Back to Basics: 5 Classic Pharma Marketing Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Dear House Rules,

I want to add as many “bells and whistles” as possible to the marketing campaign for my product, but I don’t have the budget to support everything I envision. What are some simple things I can do to get my existing tactics to work harder?


Need to Add Value, Not Cost

Dear Value,

It’s easy to get blinded by the latest, shiniest tactics in pharma marketing—it seems there’s always something new. But if marketers aren’t careful, it’s also easy to make elementary mistakes. Here are some of the most common errors pharma marketers make, so you can be on the lookout.

1. More Words = More Smarts, Right?

Not necessarily. Although you have to provide enough content to satisfy FDA regulations, you don’t want to overwhelm consumers either. The fact is, viewers aren’t going to take the time to read an email, flyer or social media post that contains multiple paragraphs of information. The best way to offer all of the data patients need without getting too wordy is to use bullet points. This will let you convey everything you need to say about each medication in a user-friendly way. 

2. Pay No Attention to that Man Behind the Curtain
Every drug has side effects. Some companies only find out some of the more serious events after the drug has been released. According to PharmaExec.com, it’s common for marketers to leave out negative information from their ads, such as news that their products may be pulled from the market. This fear of losing sales takes priority over the need to be seen as credible companies. If you create ads without this essential information, patients and doctors are going to have a negative view of your business and view all of your future marketing campaigns as untrustworthy. Is that really a risk worth taking?

3. Who Needs Apps, Anyway?
The one bit of technology you should never ignore these days is the smartphone. Given that consumers spend more time using the Internet on their smartphones than they do on their computers, it’s critical to have an outstanding app that is device-agnostic and highly functional. Creating great-looking, workable mobile apps to market your products can really resonate with your customers.

4. They’re Patients, Not People!
Actually, they’re both—and people first. Add small personal touches to your campaigns, like testimonials from real patients who have used your products, to draw people in. Tapping into the emotions of your customers will make your product more relatable to your audience.

5. Same Old, Same Old
When the FDA approves a certain message, it can be quite a challenge to deviate from it even a little bit for fear of running afoul of legal and regulatory personnel. However, customers will quickly get bored with seeing the same campaign played out over and over. Switch it up with different images, updated offers (if applicable), interesting formatting, or new links. These tactics can keep an already-approved campaign from “going stale”—and can stretch your budget too.

Avoiding these common mistakes is a great first step. For even more success, be sure to partner with an agency that combines strategic and creative expertise to make the most out of your marketing spend.

About Xavier Creative House

Founded in 2013, Xavier Creative House (XCH) is an award-winning healthcare creative agency specializing in pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device. XCH’s global team of brand builders and healthcare marketers, tech-savvy go-getters, and innovative dream-vetters are passionate about the big idea that changes behavior in the healthcare marketplace. They believe life is about connections and that healthcare is about life. That is why XCH delivers bold and evocative creative solutions, amplified by meaningful technology, to energize brands and authentically connect with patients and HCPs.

Where Healthcare Brands Live®

For more information, contact

Sunny White
Founder & CEO of Xavier Creative House