Essay On Online Marketing More Effective Than Viagra

The whole endeavor is mined with awkward moments, beginning with those faced by the 30 million American men who the drug companies estimate have trouble getting and keeping erections. Only 13 percent of those men are being treated, drug makers reckon, so analysts at Lehman Brothers figure that the market for Viagra, Levitra and Cialis should more than triple by 2010, to $6 billion a year.

That is, if the ad agencies can help destigmatize seeking treatment for erectile dysfunction, said Nancy Bryan, vice president for men's health marketing at Bayer Pharmaceuticals in West Haven, Conn. It sells Levitra in a joint venture with GlaxoSmithKline.

In recent weeks, Levitra has slipped to third place in sales, having been overtaken by Cialis, which is marketed by Lilly Icos, a joint venture of Eli Lilly & Company and the Icos Corporation. But together they have already grabbed 15 percent of the market from the leader, Viagra, which created the category when Pfizer introduced it in 1998. Levitra was introduced last August; Cialis, in November.

As the rivalry heats up, the ads are flooding television, radio, magazines, newspapers, the Internet and even mailboxes. The drug makers are sponsoring sports like golf and auto racing; Pfizer has initiated a frequent-user ''value card,'' offering a free seventh prescription for each six a customer fills. Levitra and Cialis have even tried the Super Bowl of advertising: the Super Bowl itself. Their makers paid more than $4 million each for 60-second spots during the game in February.

The ads are running so often and in so many forums that the drug companies say they feel compelled to change pitches frequently, to keep them fresh. On April 15, Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline relinquished the aggressively macho posture they had taken since introducing Levitra. The old campaign was fraught with symbols: a man failing, then succeeding, at tossing a football through a tire swing.

In its place, Levitra released a commercial created by the Quantum Group in Parsippany, N.J., a unit of the WPP Group. The ad focused on a woman's sultry testimonial to Levitra's effect on her man: ''Let's just say he notices a difference in the experience, like a 'we should do this more often' difference.'' If that is too subtle, she adds that Levitra gives her guy the ''quality of response that he wants, time and again.''

The ads may be oblique, but the strategy is not. ''We give men the quality erections they want,'' said David Pernock, senior vice president for pharmaceuticals marketing at GlaxoSmithKline in Philadelphia.

PFIZER, aiming to protect Viagra's market share, has been changing campaigns continuously for a couple of years -- maybe too often, some contend. ''I found myself saying, 'What happened to Viagra?''' said Cheryl Swanson, a principal at Toniq, a brand strategy consultant in New York. ''The message has diminished.''

In February, Pfizer stopped running ads showing men being praised by friends and co-workers for some obvious but indefinable difference. The unspoken subtext: they were finally having intercourse again. Now it runs commercials showing men leaping for joy as the exultant anthem by Queen, ''We Are the Champions,'' plays in the background. The idea: to convey the confidence that Pfizer hopes men will feel after asking doctors about Viagra.

''The brand that captures how people would like to see themselves will succeed,'' said Maxine Thomas, a creative planner at the Toronto office of Taxi, the Canadian agency that created the commercial.

Pfizer's task is complicated by its past success. As the pioneer brand in an untapped market, Viagra initially prospered. Now it must keep battling Cialis and Levitra without becoming so common that it is perceived as a generic name for impotence treatments, as Kleenex is for tissues.

As Pfizer executives prepare for their next marketing push, they are taking the unconventional step of soliciting ideas from four agencies that produce ads for other Pfizer prescription drugs like Lipitor and Zyrtec as well as from the agency in charge of Viagra ads, Cline Davis & Mann in New York, part of the Omnicom Group.

The five-way bake-off is likely to be decided next month, in time for new Viagra ads to come out in the third quarter. ''The environment is changing, and we want to make sure we remain relevant,'' said Dorothy Wetzel, vice president for consumer marketing at the United States pharmaceuticals division of Pfizer in New York. Just as the Pfizer research and development division ''screens thousands of different compounds to find the one that makes a difference,'' she said, ''we're trying to apply the same process to our communication development: getting multiple agencies to develop ideas and screen it down to one 'killer' communication.''

It's almost enough to drive marketers to another Pfizer drug, Xanax. ''Understanding consumers is an ongoing journey,'' Ms. Wetzel said, one that keeps her ''and the rest of Pfizer up at night.''

As is typical in consumer-brand battles, Viagra's competitors are trying to outflank the market leader with contrasting portrayals of their products' attributes. GlaxoSmithKline wants to portray Levitra as ''the product that really works,'' Mr. Pernock said, and to reassure men with erectile dysfunction that they are no less manly. It began with what Ms. Swanson, the brand strategist at Toniq, called ''a stereotypical gridiron persona'' typified by the spokesman Mike Ditka, former coach of the Chicago Bears, ''in your face, pointing his finger at you.'' It also has ''vital'' brand colors -- purple and orange -- and, of course, that tire swing, all of which combine to ''make a guy feel more comfortable, offer reassurance,'' she said. Now Levitra has shifted to including the woman's point of view and a new slogan, ''Quality when it counts.''

FROM the start, Cialis came from a different direction: warmer and gentler -- almost more feminine. That was apparent in its name, pronounced SEE-alice; its color scheme, pastel green and yellow; and its soft-focus campaign, showing a man and a woman side by side, often relaxing in matching bathtubs. The different, less-hurried approach stems from a fundamental difference between Cialis and its rivals: while Viagra and Levitra provide a four-hour window during which a man can get and keep an erection, Cialis opens that window to 36 hours. The continuous presence of women in Cialis ads is a subtle signal that the drug makes it easier for them to set the pace with their men, in contrast to the primarily male-driven imagery for Levitra and Viagra. For this reason, Europeans have dubbed Cialis ''le weekend'' drug.

In research sessions conducted before Lilly Icos began selling Cialis, women whose partners used Viagra or Levitra complained that '''It feels like there's three of us in bed' -- the man, the woman and the pill,'' said Matt Beebe, United States brand team leader in Indianapolis for Cialis. After hearing of the potential 36-hour duration of Cialis, men and women ''described the concept of wanting to choose the moment,'' he added, which ''helped us shape our advertising.'' Cialis's slogan is, ''Will you be ready?''

The Grey Worldwide agency in New York, part of the Grey Global Group, spent three years developing the Cialis campaign. The basic insight was that ''it takes two to tango, but no one was paying attention to the relationship,'' said Millicent Badillo, the senior vice president for account services at Grey who oversees the account. ''Cialis is restoring what you were doing before you had erectile dysfunction, and that's a heck of a place to be.''

Such enthusiasm led to some creative discussions that had to be reined in. One ad, for example, shows a woman rubbing the bald head of a man washing his car. ''We could have taken it to the hose moment,'' Ms. Badillo said, ''but that's not where we wanted to go.'' For the most part, Grey and Lilly Icos have relied on the bathtub image, now as symbolic for Cialis as the tire swing for Levitra and the blue, diamond-shaped pill for Viagra. ''It's associated with all the good things'' patients want, Ms. Badillo said, ''intimate moments, taking your time, being stress-free.''

''It isn't a quickie shower,'' she added. ''There is no rush here.'' That low-key approach -- trying, as Toniq's Ms. Swanson put it, to ''keep to a certain level of taste'' -- could help Cialis pass muster from critics of the more explicit ads in the category, even if the Cialis campaign must include that disclaimer about the four-hour side effect.

TASTE is why Grey chose his-and-hers bathtubs rather than a shared hot tub. ''We don't want to put Cialis that close to the sex act,'' Mr. Beebe said. ''You won't see a lot of sexual innuendo: a train going through a tunnel, a football going through a beat-up tire.''

That jest, clearly aimed at Levitra, points up another way the brands' fight mimics more traditional consumer-product skirmishes: rivals take potshots at one another. For example, the commercial run by Levitra for the Super Bowl featured Mr. Ditka suggesting that football is superior to baseball, a sport that Viagra has sponsored.

''It would be lovely to see them use more humor,'' said Ms. Simmons of Tierney Communications. She said she was bothered by how many of the ads so far have concentrated ''on the man figuring out how to get 'it' done.'' Humor not only lightens the mood, she added, but also acknowledges that ''men and women have been talking to each other about sex in veiled terms for centuries.''

One idea she offered gratis to the drug makers: hire the comedian George Carlin to discuss erectile dysfunction in the context of his routine about ''the seven words you can't say on television.''

''He'd be hysterical,'' Ms. Simmons said, ''and he's the right age.''

Continue reading the main story

First posted: June 11, 2014.

Updated: October 2016 and beyond.

In the last few years, Social Media has grown from being a mere digital channel for “socializing” with other media, into one of the most powerful digital marketing tools for brands and businesses. It has proven a very cost-effective way for promotion and advertising in a new, subtle and very personal way that businesses are doubling their Social Media Marketing budgets during the next five years.

Many businesses are jumping into the Social Media Marketing (SMM) bandwagon, many of which are not even properly planning or assessing the effectiveness and the impact of SMM for their companies and brands. In truth, there are two sides to the SMM coin. One promises profitable success, particularly if SMM is done properly and effectively. On the other side, SMM may prove detrimental to your brand, bringing in results that maybe opposite from what you expected.

So, Digital Marketing Philippines attempts to provide you with this definitive guide that will highlight the Pros and Cons of Social Media Marketing, so you can make intelligent decisions that will be instrumental in setting the fate of your overall digital marketing efforts.

For 2017 and beyond, we have made this new and updated infographic for the Pros and Cons of Social Media for Business:

The Pros of Social Media Marketing for Business (Original 2014 Post)

Businesses going gaga over social media? You can’t blame them for Social Media Marketing does have its perks, and the following will tell you why.

1. Social Media Marketing is Low Cost

One of the main advantages of SMM over traditional media advertising and other digital marketing channels is the considerably lower cost that makes it very appealing for businesses. The most popular social media networks are practically free to join and all tools for interacting with other people are all available for free.

However, to get more marketing mileage for your Social Media Marketing efforts, businesses are investing on a full SMM campaign strategy. These investments are ranging anywhere from $75-$200 hourly rates for SMM consulting to a $3000 to $20,000 a month full-press strategy that includes content generation, page/group setups, digital design, and SMM maintenance.

The industry average for SMM is somewhere between $4,000 and $7,000 a month but this is still relatively a lot more cost effective than the 10.4% of revenues spent on marketing many companies spend on the average.

2. Social Media Marketing Caters to a Big Audience

One of the main advantages SMM has over traditional media marketing is that traditional marketing only caters to a fixed audience (eg. regular magazine readers; TV viewers) while SMM has the potential of reaching out to a very big audience that is totally unlimited in scope and reach – from around the globe. This big audience is the main reason why 92% of digital marketers highlighted generating more exposure for their brands or business with their use of SMM.

Social media marketing also caters to wide demographics regardless of sex, age, and social status. Right now, a big 89% of Internet users that are aged between 18 to 29 years old are actively participating in social media activities. That’s a big market if you are targeting your products or services at this age range. If you’re targeting the 65 and older market, you can reach up to 43% of them through social media marketing.

On top of that, your SMM reach can go beyond your targeted demographic market. People’s friends, relatives and networks go beyond their own demographic, paving for you new channels for generating leads or sales – if people share your content to these networks.

3. Social Media Marketing is Fast

If you have something to promote or have some news or fresh information that you would like to share or inform to your target markets, you can rely on Social Media Marketing for fast action and fast results. You can even synchronize your website with your social network channels, so automatic or fresh updates are immediately disseminated once you have something new available. This can be good for your business as two-thirds of adults online that use social media channels like blogs can have their purchasing decisions influenced by what they read in these blogs.

4. Social Media Marketing Generates Interaction

One of the problems many business have with traditional means of sales and marketing is maintaining a good, long-term relationship with their existing customers. The beauty of Social Media Marketing is that it is based and is powered by social interaction, which in the long run develops trust you and your audience. The more you nurture a regular interaction with your audiences, the more you’ll generate a better and longer term of relationship – that would spell profitable results for your business.

5. Social Media Marketing Nurtures Brand Loyalty

The more you have healthy interactions with your targeted audiences on social media that definitely boost your online reputation, and in the process develop brand loyalty. A person-to-person and more interactive relationship with your targeted audiences means that you care for them, which in turns generates trusts – which in turn breeds loyalty.

6. Social Media Marketing is Good for Customer Service

Many customers spend time on social media channels and if they have something to say to a brand or a company, they would go through their social media page. They would voice out their praises, suggestions and complaints through these channels, providing you with a highly interactive and very personal means of providing good customer services by listening and responding to what they have to say.

The Cons of Social Media Marketing for Business

Just like anything else in this world, nothing is perfect, even Social Media Marketing. While there are considerable benefits with the use of SMM, there are also dangers to its use that can result in detrimental impacts to your business.

1. Social Media Marketing is Time Consuming

Industry reports say that up to 64% of digital marketers spend at least 6 hours on Social Media Marketing. A good 37% on the other hand spends more than 11 hours on SMM. This is relatively time consuming for many business owners who want to get results from their SMM efforts. The problem however is if not done correctly, all your SMM efforts and the time spent on these will deliver totally useless results or traffic that will not convert into leads or sales.

2. Social Media Marketing Generates Negative Users

One of the problem with Social Media is that it attracts all sorts of people, even the negative and malicious ones. These negative elements include spammers, scammers, trolls and all other sorts of malicious individuals all out to do harm to your online reputation. These includes negative comments which, while most are truly valid feedbacks, some are just intended to spread negativities against your brand.

3. Social Media Marketing Makes You Lose Control

What you publish online, especially through social media channels, can really go viral and spread like wildfire in the online sphere. This can prove beneficial for you if it generates positive results. On the other hand, you really have no control over what you publish online and everything is available for anyone – including negative and malicious elements online. They can use your materials to criticize you or spread erroneous information that will damage your online reputation.

4. Social Media Marketing ROI is Hard to Define

A recent study highlighted that up to 89% of digital marketers really would want to know the ROI of their social media efforts. Only 37% can measure the results of their SMM, while another 35% say they are really not sure if they are measuring ROI properly – and 28% say they really don’t know how to measure ROI at all.

Based on what has just been presented to you, Social Media Marketing does deliver some tangible, favorable results for your business. It is just a matter of doing things right and sticking to the best practices. Otherwise, you’ll end up with opposite results for your SMM efforts that may do more harm for your business that what your intended SMM goals were.

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