Digital OTC marketing: the new equalizer between large and small players

In the OTC market, where year-over-year growth remains low to flat, more brands are embracing the importance of digital marketing to help drive stronger gains. For smaller brands seeking to punch above their weight class, digital marketing represents a great equalizer. It’s a more efficient strategy to reach a greater swath of target demographics, and when done well, the digital marketing can take on a life of its own by going viral. The savviest of marketers, though, spend heavily on digital and then challenge purveyors of traditional marketing outreach to match both the scope and price savings associated with keyword buys, social media brand building, and blogging community connections.

PharmaCare, with its line of Sambucol elderberry, immune-system boosting supplements, certainly benefited from a strong cough/cold/flu season last year, but it was a social media post that broke the bank and went viral, propelling sales up nearly 250% in 2018. In early 2018, during one of the most virulent flu seasons on record, Sambucol was one of two natural cough/cold solutions promoted by a single consumer to fight off flu and cold symptoms.  The other was Boiron’s homeopathic flu remedy Oscilococcinum. The woman’s post went viral, and within two weeks, Sambucol was sold out – the brand could not be found on store shelves. That kind of viral social media activity doesn’t happen in a vacuum, however. PharmaCare has made a commitment to building its brand identity across the digital space, including through social media.

Facebook Post on Sambucol and Oscilococcinum That Went Viral

Carma Labs is another company known for its out-of-the-box digital marketing programs. For example, in 2016, the company introduced a grant program to support entrepreneurs who were #InPursuitOf of an Unstoppable Dream.  Carma Labs encouraged entrepreneurs to follow their dreams by rewarding one hardworking “dreamer” with a $10,000 grant to be put toward achieving their Unstoppable Dream. The brand launched the program via social media, where participants entered through Facebook or Instagram for a chance to win.

Facebook Post from Carma Labs Promoting its Entrepreneur Contest

Many more examples of digital marketing strategies and how they propel growth for independent OTC companies are given in our soon-to-be published report, OTC Indies: U.S. Analysis of Independent OTC Companies. This report, due in May, provides detailed information on nearly 70 independent OTC players and is based on extensive primary research with large and small OTC marketers, with a focus on digital marketing strategies. To learn more, contact us.

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