, “targeting is very attractive. Some of what we do with OTC could be linking digital efforts through shopper cart data, targeting specific demographics or even geotargeting.”
“We do have to be careful, however,” Policastro is quick to add. “We want to respect consumers’ privacy [without seeming to overtly pitch product]. There are also some restrictions and the HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] laws, so ultimately we want to make sure we’re serving helpful information.”
In particular, the report notes, concerns related to user privacy in direct ad targeting is more of a concern when it comes to marketing prescription drugs, as opposed to over the counter meds that are readily available to all.
“Certainly being on OTC we have the advantage of less regulation, [although the downside is that we tend to have smaller budgets],” Policastro explains. “Some of the Rx brands have done a phenomenal job leveraging digital to support patients—for example, with apps to help drive compliance. This is especially true for drugs that are delivered by injection regularly, which means the patient has to rotate injection sites.”
To read all of Policastro’s comments in the new eMarketer report, click here.