Category: Dissemination / Implementation
Direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing is increasingly being applied to promote the use of evidence-based practices for behavioral health. The Marketing Mix, also known as the 4 P’s, is a well-established DTC marketing framework used to guide data collection across 4 domains: Product (i.e., attributes of product/service); Place (i.e., where consumer prefers to receive treatment); Price (i.e., costs consumer is willing to tolerate); and Promotion (i.e., how consumer prefers to receive information). The present data come from a larger study testing DTC marketing strategies among parents of adolescent substance users. Our goal was to examine parent preferences across 3 P’s (Place, Price, Promotion) and test how responses varied as a function of parent or teen characteristics known to influence consumers’ responses to DTC marketing.
Parents (n=411; 86% female) were recruited for an online survey via emails sent across six Rhode Island middle schools, social media postings, and listservs for youth behavioral health providers. Eligible parents were primary legal guardians of teens age 12 to 19, concerned about their teen’s current or potential substance use, and US residents. The sample was 88% non-Hispanic Caucasian, 66% college educated, 38% of teens had previous treatment, and the median household income, per capita, was $25,000. Parents were asked their preferences about: how (Promotion 1) and from whom (Promotion 2) they receive therapy information, out-of-pocket costs (Price), and therapist location (Place); response options were unique to each question and guided by a prior qualitative study (Becker et al., 2015). Chi-square analyses evaluated parent responses by race/ethnicity, income per capita, education, and teen treatment history.
Most parents preferred to receive therapy information from their teen’s pediatrician (43%; Promotion 2). However, parents whose teens had a history of previous treatment were significantly less likely to prefer information from pediatricians (p < .01) or school counselors (p < .05) and instead preferred recommendations from other parents (p < .05). Parents generally preferred to get therapy information via a website or brochure (68%; Promotion 1). However, parents with college degrees significantly preferred brochures (p < .05) while less-educated and lower income parents significantly preferred TV ads (p’s < .01). Preferred out-of-pocket costs (Price) differed significantly by parent education and income, with less-educated and lower-income parents willing to pay much less for treatment (p’s < .001). Most parents preferred to receive therapy in a clinic focused on adolescent health (53%; Place), though less-educated parents preferred a clinic focused on substance use (p < .05). Additionally, those whose teen had a history of treatment were more likely to prefer a clinic focused on mental health, and less likely to prefer their pediatrician’s office (p’s < .05). Using the Marketing Mix framework, we consider how these results can be used to create tailored DTC marketing strategies to facilitate dissemination of evidence-based treatments for adolescent substance users.