Point-of-care is a sweet spot for pharmaceutical marketers and it’s no surprise that more and more pharmaceutical brands are beginning to acknowledge the media channel and the value that it brings, (above and beyond its typically strong ROI). The CDC has reported that in 2017, American patients visited their doctor over 1 billion times, averaging three visits per person. Point-of-care advertising allows brands to take advantage of those patient eyeballs sitting in physician waiting rooms, exam rooms, and even as they walk into pharmacies. As a result, the channel was estimated to rake in $500 to $600 million dollars last year, and is projected to reach over $800 million in 2020, according to ZS.
So why is point-of-care eating up an increasingly larger portion of the pharma marketing budget? The answer is three pronged: due to the pharma industry’s hunger for targeted messaging (reaching the right consumer, in the right place, at the right time), its ability to be used as a competitive blocking tactic, and the ease with which it can reach targeted HCPs.
On the surface, point-of-care is a direct way to get in front of the consumer by providing them with educational content surrounding their disease state and relevant treatment options. But POC is more than just that – it allows pharma companies to reach patients in a pivotal moment in their healthcare journey, right before they see the physician. According to MMM, patients exposed to POC ads are more willing to have conversations with their doctor regarding treatment options, with 42% of them stating that they would be willing to ask their doctor for a prescription medication that they have seen advertised. Point-of-care provides a medium of pharma brands to insert themselves into the right place at the right time, with branded messaging in the form of a TV spot, wallboard, exam room tablet or wifi sponsorship, resulting in a new prescription.
Second, POC can also serve as a competitive blocking strategy for pharmaceutical companies. POC programs allow for category exclusivity, meaning that only one drug treating a specific condition can own the office at a time. So the more offices a brand owns, the more offices they are shutting their competitors out of. Many point-of-care vendors offer various tactics within the office, from printed brochures to exam room wallboards, allowing advertisers to provide a surround sound of their message to their target audience. Point-of-care programs in pharmacies also provide pharma brands with an opportunity to compete with over the counter competitors. For example, there is an opportunity to set up a coupon dispenser in the aisle where OTC competitive treatments are found, spitting out branded vouchers and promotions for your drug. This POC tactic allows pharma brands to be exactly where their competitors are, while capturing the attention of the target consumer, at the right place, at the right time.
Lastly, this traditionally consumer media channel, has far reaching legs into targeting HCPs as well. Often times, POC partners are selected and analyzed based on their ability to provide a high match rate of the brand’s HCP target list. This means at the very onset of the campaign, the brand’s message will appear in the offices of targeted HCPs, with the goal of ultimately increasing their exposure to the branded message and therefore, their prescribing behavior. Point-of-care can also fill the gaps in a brand’s sales force. If there are gaps in sales representative presence in certain offices, owning the messaging in those offices is a way to fill those voids.
Whether pharma marketers look to POC to target their patient audience, combat a competitive landscape or fill the sales gap in reaching HCPs, point-of-care is an important channel that is continuously gaining momentum in the space.
By: Amanda Fiore