Content plus context add up to effective point-of-care ads--and ad growth

Shradha Agarwal

In the pharma world, waiting room marketing is often overlooked for its sexier DTC cousin. Yet point of care advertising is growing, currently accounting for about 10% or $500 million of pharma’s total $5 billion ad spend, according to industry sources quoted by Mediapost.

Not only do pharma advertisers like the captive patient audiences, the benefits of POC marketing extend to patients and doctors, too. Patients are more likely to be open to listening to ad messages in their doctors' offices, while physicians prefer having control over the messaging in their offices, said Shradha Agarwal, president and co-founder of ContextMedia, a 10-year-old privately held point of care content and advertising media company.

“Physicians like the fact that advertising is in a protected environment, and they like knowing what the patients are learning in the waiting area, so when patients bring up the brand, the physicians are prepared to have that conversation,” she said.

And it’s effective. Agarwal said ContextMedia sees an average 32% increase in prescriptions written for specific brands advertised at point of care. That’s a four-to-one return on the investment, she said, meaning for every dollar spent, advertisers get $4 in value back. ContextMedia tracks ROI through partners including IMS Health, ZS Associates and Crossix.

A recent campaign run for Novo Nordisk insulin drugs did even better, producing 5-to-one results, Agarwal said. The goal of that campaign was to drive adoption of insulin and increase prescriptions as well as highlight Novo Nordisk’s co-pay campaign. Another result of the campaign was the discovery of which doctors’ offices--specialty, general practice or other--are most often identifying and treating diabetes with Novo's drugs, and which in-office media such as tablets, TV or wallboards, were most effective, Agarwal said.

ContextMedia works with 93 different brands across large and small pharma companies and serves 30,000 outpatient offices, but it is far from the only player in the point of care ad business. Other large established players include AccentHealth, PatientPoint and Health Media Network.

- see Mediapost's post about POC

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