Print Magazines Have Staying Power for Medical Marketers

Publishers of consumer magazines are quickly rolling out apps to appeal to readers who enjoy consuming content on their mobile phones or tablets. The transition is happening so quickly that experts predict significant erosion in the print market within the next 5 years. But there’s one sector where ad revenue has been recovering steadily since the recession ended: Healthcare publications.

For most marketers of prescription medication, a portion of advertising goes to educating and influencing medical professionals – the physicians. And a major way to reach physicians has long been through medical journals. During the first half of 2011, medical journal advertising increased 6.6% to a total of $346.4 million. Medical/​surgical marketers increased their spending by 10.2% to $199.1 million. And pharmaceutical concerns poured $210 million into medical journal ads which marked a 13.2% growth rate over the previous year. Richard Roash, president-​elect of the Association of Medical Media and VP of Slack Incorporated, suspects the  renewed emphasis on print is about ‘safe harbor.’ Industry observers also note that while print is expensive, the journals that cover one or two specialties deliver a highly targeted market.

The top advertised brands in 2011 in print so far have been Eli Lilly’s Cymbalta, and two medications from Forest – Teflaro injection and Lexapro. Eli Lilly and Pfizer are also in the top ten for online promotion as tracked by Kantar Media Evaliant. These companies are endeavoring to reach a broader group of physicians, those who read online and those who read print. An analysis by Marc Iskowitz in MMM-​online finds that medical marketers would do more online promotion but the sites that “aggregate significant numbers of physicians are running low on ad inventory.”

Industry experts expect the steady demand for print advertising in medical journals to continue through the rest of 2011 and into 20112. Many suspect that significant transitions to online channels will develop as soon as marketers can track the various formats with the same confidence they currently have in traditional print publications.

[Source: Iskowitz, Marc. Back to the Books. Mmm​-online​.com. October 2011. Web. 28 Oct. 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.