No matter how much you try, your marketing plan can’t possibly account for every scenario that might require a Dear Doctor letter. You can budget for a typical number of letters every year. You may even be able to anticipate when some of them will come up. But, the need for Dear Doctor letters still sneak up on you.
Inevitably, you encounter an unexpected recall, printing error, or other event that requires immediate communication with your prescribers. When that happens, you have to pull the necessary resources together very quickly. Meanwhile, all your other marketing priorities remain unchanged. That’s why it’s so important to develop a Dear Doctor process that allows you to meet FDA guidelines quickly and effectively.
Direct Mail Runs Up a Big Tab
Direct mail is not the solution. Printing, and mailing a high volume of direct mail Dear Doctor letters is expensive. And, printing efforts and postal transit all eat up precious hours – time that is especially valuable when an alert is of critical importance to prescribers.
Even if the creative process goes smoothly, you probably have to pull several marketing specialists off other projects, which may derail those campaign timelines. The cost of all those hours, not to mention the price of materials, production, and mailing, really adds up. When you rely solely on direct mail to reach thousands of doctors with urgent drug announcements, it’s nearly impossible to keep your marketing plan on track.
Email Offers Better Value
Email is faster than direct mail because printing and mailing time is eliminated. Using pre-approved templates speeds things further by reducing the number of MLR reviews required. Email is also less expensive, since material and distribution costs are minimal.
High returns for wrong addresses are common in direct mail Dear Doctor campaigns. Email, on the other hand, allows you to verify deliverability and “opens,” while even assessing impact and engagement. For all of these reasons, pharma companies should consider email the preferred channel for Dear Doctor letters.
Hybrid Solutions Optimize Results
Since you may not be able to reach every physician on your list through email, we recommend taking a hybrid approach. First, pull a list of all appropriate prescribers, including nurse practitioners and physician assistants, from an authenticated database. Email your Dear Doctor letter to this list. Then, evaluate your results. Follow up by sending a letter via postal mail to any physician whose email went undelivered.
Hybrid campaigns provide all the benefits of email marketing, including speed, accuracy, and accountability. Yet they ensure that you reach all prescribers, even those for whom you don’t have current email addresses.
These campaigns are also less expensive than traditional direct mail programs because the bulk of your mailings are digital. In one recent case, a pharmaceutical marketing agency saved more than 60% on a Dear Doctor mailing simply by adopting the hybrid approach. As an added bonus, carbon emissions were reduced by 75%. In the end, hybrid Dear Doctor campaigns allow you to efficiently meet FDA guidelines with less disruption to your marketing plan.