DM Helps Health Start-Up Compete

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Pharmaceutical start-up Global Health Alternatives is placing its flagship product on the same store shelves as established drug companies thanks to the exposure generated by direct response media.


GHA, a subsidiary of Natural Health Trends, Portland, ME, will include an insert for its over-the-counter Natural Relief 1222 arthritis medication in a national new product mailing by Publishers Clearing House next month. Although exact figures were not disclosed, GHA president Joe Grace expects the mailing to reach millions of households and allow his company to build brand recognition and market share more efficiently than mass-market pharmaceutical giants.


"Because of direct marketing, we can buy media affordably and are able to compete with the big companies," Grace said. "You have to be smarter and more efficient. Direct marketing is our way to have the same kind of impact for a small percentage of what they are paying."


Jim Hanson, director of general merchandising for Publishers Clearing House, Port Washington, NY, agreed its their monthly new-product mailing is targeted specifically to the mature customer base GHA is trying to reach. It has placed an advance order for 12,000 units of Natural Relief 1222 and requested the company to maintain reserve inventory of 6,000 units.


Publishers Clearing House drops new-product mailings at least once a month and according to Grace will continue to include a product as long as it is selling. The number of new product offers varies by mailing and Publishers Clearing House doesn't guarantee category exclusivity.


GHA rolled out Natural Relief 1222 last summer with a two-minute DRTV spot featuring dancer Donald O'Connor that it broadcast for four months to build brand awareness before introducing the product at retail.


A Publishers Clearing House mailing also helped build brand awareness for the ThighMaster product Grace marketed while with a company called Body Solutions.
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