PharmExec Blog

Distractions Abound – DTC Perspectives Day 2

Andy Levitt of HealthTalker checks in with a report from day 2 of the DTC Perspectives conference in New Jersey.

I had to laugh. And you would, too.

I looked around the room as the clock approached noon today during Day 2 of the Fall DTC Perspectives conference. I was amazed by the amount of distraction that existed within our closed conference environment. All of us in the room were paying to be there, to learn about the latest and greatest in the land of DTC advertising, to engage with our peers and listen to their insights.

Here we were, a group of people focused on the inherent challenges of advertising, of finding ways to make our messages relevant, to be heard through the clutter – and yet, so many of the people in the room were distracted. There were no windows, no outside noise, no screaming children. In many ways, it was a marketer’s dream. Focused messaging to the target audience. Yet even here, the messages from presenters were falling short. People were checking their Blackberries or using their laptops, multitasking or just curious for what else might be more interesting in that moment. One could argue that at times, much of what was said fell on plenty of deaf ears in that room.

I couldn’t help but think more about what Mike Bloxham had said yesterday when he highlighted the inherent challenges of reaching consumers with traditional advertising. He spoke of the “disruptive behavior” created by all of the new technology and the myriad of choices available to consumers that is affecting media consumption.

Didn’t we as a group just prove his point? What’s even more concerning is that we had far fewer distractions than consumers typically face in the real world when they see our ads and hear our messages.
Most advertising agencies love to discuss how the promotional campaigns they develop create deep relationships with the target audience on behalf of their client. How the creative process explored many options before qualitative and quantitative message testing revealed breakthrough qualities that exceed the industry norms. How the recommended approach will captivate the target with its relevancy, its distinctive and motivating elements, and its focused delivery of a meaningful message.

While all of that may truly occur, does that model still work?

Forgive me if I sound cynical, but we as an industry will clearly need to do even more with our advertising efforts in order to deliver on those objectives. The challenge is real for all of us.

One way we may break through is to give much consideration to what Tom Clark of ICC Trio shared in his presentation that focused on the power of “brand intimacy.” Tom entertained the audience with great video clips of a Dunkin’ Donuts advertisement, a Jerry Seinfeld stand-up routine, an ad from American Airlines, and even a minute or two from When Harry Met Sally.

Tom’s point was that whatever you advertise – a product, a service, a musical act, etc. – really needs to connect with your target audience in a more meaningful way such that they perceive you to understand them. This hits on a fundamental human need, articulated most clearly in Maslow’s hierarchy. If your advertisements can achieve this, you will earn trust and loyalty from your customers, and eventually, that may even lead to brand evangelism, which Tom referenced as “the golden chalice of advertising.”

He shared ten suggestions for how to achieve brand intimacy, which include: know your customers, use their language, touch their emotions, make them think, surprise them, speak with them, respect them, tell the truth, link to the benefit of your brand, and (of course) show them that you know them.

The theme of the conference was “DTC in the Era of Consumer Choice.” What approach will win out so that the target consumer chooses to listen to you?

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One Comment

    Posted November 6, 2008 at 5:03 am | Permalink

    Its good to see that pharmaceutical industry is responding to the changing consumer needs and to those already has established, yes its a fact that consumers want to know about the drugs they are advised by physians or pharmacists but i think that first we have to see that what will b the impact of dtc on consumers health before disscussing that is it necassary for our industry or not , will consumers not become there own physians its a possibility and strong arguments comes from tobaco n alcohal industry even though they are higligtened as injurious to health but peoples are become addict off debates are necesary to come out with strong solutions that what to do .just look at industry profits or consumers health.

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