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Are DTC Marketers Committed to Patient Interaction?

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In pharmaceutical marketing circles, we hear sporadic boasts of a successful social campaign, award-winning content marketing, or insights drawn from a patient community platform. The ambitious brand manager takes these case studies back to the conference room, ready to formulate a new playbook, only to be overwhelmed by the complexities of operating in our highly regulated industry.

Progressive brand strategies shouldn’t be devised to win awards or dominate the marketing trades, but if done well, they certainly deserve accolades. More importantly, meeting your patients wherever they are while offering them interactive content, and adapting your message to service their needs, paves the road to better patient outcomes and higher return-on-investment.

Merck’s VERSED campaign is a great example of activating the system described above, to raise awareness around HPV vaccination. VERSED combines content marketing (, with short form social posts, interactive questions, and community guidelines for adverse event reporting.

While the campaign clearly put patients first, Merck and Klick Health also won the industry recognition they deserved.

Pharmaceutical campaigns that try to combine cutting-edge marketing technologies are often derailed by the breadth of stakeholders involved in the process. To limit disruption in creativity and execution, marketers should seek out cross-discipline solution providers, who can fast track the process. In its broader framework, The Tylt has been recognized as a pioneer in this space and the applications for healthcare are inspiring.

The Tylt is the fastest growing social polling and opinion platform on the web helping marketers create conversation, understand sentiment, and activate on vote-based data. Using patented technology, The Tylt collects opinions and relative influence data from our site and social channels in real-time. In partnership with brands, The Tylt can help achieve awareness and engagement goals by creating new content or reformatting current content for maximum interaction. Informed by voting behavior, marketers can extend the impact of a Tylt campaign by messaging audiences based on the vote they made.

For healthcare campaigns, the process begins with locating the right patient and encouraging them to share their opinion on a personally meaningful health topic. Patient advocacy becomes democratized when declared sentiments, informed by supporting evidence, are shared socially. By bringing structure to health conversations as they trend across social, patient insights can be identified and addressed in the next wave of interactive content, positioning the brand as a partner in the journey to better health.

For example, a multiple sclerosis brand may want to initiate patient interactions with a simple question: “To combat cognitive fatigue, what game do you prefer to play to keep your mind active?”

Answering that question in hashtag form (#SudokuForMS or #CrosswordForMS) creates a unique campaign identifier that allows for insights collection, as votes are shared across social media. The original question reaches an MS population with standard targeting models, whether they receive the poll on social media, as a display ad, or as a polling widget on or our partnered sites. While the brand itself may display sponsorship logos or embed assets throughout the campaign, the campaign value multiplies over time, by engaging patients after they’ve provided self-reported data.

The pharmaceutical marketing industry’s reliance on traditional media has reached the point of stagnation. With TV, print, or digital display, the highest spender wins share-of-voice, and if the product is effective, it gains market share. The only way to disrupt this model is to stay focused on innovations that add value through personalization, platform agnosticism, and a relentless focus on patient interaction.

To learn more about activating The Tylt in your next pharmaceutical marketing campaign, contact Jason Lotkowictz (

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Jason Lotkowictz
VP Sales at Advance 360 Health
Jason Lotkowictz is the VP of Sales at Advance 360 Health, a marketing services division backed by Advance Local, one of the largest news media groups in the U.S. Prior to Advance 360 Health, Jason has held leadership roles in healthcare media businesses including Verywell (previously and Vitals, now owned by WebMD. Jason began his career in newspaper buying at Zenith, then moved into sales at Advance and Gannett.
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