How to reach consumers in a market where DTC is not allowed

Chang Dae Ham, Jong Woo Jun, Hyung Seok Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study explores the characteristics of the rapidly changing South Korean (S. Korea) pharmaceutical market, specifically focussing on the erectile dysfunction drug market. The S. Korean drug market is in the middle of a significant transition stemming from a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States, as well as the separation of dispensary services from Korean medical practices. Due to strict restrictions on DTC (direct-to-consumer) marketing in S. Korea, the role of BTL (below-the-line) marketing has received a considerable amount of attention from both researchers and industry marketers. Little is, however, known about its real-world application to a fast-moving market such as one finds in S. Korea. Thus, the understanding of how BTL can be applied to a specific market would be meaningful for the elaboration and implementation of marketing action. The findings show that the most useful and most frequently used marketing communication tools for erectile dysfunction drug marketing in S. Korea were academic symposia and public relations (PR) events. While their primary marketing target was doctors and pharmacists, marketers also use various BTL marketing tools to communicate with consumers. By using press releases about their activities, they effectively convey their brand information to a general target audience. Finally, the implications of BTL marketing for researchers and practitioners are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-168
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Medical Marketing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Marketing


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