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Monday, May 03, 2010

Where Do You Want Your Customers to Go When they See Your Ads?

There's one thing I've never understood about the pharmaceutical industry...their marketing philosophy. I've seen it a million times, a television ad for some new miracle drug, and then in the ad they say "see our ad in Women's Health magazine" or some other magazine. Why on earth would they want to get someone interested in their product and then send them to the store to get a magazine, then force them to search through the magazine for a 1-2 page advertisement amid a hundred other pages of content that they probably find more interesting? Sounds like a lot of work and a lot of possible distractions along the way. The point of mass media advertising is to hit a large audience with your message and siphon off a percentage to pay attention to your product. Let me try an analogy:

Suppose you're an independent dealer and sell nothing but Ford Mustangs. You have a website dedicated to your inventory of Mustangs. You decide to spend millions in an ad campaign on TV, radio, newspaper, and even a pay-per-click campaign in the search engines. Imagine if each of your advertisements told the viewer/reader/listener to search for Ford Mustangs on Autotrader.com to see your stuff. Doesn't make a lot of sense, does it? You wouldn't send them there where they can easily see your competitors inventory or click on advertisements for a Camaro, Charger, etc., would you? So why does the pharmaceutical industry consistently do this?

The only thing I can think of as a possible reason is that for the drugs that are targeted toward the elderly demographic, perhaps they're more likely to get a magazine than visit a website. Even if this is the case though, I see virtually all drug commercials pointing consumers to their magazine ads, even for those that are used in younger adults who likely have internet access. Even if they wanted to target non-internet using adults with their product, wouldn't it be better to provide a phone number so the company can get the "ups" while they're still hot?

And I thought some car dealers made poor advertising decisions...


Mike Myersq said...

My guess would be that the drug companies have a reciprocal deal with the magazine that gives them a break on the advertising if they mention the magazine in the commercial- those several page ads can be pretty expensive!

trustedcarsalesman said...

I think you are comparing apples to oranges. Saying "see our ad in..." is most likely an attempt to make the product look more credible. The two business's work differently: I would assume that there isn't much competition with a product that would be advertized the way you described, so whoever spends more on advertizing gets more sales. There isn't enough knowlege in the consumer base for them to distinguish between one 'proprietary blend' or another.