Is pharma marketing ready for its digital close-up?

It might be time for drug marketers to abandon their TV-centric approach in favor of a real, live, well-thought-out digital strategy. As the blog KevinMD points out, plenty of new research shows that consumers increasingly are tuning out pharma's TV commercials. And in other industries, marketers are adopting interactive methods that engage people. 

So, why not move some dollars away from DTC television ads and into online marketing? Well, pharma is risk averse, and given the FDA's recent slap at Novartis' Facebook widget for Tasigna, no wonder. The agency says it's hoping to propose new online-marketing guidelines by year's end.

But the problem that's likely to outlast FDA's foot-dragging is more fundamental: pharma needs more digital-savvy marketing talent and more money to back it. "I'm talking about people who can bridge business objectives with online health seekers' needs and use great tools to show that digital strategies are providing a good ROI," KevinMD says.

When big ad agencies buy out digital-specialty groups, the top talent often jumps ship because they don't like the big-agency way, the blog says. Meanwhile, the digital folks who are left end up having to fight for resources.

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