Futureproof against cord-cutting

By Jurgen Castro, Senior Director, imre health

TV advertising is the multibillion dollar machine that fuels the pharma industry. The industry as a whole invests disproportionately, up to 70% of its total marketing mix(!!!), to reach consumers in a fair and balanced way. This perceivably reliable practice begs the question: can this communications strategy be sustained when increasingly, consumers are cutting cords to traditional cable boxes in favor of watching ad-less, on-demand content and streaming networks like Netflix and Hulu?

While there *is* a generation gap reflected in consumers’ changing media diets, as an industry we must start to embrace new approaches to reach and engage shrinking cable television audiences.

cord cutting media behaviors will become ubiquitous


Much like internet usage over the past 10 years, and social media usage over the past five, cord cutting media behaviors will become ubiquitous across younger and older demographics alike. This requires pharma brands to rethink how to safely, creatively and effectively engage patients across digital mediums, to supplement its lost audience share.

To future proof communication strategies against evolving media consumption behaviors, pharma brands can “test and try” in four specific categories

Audience mapping

An analysis of a person’s digital behavior and footprint can contradict who a patient says she is in a focus group. Make sure your social and digital intelligence sits side-by-side with patient research to fill in any gaps that could obscure the reach of traditional marketing and communication activities.

Retool the ecosystem

Investing in attribution models and sophisticated CRM systems can help you better understand where your dollars are being effective and where they are not. Experiment with the right mix and balance. Don’t rule out “ineffective” channels, as they could have an unseen, influential role in the total marketing mix long-term.

Go native

To better reach your audiences, identify and evaluate native partnership opportunities that can help tell a deeper story and complement mass advertising activities. These types of partnerships not only allow for more in-depth patient education about therapeutic areas, but, combined with mass advertising, can help form and cement a perception of your brand among consumers.

Own it

Elevate your digital and social content strategy and pursue longer-form brand journalism that extends a patient’s experience beyond an in-channel, post-level piece of content. Whether it’s introducing elements to your marketing mix like Facebook canvas ads and Instant Articles or a long form documentary series on YouTube, you can effectively balance longer stories and capture short attention spans in social news feeds by disrupting your “owned” content approach.


Futureproof against cord-cutting