For Pharma Brands, Content is the Cure

What is the first thing you do when your allergies hit hard? What about when you feel flu-like symptoms? If you are like most people, you turn to your computer, tablet or phone for more information. Seven out of 10 people with health questions go online – either seeking information or looking for shared experiences from people with their condition – before consulting a doctor. These consumers look for the content that can help address their medical problems. They look to you, pharma marketers, for a cure.

What does this mean for brands?

Pharma marketers seize the opportunity to engage with patients actively looking for condition-specific information. They capitalize on contextual technologies, such as in-text advertising and contextual toolbars, to take advantage of the ability to deliver user-initiated engagement. Giving consumers the power to decide when and how to engage with a brand is a powerful driver of increasing brand awareness and interest.

At ExL Pharma’s 5th Annual Digital Pharma East Conference in Philadelphia on October 19, we were encouraged by the interest, feedback and enthusiasm from the audience of top digital marketers after our presentation, “Give Consumers Control Without Giving up Control of Your Brand.” We wanted to share some case studies from our session that illustrate useful, creative and contextually relevant online campaigns by pharma brands. These brands present themselves as convenient solutions through their innovative offering of useful tools and assistance.

For example, on Lantus’ WhyInsulin.com website, users can track their blood sugar and access a glossary of useful diabetes-related medical terms. Moreover, WhyInsulin.com’s social network, YouTube channel and online forum connect people with diabetes and provide a place to share stories, advice and support.

Another example of a creative contextual solution is NuvaRing’s desktop reminder, NuvaTime, which alerts users through their Outlook, iCal or Google calendar about upcoming doctor’s appointments, prescription refills, and when to start a new NuvaRing dose. By incorporating a refill reminder, the brand is providing a solution to the user, while also working to increase adherence, which is a major challenge for many pharma marketers.

Omnaris’ mobile app, Omnaris AllergyManager, is a multifaceted solution for allergy sufferers; it offers users a local allergy forecast, a place to track allergy symptoms and reminders for medication refills. This solution allows the brand to maintain a dialogue with users when they are engaged.

What about brand safety?

Each of these creative solutions keeps the brand safe. For pharma marketers operating under regulatory concerns, these solutions include the complete Important Safety Information while putting the user in control of the engagement.

By harnessing contextual technology with creativity, marketers see better ROI. When patients and caregivers are in the driver’s seat, they feel empowered to decide when they will engage, which leads a deeper level of interest in the brands. Vibrant commissioned a study that compared standard display technologies, such as skyscrapers, overlays and in-text advertising, and found that consumers appreciated contextual ads because they are relevant, useful and within their control. Contrast this with “forced” ad views and annoying interstitials, which can distract consumers and damage brands. Ads placed within relevant content help ensure brand engagement and perceived value.

Smart marketers take note: It’s time to empower consumers and establish your brand as a remedy.


Rachel Gordon and Michael Frick are Directors of Healthcare Sales at Vibrant, the world’s leader in premium contextual advertising. At ExL Pharma’s 5th Annual Digital Pharma East Conference on October 19 in Philadelphia, they gave a presentation for top digital marketers: “Give Consumers Control Without Giving up Control of Your Brand.”

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