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Crafting an OTC Strategy

Brands can follow three essential steps to have an ‘always-on’ approach, writes InMarket's Lindsay Stewart.
Lindsay Stewart

As consumers desire convenience more than ever before, OTC brands have had a significant advantage, offering quick fixes to colds, flus, allergies and building immunity. 

The brands also meet consumers’ demand for personalized and proactive approaches to wellness that emerged as more Americans became increasingly health-conscious.

The OTC category is not without its challenges. We’re seeing increased competition amid a surge in supplement and vitamin brands. Then there’s an uncertain economic environment with record-high inflation impacting consumers’ purchase decisions.

Faced with both opportunities and challenges, it’s essential for OTC brands to maximize the moment. Brands must drive awareness with engaging, always-on campaigns so they’re not just top of mind during seasonal moments, but go-to consumer favorites throughout the year.

By uncovering your brand’s biggest moments, unlocking creativity and upleveling measurement, you’ll craft an always-on strategy that fuels enhanced engagement, sales and loyalty. 

Here are three ways brands can optimize their strategies:

  1. Uncover your biggest brand moments. Start by looking at your insights. Focus on where you’re seeing spikes and dips in sales. While your allergy or vitamin offerings might remain consumer favorites, are sales soft due to consumers adjusting doses or trading down due to price? Look to see who is winning share — competitors or private-label brands. Looking at purchase insights and conducting a lapsed/lost/low usage analysis might be helpful in pinpointing trends, new challenges or opportunities. Combined, these insights will empower a better understanding of the health of both your overall business and individual product lines, which helps ensure you’re not missing out on pivotal opportunities for engagement.
  2. Unlock creativity to drive engagement and conversion. Consider testing an immersive ad campaign. One example could be “choose your own adventure” experiences, which allow consumers to have active roles in their viewing experience. Take this strategy a step further by dynamically updating the creatives based on weather and regional insights into past purchase trends during cold and flu season to ensure you’re reaching that right customer with the right message. 
    Dynamic ad testing can also be helpful to fine-tune performance, be it the right offer or incorporating convenient services such as curbside pick-up. These types of mobile ads have proven to generate click-through rates up to 8.72%, which is more than 14.4 times the industry benchmark for mobile advertising. These creative enhancements nod to the importance of personalization, which has become a key driver in consumers’ purchase decision-making.
  3. Uplevel measurement to enhance results. Expand measurement beyond a traditional post-campaign analysis and consider adopting real-time in-flight optimization, which offers an opportunity to drive increased performance during an active campaign. Making adjustments to creatives, offers or media buys is proven to eliminate media waste up to 94% and allows brands to further optimize more than 75% of media spend. Most important, enhanced measurement helps marketers close the loop across top- and bottom-of-the-funnel campaigns, which is critical for driving awareness, sales and customer loyalty.
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It’s an exciting time in the OTC space. For marketers, it’s a time to meet the current challenges and look for opportunities by uncovering and testing new unique moments, unlocking creativity and upleveling measurement. Transform one-off seasonal campaigns into an always-on strategy that drives next-level engagement and strengthens customer relationships throughout the year.

About the Author: Lindsay Stewart is the senior vice president of sales at InMarket, where she has helped hundreds of leading brands power and measure digital campaigns. An expert in digital marketing with more than 25 years of sales experience, Stewart has played a pivotal role in driving InMarket’s exponential growth.

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