Patients waiting at a HCPs office

What HCP Attitudes to DTC Tell Us About Omnichannel Pharma Marketing

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A crucial aspect of healthcare dynamics is the perception of pharmaceutical marketing among healthcare professionals (HCPs). Surprisingly though, HCPs generally view pharma marketing more favorably than other, less medically vetted forms of healthcare information.  

Our 2024 independent physician survey explored the impact of HCP and Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) marketing silos on physician-patient conversations and revealed a significant disconnect between the information patients receive and their ability to apply it to their individual circumstances. Physicians also cited several common information sources that actively harmed patient care conversations. The survey respondents considered just 16% of patients to be well-informed. What’s more, nearly 60% of HCPs say the information patients do cite during their visits is only fair-to-poor quality. 

Consequently, HCPs find themselves investing significant time, which is already limited, during visits to rectify misinformation, resulting in wasted minutes and potentially diminishing patient commitment to prescribed treatments. 

Where Pharma Marketing May Miss the Mark


Nearly 50% of HCPs think DTC advertising is beneficial to patients, and over 60% believe it significantly impacts patient perceptions and expectations. But despite its prevalence and presence, it’s clear that patients aren’t always retaining the information provided – or understanding when a treatment is a potential fit for their condition. This suggests a disconnect between when brand information is being served to patients, and when they are actively seeking health information. And, if they aren’t finding medically-vetted resources (like pharma-sponsored content), they may be turning to less reliable sources – online influences, friends/family anecdotes, etc. 

So, what are the implications for DTC marketers trying to deliver information that is relevant – and “sticks”? It’s all about personalization: not just targeting a patient when they are most likely to observe or receive the message, but also about targeting them at the moments they are most likely to be seeking (and therefore retaining) health information.  

Rethinking Your DTC Approach to Omnichannel Pharma Marketing


Here are some best practices to keep in mind when creating your DTC advertising efforts. 

  • Target patient’s clinical profiles, rather than just demographics. Looking at the whole clinical profile of the patient is important in DTC advertising. Disease type, social determinants of health, limited medical understanding, and cultural/language barriers can impact how much the patient will interact and converse with the HCP. 
  • Tailor your DTC advertising to individual patient media preferences rather than generic mass communications.  By tailoring DTC ads to patients' media preferences, engagement and relevance are heightened, potentially increasing this percentage. Consequently, patients arrive at their office visits better informed, fostering more effective communication with their HCPs. 
  • Optimize information delivery by timing it for maximum receptivity, such as just before office visits or during upcoming treatment windows. Patients are more likely to actively seek out relevant content related to their condition before or after a visit with their HCP or during an impending treatment window.  
  • Prioritize disease education within your DTC advertising, beyond mere brand promotion. Patients may not get enough basic disease awareness or education along with treatment benefits or differentiators. Nearly 40% of HCPs say brand-specific marketing helps patients, yet nearly 55% of HCPs say that disease state marketing helps patients. Disease education is vital for patients as it provides essential knowledge about their condition and treatment options, empowering patients to make more informed decisions and actively participate in their own care. 

Discover more data insights to inform best practices in your brand’s DTC advertising efforts. Download a copy of the full survey white paper here.