Consumers Prefer To Learn About Drugs Online
Web sites like WebMD placed second on the list of how consumers prefer to learn about pharmaceutical products, cited by 54% of respondents, and opt-in emails from brands or manufacturers placed fourth (38%). Just 30% of respondents preferred offline advertising and marketing, good for fifth place.
Far ahead of the pack was "in-person conversation with a doctor" (70%), but "email from a doctor" was preferred by just 14%. "In-person conversation with a pharmacist" came in third place (41%), but "e-mail from a pharmacist" notched just 10%. Phone calls from doctors and pharmacists fared only slightly better, at 22% and 12%, respectively.
Epsilon's research, which focused on permission-based email, was designed to go beyond easily measured click-through and open rates to study how the emails provoke consumers' feelings, reactions and activities. (The study of 1,517 consumers was conducted in October by ROI Research).
In other key results, Epsilon found that consumers who opt to receive emails from pharmaceutical companies are:
• More likely to fill prescriptions and take them properly (42% of respondents said the emails have a direct impact on such offline activities)
• More loyal to the sender's products and brands (60% said they have a more favorable opinion of the senders, 53% expressed more loyalty to those products and brands, and 44% said they are more likely to stay on a drug).
In addition to such quantifiable actions as downloading or printing coupons (78%) and clicking email links (72%), Epsilon found that other specific, direct actions taken by consumers as a result of receiving opt-in pharmaceutical industry emails included:
• Trying a new product for a first time (57%)
• Asking for a drug by name or brand (53%)
• Contacting their doctor (38%)
Epsilon also examined the reasons that consumers opt to receive pharmaceutical emails in the first place. They include:
• Receiving coupons (68%)
• Hearing about new products (56%)
• Learning about existing products (47%)
• Helping to manage a condition that they or someone close to them has (39%)
The average consumer in the research had opted to receive email communication from 2.72 companies, including large-scale drug manufacturers and individual brands.