When I started working in this business, a mentor of mine – Francis Gace – defined DTC marketing as “sending an educated patient, to an informed physician.” Within this simple phrase was the implication that the promotional marketing efforts for physicians and patients for a given product need to be integrally linked.
Yet, at the brand management and execution level they are more divorced than ever. It starts with the silos within the brand teams and extends to the fiefdoms of specialized suppliers. What’s lost is the opportunity to optimize marketing investments and increase overall marketing effectiveness.
Professional and Consumer Marketing investments need to be integrated. Two simple facts illustrate this point. First, the true benefit of DTC is not persuading patients in mass, but persuading physicians through mass patient experience. Second, the articulated patient requests driven through consumer marketing shape an MD’s perceptions of the Brand.
Integration between professional and consumer marketing is NOT a choice, but the degree to which you capitalize upon this critical opportunity is.