SOURCE: Cutting Edge Information

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April 05, 2017 10:14 ET

How Pharma Companies Use Digital Marketing and Direct-to-Consumer Advertising During Phase 3

Pharmaceutical companies expand marketing mixes from traditional practices to incorporate digital and social media marketing and direct-to-consumer advertising

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwired - April 05, 2017) - In addition to using medical science liaisons (MSLs) to engage the medical research community, many surveyed pharmaceutical companies have begun to grow digital marketing channels for brand commercialization, according to a primary research study by business intelligence provider Cutting Edge Information.

According to the study, Pharmaceutical Commercialization Profiles: Driving Brand Success with Better Budgeting and Timing, many life science companies report using MSLs to support medical affairs activities that enhance brand awareness and education among healthcare providers and the scientific community. Similarly, companies use digital marketing and direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising to distribute both branded product information, as well as diseases state education for key patient groups via websites, social media, and mobile technology.

The study revealed that despite the industry's initial misgivings about digital and social channels, they have become a growing component of pharmaceutical companies' marketing mixes. In addition to branded and unbranded websites, pharmaceutical companies typically maintain a presence on highly influential social media networks, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Companies also leverage paid search advertising and banner advertisements to reach web users.

"Digital marketing allows companies to address more targeted patient groups -- which is especially useful for brands with a narrower market," said Adam Bianchi, senior director of research at Cutting Edge Information. "These marketing campaigns encompass TV, print, radio, or other mass media, and reach patients directly, rather than just healthcare professionals."

Often, these campaigns are particularly useful as a way to incite product conversations between targeted patients and their doctors. However, DTC campaigns can be difficult to implement -- not only must companies be aware of evolving FDA regulations surrounding DTC advertising, they must also identify what messages and media best reach their demographic. For one surveyed life science firm, television commercials were a significant component of their brand's marketing mix.

However, pharmaceutical marketers need to be cautious when considering their brand's reach before making these investments. A brand intended for a broad patient population will need to have a mass consumer message, but it will also typically have more resources to spend for these ends. It makes less sense for a brand with a smaller patient population to invest in a DTC campaign that will reach 100 million people through a TV ad. Instead, these types of brands look to targeted, expensive premium programs and online options.

Pharmaceutical Commercialization Profiles: Driving Brand Success with Better Budgeting and Timing, available at, provides signposts, key budget benchmarks and staffing metrics to help guide pharmaceutical brand commercialization strategies and resource allocation. Study highlights include:

  • Detailed medical affairs, market access, marketing and commercial resource brand expenditures for brand in pre-clinical development through two years after product launch
  • Data on staffing brand commercialization committees and timing of specific brand activities and assessments
  • Profiles of more than 20 pharmaceutical brands for early brand development, late-stage brand development and post-launch support

For more information about pharmaceutical brand commercialization, please download the brochure at

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