Monday, February 23, 2009

DTC 2.0: Obama-ization of healthcare marketing

Over the last four months, there has been a lot of debate about how the new administration may force unwanted change upon the Pharmaceutical industry’s DTC practices. Will DTC advertising be legislated or over-regulated out of existence?

I think in the upcoming years there certainly will be less DTC advertising due to a variety of factors--the current financial meltdown, the end of the blockbuster drug era, changing consumer media habits and the continuing political/social backlash. However rather than being seen as a threat to DTC, the new ways in which Obama has approached the presidency can actually serve as inspiration to propel us forward towards DTC 2.0. Specifically, the game-changing presidential campaign can be seen as a blueprint of sorts for the next phase of DTC.

David Carr wrote in his post-election NYT column, "Barack Obama understood that you could use the Web to lower the cost of building a political brand, create a sense of connection and engagement, and dispense with the command and control method of governing to allow people to self-organize to do the work.”

Faced with a similarly disheartened and distrustful healthcare consumer, marketers have an opportunity to make a parallel paradigm shift in creating their communication plans. Potential changes include: heavier reliance on real time cyber-generated insights, making customer experience the new acquisition tool, installing engagement as the new marketing mantra, moving social media from corporate media experimentation mode to strategic marketing skill-set and finally providing the resources to truly mobilize consumers to improve their health and lower national health care costs.

In the process of moving to DTC 2.0, the industry stands to gain both in terms of improved image and continued financial health. Just as Obama did, we need to engage consumers and speak to them in a whole new way. Yes we can!



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