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Targeted DTP/DTC Is an Industry Fallacy

ROF targetWhile we can all rejoice that the ‘spray and pray’ DTP/DTC model has died an all too slow death in the pharmaceutical industry, it appears that a new model has cropped up in its place. Not surprisingly, those who benefit from extolling the exaggerated benefits of direct-to-patient or direct-to-consumer marketing are propagating this new model called ‘Targeted DTP’ or ‘Targeted DTC.’

Having come into close contact with this idea of late, I have noticed that the evidence supporting it comes in two varieties:

  • Anecdotal – evidence slightly better than a hunch supports the idea that the DTP/DTC campaign can be targeted to a specific group that would yield results superior to the aforementioned ‘spray and pray’ approach
  • Quantitative – evidence supported by a quant study, usually a patient segmentation study, demonstrates with a p-value that a targeted group of patients or consumers is disproportionately interested in your product

The problem undercutting the evidence supporting this investment is that ‘targeted’ DTP/DTC can only be targeted to the extent of the media available for purchase – plain and simple.

You may have the quantitative evidence supporting a sophisticated segment of patients, but even with today’s online media tools . . . you just can’t buy their views efficiently or at all in most cases! Through our level-of-evidence appraisal service, ROF has cataloged multiple ‘targeted’ campaigns where the media waste ranged from 75% – 85% on a ‘targeted’ media buy. This waste served to eliminate any chance of breakeven, let alone positive ROI.

Your ability to position your DTP or DTC aspirations as ‘targeted’ starts with understanding the constraints of the offline and online media buying opportunities. Unfortunately, consumer marketers would have to dive into the weeds of media buying in order to effectively validate the ‘targeted’ approach recommended by their media partners. In our experience, few marketers have the time for this type of exercise. Give us a call. We can help.

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