Television advertising has transformed — and continues to transform — pharmaceutical companies’ relationships with consumers. In the late ’90s, regulators allowed pharma to participate in direct-to-consumer advertising (DTC) for the first time. Seemingly overnight, consumers began to recognize these companies and their previously unrecognized medications.
Using television advertising to inform consumers about a clinical trial is another way to engage patients more directly. For consumers, it is a direct invitation to take action for their health. For pharmaceutical companies, it can help enroll patients quickly and maximize speed to market.
Television advertising is not appropriate for every clinical trial, but when it’s used optimally it can complement every other tactic in your campaign.
In order to ensure success, below are some parameters to consider, challenges to overcome and best practices to follow.
Only if the shoe fits
There is often both interest and apprehension about television advertising. “We need a lot of patient referrals, but television will cost too much!” Television can potentially deliver both scale and efficient ROI for a clinical trial if at least one of these parameters applies:
For example: A cholesterol study that needs 1,000 patients across 50 markets in 6 months would most likely be a strong candidate for television advertising. However, a multiple sclerosis study with a smaller patient target population should prioritize other tactics.
If it were that easy, everyone would be doing it
There are definite challenges to television advertising:
The “Halo Effect” of Television
When weighing this investment, consider that broadcast advertising has a halo effect on almost every other outreach tactic. Many times during our campaign analysis we see other tactics performing most efficiently when broadcast is running. For example, in a recent cardiovascular events trial, digital’s cost per referral decreased 31% when television ads were running. Broadcast can positively influence the impact of any and all tactics.
Best practices checklist
There are many similar best practices between patient recruitment and “traditional” television media buying:
Television advertising for patient recruitment continues to transform the relationship between pharmaceutical companies and consumers. It is a true win-win for both. For pharmaceutical companies, television advertising can help them meet critical, costly timelines. For consumers, it engages at a larger scale, with an opportunity that may improve their well-being. It is a unique kind of direct response advertising, one that empowers patients to take action for their health.