Medico-Marketing Copywriting – Write With Your Ears

In the pharma industry, copywriters are also called as medico-marketing writers. While in the western and countries, this job is done by specialized and trained professional copywriters, in India and Bangladesh, brand managers are responsible for medico-marketing writers

Brand managers therefore need to produce engaging copy, clear text for different channels such as leave-behind literature, websites, medical print ads, and more.

So whom should we learn from? Obviously from the best copywriters in the world. But before we do that, let us know the nuances between copywriting and content writing.

Copywriting and content writing

While copywriting is to sell your brand to your doctors, content writing often informs, educates and may even entertains the readers.

The main aim of copywriting is to persuade a doctor to prescribe your brand. Content writing on the other hand, keeps them informed about your brand and may be even educate them.

Copywriters write headlines, taglines and slogans, Content writers write for websites, microsites, blogs, social media, e-mails newsletters and white-papers. For instance, what you are reading now is content writing.

Learning from well-known copywriters

Undoubtedly, the greatest copywriter I know is David Ogilvy.  He says in his book “Ogilvy on Advertising”

“Your role is to sell, don’t let anything distract you from the sole purpose of advertising.”

“If you (medico-marketing writers for we in pharma) don’t start doing your homework, you won’t have a chance in hell to produce advertising that’s successful and that sells.”

“Write great headlines and you’ll have successfully invested 80% of your money. On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

Let us learn from a few more copywriters who are in the Hall of Fame.

John Caples says that one of the most frequent reasons for unsuccessful copywriting is that advertisers are full of their own accomplishments. They forget to tell why you should buy or why a doctors should prescribe you brand.

Do not write “World’s best pain relief product”. Instead write “Brings smiles on millions of patients who have pain”.

Now let us listen to Eugene Schwartz. He says ‘Write with your ears”. The essential step – in turning an item into an ad, is turning yourself into a listener. You listen two ways: first with your ears, and then with your eyes. You hear everything you can about the product, and then you read everything you can about the product.

Lazy ears produce bad ads. Sharpen them.

I also admire Joe Sugarman. He writes that when people perceive general statements as puffery or typical advertising babble, those statements are at best discounted or accepted with some doubts. By contrast, statements with specific facts can generate strong credibility.

Don’t write “Anti-spasmodic  used by millions of paediatricians in the world”. Instead write 7548 paediatricians in India have used this anti-spasmodic in infants and have seen a smile on their mother’s face”.

What is the lesson we can learn from Claude Hopkins? Although born in the 19th century, he is followed by copywriters even in the 21st century. He says “express briefly, clearly and convincingly”.

Don’t write “Install our hospital app to really alleviate the stress and pain of getting admitted to our hospital” Instead write “Our app helps to get emergency patients admitted to hospital in flat 30 seconds”.

Many of us are following Victor Schwab unknowingly. He writes in his book “How to Write a Good Advertisement: A short course in copywriting”, about the five steps in writing a good copy. And the last but important step is “call for action”.

When a medical representative tells a doctor “Please prescribe today so that your next patient gets immediate pain relief”, he is following Victor Schwab.

And one of the greatest copywriter from India was Bal Mundkur, the last great advertising nawab, as Economic Times describes him. He once said: “A copywriter must know everything there is to know about the product: how it is made, what are its special attributes and features, the market it is to play in, who are the likely competitors. Only then will the copywriter be able to transform the product into a brand.”

And who well this fits in the Bangladesh and India, where we market branded generics and nothing much to differentiate say between a famotidine of Torrent Pharma or of Sun Pharma. 

Developing copywriting skills is a continuous never-ending process. One skill you need to apply in abundance is the power of emotions. Like David Ogilvy says, “stuff your conscious mind with information so you always have plenty of material to work with”. Digging deep into valuable sources of information will enable you to confidently state key facts, form stronger opinions, and offer better solutions in your writing is the best lesson I learned from David Ogilvy.

Written by:

Vivek Hattangadi – Chief Mentor at
PharmaState & The Enablers

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