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Direct-to-Patient Marketers: Are You Putting Yourself on an Island?

January 19, 2017

Direct-to-patient (DTP) marketing can be a very isolated part of marketing for medical device and pharma companies. DTP marketers often work separately from the rest of the marketing department. Sometimes, this separation makes it more difficult for them to get patient marketing projects off the ground.

It isn’t that the C-suite, sales, and marketing departments don’t understand the need for direct-to-patient marketing. After all, DTP marketing positions would not be created if there was not a need for them. The problem is, the company as a whole may not completely understand the benefits of DTP marketing and what they need to successfully market to patients.

To add to this problem, DTP marketers tend to put themselves on an “island.” Because their projects and initiatives tend to be very different from marketing and sales initiatives, they often end up isolating themselves from the marketing and sales departments. In the long run, this makes it harder to get their projects off the ground.

If direct-to-patient marketers want to get buy-in from the rest of the company, they need to get themselves off the “island” as soon as possible.

Business Official Doing Paperwork at Desk

How DTP Marketers Isolate Themselves

Direct-to-patient marketing projects are usually separate from other sales and marketing initiatives. This leads many DTP marketers to completely isolate themselves from the other departments, because there is little to no overlap in their work. To further complicate matters, funding is often taken from the sales and marketing departments to create the direct-to-patient marketing team, which can lead to resentment from both of those departments.

So, DTP marketers set off to develop their projects. They do lots of research and come up with ideas that they think will work. However, because they work so separately from the other departments, the sales and marketing teams don’t hear about these projects until they are much further down the line. At this point in the process, it becomes even more difficult for DTP marketers to get buy-in from the rest of the company.

Although your work may be separate from other departments within your company, you really need to get off your “island” as soon as possible to get your direct-to-patient marketing projects off the ground.

Marketing Professionals in a Informal Group Meeting

How to Get Off the “Island”

To avoid isolating yourself from the other parts of the company, it’s important to develop connections within the other departments while you are working on your project. The sooner you can sell the rest of your company on these ideas, the more likely you are to get your project off the ground. If you wait until you are ready to roll out your project, it’s very possible that you will have put months (or more) of work into a project, only to have difficulty getting it off the ground.

If you start to get the other departments on board early on in the process, you can tweak it as you go so that it is a good fit for everyone. When you are ready to start rolling it out, it will be much easier to get it going because you will already have buy-in from the rest of the company. As you are probably well aware, it can take time to get buy-in on DTP marketing from the C-suite, sales, and marketing departments. If you can start to develop those connections while you are developing your project, you are setting yourself up for greater success.

It’s easy to isolate yourself when you’re working on a direct-to-patient initiative, but it won’t do you any favors in the long run. The sooner you can start having those conversations with other departments, the better off you will be.

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