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Here’s To Your Health

4 Feb, 2010 By: Bridget McCrea Response

More healthcare marketers are using DR to reach out to consumers.

The U.S. population is not only aging — it’s also fighting diseases like obesity, cancer and diabetes while grappling with deadly addictions like smoking. In seemingly constant need of accurate data and information, today’s consumers have a wealth of information at their fingertips, and no longer run to their primary physicians every time a new ache or pain presents itself.

Instead, consumers turn to the Internet, television, magazines, newspapers and other sources that have come to the forefront for consumers in search of reliable healthcare resources. The trend has opened the door for marketers, organizations and government entities that want to talk directly to consumers, and not to their healthcare providers. Enter direct response — the perfect solution for healthcare firms looking to fulfill consumers’ needs in an efficient manner that gels well with other advertising media.

One company that jumped on the DR bandwagon in 2009 was avVaa World Health Care Products Inc., which during the fourth quarter tested 32 spots for its NEUROSKIN® Psoriasis Relief product. A global biotechnology company, manufacturer and distributor of nationally branded therapeutic, natural skin and health care products, avVaa used a combination of hard- and soft-sell formats that yielded 1,200 Web site hits and more than 90 phone calls.

In a company press release, Lorie Campbell-Farley, president and CEO, said call-center conversion rates were strong, with half of the callers placing an order. avVaa’s DRTV investment dovetailed nicely with the company’s existing Web presence, which managed to keep viewers’ eyeballs glued to the Internet for an average of four minutes. The company has a second DRTV campaign in the works and will launch a national media campaign if the results measure up to the first test.

The list of healthcare marketers that are turning to DR to reach new customers is long, and includes firms like BioElectronics Corp., a maker of disposable, drug-free, anti-inflammatory devices that are sold under the brand names ActiPatch and Allay. The firm launched DRTV campaigns in Latin America in December, followed by Canada in January, and Europe and Australia in the first quarter.

Working with RC Television Production Inc., BioElectronics developed Hispanic-oriented campaigns targeting the larger nations in South America, as well as the U.S. Hispanic market. BioElectronics hired Schulberg Media Works to produce 60-second and 120-second spots for both the Allay and ActiPatch brands and a five-minute international-oriented ActiPatch version.

Ronald C. Pruett, Jr., CEO at Santa Monica, Calif.-based Mercury Media (and a member of the Response Editorial Advisory Board), isn’t surprised at the interest that healthcare marketers continue to take in DRTV.

“I’m generally bullish on the healthcare sector,” says Pruett, whose own company is garnering interest from firms that target the senior-care market, as well as those that work in the over-the-counter/pharmaceutical arena. “The latter is largely driven by changing government regulations concerning medical programs. Manufacturers are moving more of their dollars into direct-to-consumer (DTC) spending for the OTC market.”

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