U.S. Pharmaceutical Industry Finds Itself Applying B2B Content Marketing to B2C Sales Efforts

The U.S. pharmaceutical industry has faced an interesting marketing challenge since 1993, when it was first broadly allowed to advertise new drugs directly to end users. Up to that point the pharmaceutical industry had been a strictly business-to-business content marketing venue, according to the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Today, direct-to-consumer advertising, linked to inappropriate medication use and higher health care expenditures, is the fastest growing form of pharmaceutical marketing. Perhaps ironically, much of the content marketing function is broadly similar: acquaint potential customers with the more-technical aspects of how products work, and can be used.

The National Center for Health Statistics reports 51 percent of adults searched for health information on the Internet from January to June 2009, and a Harris poll estimated 175 million adults use the Internet for health care information

A study of the 10 largest pharmaceutical companies and 10 largest drugs shows that all the firms engage in digital marketing on Facebook, Twitter or Friendster, sponsored blogs, and really simple syndication (RSS) feeds.

In addition, 80 percent have dedicated YouTube channels, and 80 percent  developed health care communication-related mobile applications.

Some 90 percent of the top-10 drugs also have dedicated websites, 70 percent have dedicated Facebook pages, 90 percent have health communications-related Twitter and Friendster traffic, and 80 percenthave DTCA television advertisements on YouTube.

The point is that the content marketing objective in direct to consumer pharmaceutical drugs is quite similar. The marketer has the objective of explaining to a prospect how a particular product can be used, since the demand is not self evident.