Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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What’s Holding Back Point-of-Care Marketing?

What’s Holding Back Point-of-Care Marketing? | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

While the quantity and quality of point-of-care advertising has been rising steadily in recent years, it's on the verge of an epic growth spurt. In May, investors such as Goldman Sachs and Alphabet pumped some $500 million in financing into Outcome Health. And in June, PatientPoint received a cash injection of $140 million.


While the dollar figures are impressive, it's not just money fueling POC's coming-of-age moment. The category's growth has also been facilitated by pharma's increasing desire for more targeted messaging, new technology that facilitates message delivery within the POC environment such as beacons and other forms of proximity marketing, and physicians' hunger for quality educational content that saves them time.


Of course, POC is plenty big already. Mark Boidman, managing director at Peter J. Solomon, which acted as a strategic advisor on the PatientPoint deal, says of the $8 billion or so spent on out-of-home advertising each year, about $500 million to $600 million is spent on POC messaging. Its growth, not surprisingly, has been propelled by the shift toward all things digital.


And the new infusions of cash will help the channel get bigger, and fast. Outcome Health, which says it is already blanketing almost 600 million patient visits a year, wants to wire the majority of exam rooms by 2020, explains Blake Chandlee, EVP and GM of industry strategy and emerging businesses. Similarly, PatientPoint is expanding its digital reach with programs that impact between 60% and 70% of prescribing volume in strategic specialties.


But whichever company is behind the brands trying to get their messages out, the idea is basically the same — and light years ahead of the “stacks of pamphlets for the waiting room” thinking that first put the category on the map.


But obstacles to growth still remain, ones that have prevented the category from realizing the soaring increases pundits have long predicted.


[“Clutter is a significant barrier for POC media companies trying to prove to drug makers an acceptable ROI for their products and services,” says Bob Ehrlich, Chairman, DTC Perspectives, Inc. “Patients also have their own entertainment system with their mobile devices and the growth of in office Wi-Fi makes them a viable entertainment option in waiting rooms. The challenge for POC companies providing information on disease or branded products is how to get their share of attention in that valuable 10-20 minute waiting period.”]


It hasn't helped that POC companies tout sky-high ROI figures. “I've seen people quote 20-to-1, or even higher. Yet when we do marketing-mix modeling, the POC investment doesn't show up quite that robustly,” Evans adds. Outside audits could help: “If you measure it yourself, it is naturally less credible.”


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Point-of-Care Messaging: The Next Big Opportunity in #Pharma Marketing?

Point-of-Care Messaging: The Next Big Opportunity in #Pharma Marketing? | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

Pharmaceutical marketers are allocating more resources to point-of-care (POC) settings, where consumers and patients are spending more time and tend to be hungry for relevant health care advice, according to a study by ZS consultants.

POC spend has grown about 10% a year since 2010 to a projected $400 million in 2014, driven partly by POC vendor consolidation. That's about eight times greater growth for POC communications than in DTC overall, ZS found.

The study projects POC spending will exceed $500 million within the next two to four years, with POC growing from 6.7% to 10% as a percent of DTC spend.

The captive POC audience is comprised of avid consumers of available materials, as 89% watch TV or read wellness information in the waiting room. More than two-thirds say relevant communications enhance the waiting room experience, findings show, and 84% said POC messages made them interested in purchasing the promoted brand.

Respondents said they saw an implied endorsement of the messaging by HCPs in whom they report high levels of trust, with 65% saying waiting room materials are among their most credible sources.

As a high percentage of patients (76%) recall the materials they saw or heard in waiting room, 75% of HCPs say patient requests influence their decisions.

Pharma Guys insight:

The original title of this MM&M article -- "Point-of-care messaging outlays surpass DTC spend: survey" -- is very misleading to say the least. Compare the $400 million in POC spending in 2014 with the $3,800 million in DTC spending in 2013. Assuming the same was spent on DTC in 2014 as in 2013, POC spend is only 11% of DTC spend. Even if POC spending were to increase by 10% per year and DTC spending remained flat, it would take almost 25 years for POC spending to surpass DTC spending. Obviously, MM&M is trolling for readers!

Nevertheless, POC "messaging," which includes Rx promotion and disease education, is an interesting area for pharma marketers to get involved in, especially when combined with mobile -- practically every patient in a waiting room has a smartphone these days. Imagine the possibilities! And it worked! :-)

Source of chart: "Consumer Insights from Inside the Waiting Room" by AccentHealth

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