Marketing powerhouse, Pfizer, began back in 1849 as a chemicals company. Today, it is a $45 billion global enterprise and is one of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world. Pfizer's core products include: Aricept (Alzheimer's disease), Celebrex (pain), Diflucan (infection), Lipitor (high cholesterol), Neurontin (pain and epilepsy), Norvasc (high blood pressure), Viagra (erectile dysfuntion), Xalatan (glaucoma), Zithromax (infection), Zoloft (depression), and Zyrtec (allergy).
The ultimate goal of Pfizer's marketing strategy is to increase drug sales, which, for prescription pharmaceuticals, can only be accomplished by increased prescription writing. Pfizer targets every possible outlet to achieve this, including direct-to-consumer advertising (in the United States only, DTC is prohibited in European countries), direct to physician targeting (also called physician detailing), and direct to managed care organizations (to get its drugs listed on formularies for reimbursement).
The goal in direct-to-consumer advertising is to prompt a patient to visit a doctor and specifically ask for a prescription for a Pfizer drug. Excellent examples include Pfizer's television campaigns for Lipitor and Celebrex. Pfizer only directs marketing dollars to such an untargeted medium when the patient population is large, and there is significant unmet need for the indication·i.e., there is no therapy available that adequately treats most of the patient population with the condition (as is the case with both high blood pressure and arthritis pain).
While DTC campaigns are good to raise consumer awareness, Pfizer's ultimate goal is to get a physician to write a prescription. As such, most of its marketing budget is spent on pharmaceutical sales reps who engage in an activity called physician detailing. Here, physicians are segmented and targeted in numerous ways, including geographic location, medical specialty, and prescribing volume (i.e...