Dx Ads on the Rise + Video = Engagement

Via Ad Age: A gastric band maker has a new channel on YouTube.

Device ads on the rise
As both online and medical technology have improved, device DTC advertising has grown, said Peter Pitts, partner and director of global health-care at PR firm Porter Novelli, and a former associate commissioner for external relations at the Food and Drug Administration. So much so that AdvaMed, the trade association for medical-device manufacturers, issued "guiding principals" for marketing to consumers in March. "Overall, the importance is to be sure that you have truthful, non-misleading balanced risk information, regardless of media," said Khatereh Calleja, associate VP-technology and regulatory affairs at AdvaMed. Ethicon's parent company, Johnson & Johnson, is a member of the trade association.
This is a great step forward and interesting in that it makes news when this should be the norm for DTC marketing that requires intensive investigation and decision-making. The consumer effort here should supplement the information provided by the physician.

However, the article gets interesting and a little misleading in my view when they get some supporting information from Rodale who has a survey that tracks DTC efforts.

The problem with social networking
While the data from the Rodale survey tracks DTC advertising of prescription drugs, Cary Silvers, director of Consumer Insights, said that he expected consumer behavior to be similar for medical devices. "People are getting used to searching, whether it's for a car or camera, and this is pretty much the same for health information," he said.

But Mr. Silvers points out that only 9% of patients watched that health video on a video-sharing site such as YouTube; the majority of patients seek online video from health and wellness sites. Mr. Silvers said this might be because on a health and wellness site, content is more of a match, whereas YouTube can have videos that are only tenuously related. "There's the problem with any type of social networking, or YouTube -- it's a wild, wild West of other videos, right along with it," he said. [ed. note: emphasis is mine]

First of all, health information has been a leading reason for going online since the early 2000s. While it may have been taken out of context, Mr. Silvers rolls out this information about health information and searching online like its a revelation of sorts.

Then he goes on to point out that only 9% of patients watch health-video on a site such as YouTube, which may be true, but he goes on to throw out the most common red herring there is with online video and YouTube in general and that is that your gastric banding surgery clip may be associated with the skate boarding cat or glow in the dark Mountain Dew. I shudder at the very thought....!

What isn't pointed out is this: No social networking or online marketing activity is successful in isolation. It works when you have multiple activities working in concert. A strong SEM program, a good brand site, a product focused micro site, a social networking plan where you are creating a closed loop and leveraging the other to provide comprehensive information however, whenever and wherever a person may look for information.

Consumers are smart and savvy enough to know that. And at the end of the day consumers are in control so what does it matter anyway?

My last point is I would like to know why orthopaedic manufacturers are not diving head first into this as a way to drive consumer decision making. Knee replacements, etc are often elective and in a recession you need to be smarter marketers in order to drive decision making.

If you search for Zimmer Gender Knee in YouTube the only thing you turn up are a few testimonials posted by doctor's. Unbelievable. But I as I have discussed before, they are very slow to the game. Not to pick on Zimmer, but if you go to their site and check out the last updated page in some cases you will find dates going back as far as 2004-2005. That is poor, very poor.

| www.jlefevere.com | www.theinteractivemarketer.com |

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