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Do I even need a website?

By Patricia Kendall

This is a question I recently heard from a client and at first my reaction was – Dah! -of course you need a website what are you thinking?

The client is in the medical device industry and has a consumer site with the goal of promoting their particular medical device. This site is a few years old and they utilize a variety of marketing tactics including PPC to drive traffic and encourage visitors to request more information. The question “do I even need a website?” surfaced because it is very difficult to measure the effectiveness of the website. Potential patients do not go to this site and select a medical device and then place it in a shopping cart to be shipped to them. This audience is prescribed a device by their physician. This particular client wants to reach potential patients and empower them to have a voice in what device they are prescribed and ultimately implanted with.

I worked with a college to help answer this question. My focus remained on the PPC tactic and he looked into who their audience was and what they are doing online.

This is what we found:

Client’s customer segments include online boomers and silver surfers

Internet Adoption
Boomers > 75%
Silver Surfers > 40%

Online activities
1. Use email
2. Research a health topic
3. Do product research
4. Get news
5. Make a purchase

Where do they go to research health topic?
1. Search engines
2. General health sites
3. “Web 2.0 “sites (less than 1%)

Sources:
• Jupiter Research – Online Boomers: Benchmarking Adoption of Health Resources
• Jupiter Research – US Online Health Survey 2007
• Pew/Internet – Online Health Search 2006, Health Information Online 2005
• eMarketer.com

Once we had a customer profile and understood what the target audience was doing online it was clear that a web property was a necessary marketing tactic for this client even if they do not actually sell a product via the web. The number two online activity for Boomers and Silver Surfers is to research a health topic so it is vital to “catch” this potential customer where they are-online!

The result of this analysis was that the client had a renewed commitment to their site and a desire to focus on their online audience. Now they can optimize their PPC campaign and other marketing tactics to reach this defined audience.

This is an entry to Marketing Pilgrim’s 3rd Annual SEM Scholarship contest.

  • http://moreburritos.com Mike Morabito

    As someone who does marketing for medical companies I definitely understand this scenario. Thanks for the research results.

    My advice would be to make each site almost entirely informational for research purposes with the goal of pushing people to contact a doctor for more information. Because really doctors are the only ones that are able to prescribe/sell a particular medical product. It might be wise to encourage doctors who provide that product to submit their info to http://maps.google.com to come up in local search results for whatever that medical product is that they are selling.

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