Doctors are Consumers Too! How DTC Media Impacts HCPs

While marketing to healthcare professionals (HCPs) accounts for the largest share of pharma promotional spend, direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising spend is growing at the fastest rate.1 Much of this growth is driven by broad-reach, national TV advertising, which pharma spent $5.1 billion on in 2018.2 With many TV campaigns reaching 80% or more of the US population, most HCPs are also clearly exposed to DTC messaging.

This naturally raises the question, what impact do these DTC efforts have on HCPs? Until now, measurement approaches were unable to isolate the impact of DTC ads on HCPs. While the standard marketing mix approach can uncover how DTC and HCP marketing efforts drive intended behaviors, there are limitations when it comes to isolating and measuring how DTC media impacts HCPs on its own. Without insights into the contribution of marketing efforts on all consumers, including healthcare professionals, marketers cannot get the full picture of how their investments are working.

Crossix is closing this knowledge gap and has discovered how DTC ads impact HCPs more precisely. For example, we recently measured a DTC TV campaign for a branded prescription drug for a chronic condition. The TV ad reached approximately 85% of US households with TVs. After determining which households in the TV analysis sample included HCPs, we determined that over 85% of brand-relevant HCPs were exposed to the ad. The sample test group for the analysis included around 150,000 HCPs.

Beyond quantifying exposure, we measured the impact on conversion-to-brand Rx for patients of those TV-exposed HCPs, compared to a control group of matched HCPs and patients. The findings demonstrated that the ad drove a 23% increase in new-to-brand prescriptions (NBRx) among patients of exposed HCPs, as seen in the figure below. This impact translated to nearly 5,000 new-to-brand patients.

conversion rate chart

The findings have implications for how pharma teams should think about their DTC and HCP efforts—they are no longer two separate marketing channels. In fact, it is more important than ever to understand how broad reach DTC advertising can supplement or counteract the effects of decreasing sales force sizes.

Interested in seeing how your media is influencing different audiences? Let’s talk.

1 JAMA. 2019;321(1):80-96. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.19320

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