How OTC product and fmcg goods are similar or different to salesmen

Many Ways Marketing in OTC Differs from FMCG


There is a face-level deceptive similarity between the fabric of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) marketing and Over-The-Counter products (OTC) marketing. Here are the points of differentiation. 


First, consider the challenge of forging emotional ties with consumers. As all of us are painfully aware emotional ties are important because our products’ functional value is typically commoditised.


OTC brand being humorous and referencing the value of respecting yourself 

A consumer can build up positive set of emotional associations with FMCG products — either through direct usage or built up with the aid of advertising communications. A Kellogg’s breakfast cereal can conjure up a feeling of family togetherness and rural wholesomeness, a washing powder can convey a sense of achievement in the successful completion of everyday tasks, a hint of mountain freshness in the home and a feeling of family nurturing. FMCG advertising tends to be characterised by the celebration of context, usage rituals and longer-term positive emotional benefits.


Even personal and household cleaning brands are as much about the ritual of cleaning as they are about the end result — foaming agents are added to cleaning products not because they are functionally useful, but because they serve as a mental trigger to the consumer that something is getting cleaned — that the consumer is making good progress in completing an everyday task.


How is a medical representative (MR) different from other sales executives?

Since their focus group is attending to the intellectual cream of society the need for special training in etiquette and mannerisms is felt. Fmcg sales people are flamboyant robust  raw as per the market demand.

MR (medical reps) do not sell medicines like other salesmen. They inform doctors regarding their medicines and persuade doctors to prescribe those of medicines. Real sale is done by medical shops.. MRs give free samples and gifts and money to doctors who prescribe medicines.

Other salesmen directly sell or book orders for company from shops and retail outlets.


Basic qualifications : B.Pharma / B.SC / B.COM AND middle grade companies are taking also plain Graduate.

Today’s Pharma market is very competitive where only hard working persons can survive. But if you have willingness to work hard , you can earn respectable return. So, judge or ask yourself whether you are ready to enter in this field?

 Till date few know about a Medical Representatives profession as a result when joining this profession , you may not get encouraging words. Stick to your profession, people will appreciate your sucess, you need to stick to your belief.

Have an amicable personality with  good communication skill and will to learn quickly.


How is a medical representative different from other sales executives?

There are multiple differences.

As the name suggests a medical representative is one who represents a pharma company and provides information about their product to doctors. Here the difference is unlike a sales executive who sales product directly to consumer, a medical representative doesn’t sell medicine directly to a patient. Rather, a doctor based on requirement of treatment decides on this.

A medical representative works by detailing,explain and sampling scientific information to Doctors. Hence here he has to acquire detailed knowledge about the diseases and their treatment which he should be able to present effectively to the Doctor.

In contrast, a Fmcg sales executive deals directly with consumer, presents a sales pitch and tries convince him to the buy product.

Both the roles are largely different, rather medical representative role is more specialised and knowledge based role.

Medical representatives need specialized knowledge about chemistry & pharmacy and science in general. Therefore only science graduates are accepted to become MRs. Also they are given thorough training, sometimes lasting for months, about the products they deal in before they are allowed to hit the market.

Multi National FMCG BRANDS

Brands may be able to help in ways you had never imagined?

FMCG products and therefore FMCG advertising is about making the everyday even better. Dirty dishes may not be a pleasant thing, but FMCG advertising for a dishwashing detergent is able to key into the context of the end of a successful family meal before talking about the benefits of a lemony smell, effective non-greasy results and a sense of a job well done. Dishwashing detergent isn’t advertised as something that corrects a problem, rather it is talked about in the context of improving peoples’ everyday lives. 

Immediate Relief “Over The Counter ” Drug Sales Average


In contrast, the context of OTC products is crisis rather than making a great everyday life, even better. OTC products don’t solve benign everyday problems; they solve crises (small or large). The benefit of an OTC product is in its ability to stop something out-of-the-ordinary happening — in other words, an OTC’s benefit is purely about the absence of a problem. Communications therefore tend to focus on the single point of relief — that being the only positive part of the story.


Is being a medical representative (MR) a good job in a branded Pharma company?

MR is a good job provided you have lots of patience, perseverance and a people friendly attitude.

Your working hours could be late, getting appointment of Doctors could be difficult and pushing a product quite difficult. But with above qualities, you can achieve the targets. Fixed Salary structure may not be very high but for performers, incentives are very attractive and you can save some money out of TA/DA also.


Superiors will be very pushy and keep on increasing the targets as you start delivering. They will promise you the moon and extract all that they want; but very few Senior people keep up the promises they make to MRs. Family life can be disturbed due to late working.

The experience gained will be very useful in planning out your career but one must not stick for too long at MR level. Companies may lure MRs by giving fancy designations but the job profile will continue to be the same i.e. field level job and target oriented.


Context, usage ritual and long-term emotional benefits are generally not practical focus areas for emotional storytelling in OTC advertising as the negative nature of the product (stopping something bad, rather than making something good) doesn’t as readily cater for it. Not that OTC brands are not trying, some succeeding, but the starting point is dramatically different.


Diverting attention way from the crisis to when it is not there. 

If you are interested in how humans are prone to react subconsciously against anything that signals human imperfection or human mortality (e.g. a disease), much can be learned from how patients non-adhere to their prescription medicine.

The somehow uneasy mixing of the crisis and the life you want to live. 

Impulse Buying

Second, consider the role of impulse buying. When it comes to FMCG you respond readily to marketing stimuli in store. You succumb to the delicious looks of Cadbury chocolate packaging, the discounted Volume Buy on detergent, or the scent from the in-store bakery, even though you had no pre-conceived intent to buy those items. In contrast, if you only suffer from constipation after devouring a full Xmas turkey or too much beef rendang for Hari Raya, it is unlikely you are going to jump on a “Get 2 for 1” offer on laxatives during other times of the year. Of course, there is always the opportunity to key into the fear of not being prepared when the worst happens.


They may not smile much longer unless they stock up. 

The underlying reason is that most of us luckily only occasionally suffer from headaches, red skin, constipation, allergy, flu, joint pains and similar, whereas there is a constant functional need (e.g. you got to drink every day) or emotional need (e.g. for distraction, entertainment or a feeling of success) to buy and/or consume consumer goods such as milk, peanuts, bread, Coca Cola, toilet paper and loads of chocolate.


Consumer Research 

 Consider the role of pre-purchase research. You are less likely to Google chocolate when feeling peckish than to Google rash when you skin is red, itchy and potentially in the need of a OTC skin lotion. The amount of online searches on symptoms, diseases, conditions is absolutely huge and a testimony to this fact. The searches often lead to self-diagnosis with the help of Dr Google, an intent to buy an OTC product or a decision to consult a doctor for diagnosis and potential prescription of Rx drug. The increasing prevalence of mobile research whilst the consumer is in front of the shelf in the pharmacy is an extension of the behaviour. 

The underlying cause is obviously we are dealing with a crisis where the cause of the condition should be understood in order to determine the right solution; where an efficacious and fast remedy is essential; and where safety issues are often prevalent in the mind of the consumer.

Everybody knows the need to push through despite a sore throat and cold. Halls tells us humorously we are everyday heroes (and big nosed at times) inspired by the wartime type resilience of the past.

Exposure – Purchase Lag

Consider the lag between a consumer is exposed to a brand’s push marketing and the time the consumer need arises. On average the lag is longer for Over-The Counter drugs (OTC) than for most Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG). As mentioned previously the underlying reason is that FMCGs are everyday items which cover a need for vital sustenance, address ongoing, basic, everyday human functional needs or cover a positive emotional need in contrast to an OTC where you are trying to prevent, alleviate, treat or cure a condition or disease. This means that top-of mind oriented marketing is potentially even more important for retaining OTC consumers than in FMCG because FMCG consumers are reminded by daily, habitual usage and instore visits as opposed to most users of OTC. OTC brands run seasonal campaigns e.g. allergy brands during the pollen season; skin brands in the dry season; cold medication after the holiday season, etc, in order to reduce the lag.


Top of Mind may be improved if consumers share a common cause with a brand.

It is Medicine

MR’s are selling medicine directly to consumers! The reason a product is categorised as OTC is because it contains a therapeutic agent. For safety reasons OTC products are heavily regulated, among other things, putting very significant restraint on the way in which marketing messages can (and should!) be crafted. For some countries, every campaign, every message has to be pre-approved by the local health regulatory body. This adds iterations, additional resource requirements and time to all OTC marketing execution deadlines.

Pharmaceutical sales involve convincing the doctors to suggest their medicines to the patients who are in need but in medical sales, it is all about generating revenues for the industry and company. Pharmaceutical sales are all about describing the details of the pharma products by initiating the talk with the doctor. Pharmaceutical sales aim at reaching the corners of the country with their pharma products. Pharmaceutical sales is a varied range of sales. Also, it engages stakeholders and patients groups to expand the use and understand the information of pharma products. The great influencing work helps a lot in the sales of pharma products. It also has huge rewards with huge career procession and many avenues. It also gives the flexibility to make an enjoyable schedule for pharmaceutical sales representatives which is not possible in any other form of sales.


Probiotics Drink Actimel TVC: No mention of probiotics and the potential positive impact on the immune system — most probably due to regulatory challenges. Actimel is grey area OTC namely a dietary supplement but which has gone full FMCG in their Stay Strong campaign.

Several senior executives in healthcare companies have asked whether they should hire marketing talent from FMCG companies to take their OTC marketing “to the next level”. Many FMCGs companies are surely light years ahead of OTC companies especially within digital and integrated multi channel marketing as well as their approach to creating, value added, long lasting relationships. As a testimony OTC is bottom in terms of Digital Spend in Consumer Packaged Goods. Much can be gained by adding to those capabilities to the OTC marketing team, but an understanding and experience in the fabric of the Over The Counter buying process as exemplified above remain of critical importance.


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Team DigitalGumma

A Professional Team Of Over 25 years of experience in Sales & Marketing operations, Channel (Direct & Indirect) Development and Distribution, and Key Account Management in the FMCG Sector. AREAS OF EXPERTISE Sales & Marketing: Conceptualizing and implementing sales promotional strategies as a part of brand building and market development effort. Business Development: Handling infrastructure development of sales & distribution systems and increasing coverage & penetration to have maximum market share. Channel Management: Identifying and networking with financially strong and reliable dealers/channel partners, Super Stockist, C&F resulting in deeper market penetration and reach. Ensuring cost-effective logistic operations & seamless materials movement to ascertain sufficient inventory levels at each sales outlet/ distribution channel. Evaluating performance & monitoring distributor sales and marketing activities. website has everything you need to create a fully personalized, high-quality free showcase website. Get the word out about all the amazing things you’re doing. Easily email your contacts or share on social media to tell everyone you know. Sell Anything Anywhere To Anyone. is a business development platform motivated to ideate connect propagate to millions of users worldwide. Create a beautiful, professional web presence. Our expert team members collaborate across digital marketing specialties to produce powerful results. Build your next digital marketing plan utilizing the latest internet technology, explode your online presence with a Fully Managed SEO program, and maximize your profits.

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