Pharma: It’s All About a People-Driven Economy, Stupid!

All summer, I’ve been watching a nearby farm’s crop of sunflowers grow and reach for the sun…In taking some pictures this weekend, I couldn’t help but notice all the bees busy pollinating these sunflowers. Interesting, it is estimated that one third of the human food supply depends on insect pollination, most of which is accomplished by bees, especially the domesticated European honey bee. (Wikipedia) How does this relate to Pharma and Social Media Networks?

Bees may be solitary or may live in various types of communities. The most advanced of these are eusocial colonies found among the honey bees, bumblebees, and stingless bees.

Eusociality (Greek eu: “good/real” + “social”) is a term used for the highest level of social organization in a hierarchical classification.

  1. Reproductive division of labor (with or without sterile castes)
  2. Overlapping generations
  3. Cooperative care of young

So where do we humans fit in? How social are we really? Is Social Media a close cousin of Eusociality?

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Pharma and Social Media: What Role Should Personas Play?

Last Thursday, I attended Business Development Institute’s Social Communications & Healthcare Conference. There were a number of good presentations for Pharma social media. One that stood out was the folksy talk given by Pfizer’s VP/Worldwide Communications Ray Kerins. Ray ingratiated the group by acknowledging that Pfizer still has a long way to go, but promised to listen and try to get it right… Or listen to Rick Wion, VP of Interactive media at GolinHarris, co-creators of McNeil’s two ADHD social media sites, speak about how to work within the regulatory environment.  Jonathan Richman also presented Healthcare and Social Media: Know the Rules.  And for conference takeaways, read Sally Church’s Pharma Strategy blog The Challenge of Social Media in Pharma as well as Steve Woodruff’s Impactivity Blog Pharma and Social Media Progress!.  Or follow the many tweets at #BDIContinue reading

How Many Customers Would Bring You Soup If They Knew You Were Sick?

Soup metric…is the number of people in your social network that you know would bring you

soup if they knew you were sick and/or get your back in any other real friend way – to help you feel better OR help your career.

flickr.com/photos/Daniel Greene

In her blog, Tara Hunt writes: “There is a misconception that there is some sort of delineation between your close-knit friends and those who are in your business network. I believe this is the result of extending the concept of bonded and bridged social ties that was first distinguished by Robert Putnum and more recently extended and discussed in business concepts by people like Ronald Burt. Though I see value in both building close (bonded) ties with people while extending the reach of your network and expanding your loose (bridged) ties, I am perplexed by the notion of dismissing the power of those connections closest to you.  Continue reading

Pfizer Takes A Page From Hyundai Marketing With New Recession Offer!

Yesterday, Pfizer announced a FREE Medicines Program for newly unemployed Americans.  The new program will help eligible unemployed Americans and their families who have lost their health insurance maintain access to their Pfizer medicines for free for up to 12 months or until they become re-insured (which ever is first).

More than 70 Pfizer primary care medicines will be available through the program, including such chronic medications as Lipitor, Celebrex and Lyrica, but not some of the costly specialty drugs for diseases such as cancer. A key requirement is that a person must have been prescribed and taking a Pfizer medicine for at least 3 months prior to becoming unemployed and enrolling in the program.

The inspiration for the new program, called MAINTAIN (Medicines Assistance for Those who Are in Need), was generated by Pfizer employees who were witnessing friends, family and neighbors struggle to make ends meet after losing their jobs.  “We thought there must be some way we could help recently unemployed people who are taking Pfizer medicines to continue treatment during theses challenging economic times,” said Dr. Jorge Puente, Pfizer’s regional president of Worldwide Pharmaceuticals, a leading champion of the initiative.  Continue reading

The New Marketing: Leading A Tribe to Create a Movement?

Every once in a while, it’s good to take a step back…

The Ted Tribe Talk: “Tribes are what matter now” just went live.  In 17 minutes, Seth Godin bring to life his story: the Internet has ended mass marketing and revived a human social unit from the distant past: tribes. Founded on shared ideas and values, tribes give ordinary people the power to lead and make big change… Everyone and anyone should step up–find something worth changing and start a movement by asking the tribe to spread the idea…

Seth speaks to the evolution in marketing from factory, to mass market and “push” advertising,  to the growth of the internet and the idea of tribes as a way to lead and connect people and ideas. He believes that tribes are what people want now–tribes can create movements that can help change the world– not because of force, power or money– but because people want to connect especially to something worth changing. Seth makes the point that its not about the numbers, but creating a movement among the people that care–the true believers–and as little as a thousand believers is enough.

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What Does It Mean To Be Patient Centric?

Almost every Pharma company today calls itself “patient centric”.  But how many truly put their patients first or have patients at the heart of their business model?

Here are 24 things Pharma-or any company for that matter-can do to get closer to being patient centric:

  1. Listen to your patients/customers. They often know what’s important. Social Media has made this much easier to do.
  2. Converse with patients…on-going if possible. Dialog is more than pushing out one-way messages…
  3. View the world through their eyes–as they see it-not as you want it to be. Try living in their shoes…
  4. Provide impeccable customer service 24/7–answer the phones, consider live web customer service. ‘The customer is always right.’
  5. Provide real- time product updates  as new information becomes available; the good, the bad and the ugly (efficacy and safety).
  6. Provide easy to understand information about your products’ benefits and risks. Might you explore use of the drug facts box? (Patient Risk Communication FDA Advisory MeetingContinue reading

Are you fully listening and absorbing what your customers are saying about you?

If you’re looking for the best “listening platform” to help monitor your brand in today’s marketplace, take a look at Forester’s new Wave report at Visable Technologies  (Courtesy of Peter Kim).

“In response to marketers’ changing needs, brand monitoring vendors are evolving to offer a more strategic and comprehensive platform.”  Forrester defines “listening platforms” as those that deliver insights to shape marketing strategy rather than simply tracking metrics.

A technology and analytics infrastructure that mines a wide variety of traditional, online, and social sources to extract and deliver insights that shape a firm’s marketing strategy.” 

Evaluating vendors across 62 criteria, Forrester found  Nielsen BuzzMetrics and TNS Cymfony to be the two early leaders due to their strong balance of data collection, analytics and consulting services.  Continue reading

DTC Marketing: Let the Good Times Roll…

Not much is feeling light and carefree these days –  it’s a time of record job loss and fear, with no specter of an upturn on the horizon.

All the more reason to lighten up where we can…

If DTC communications are part of your marketing mix or influencing web and other relationship creative,  consider the following…

I was recently reminded by my hubby that the Great Depression ushered in many new art forms such as screw ball comedy, musicals etc.  A recent quote by Gerald Celente in the 2009 Trendspotting Report suggests the same:

“During the Great Depression, arts and entertainment flourished. When times are down, people want to lift their spirits, adding that Americans have been working more and playing less. …while angry music will be part of the new tunes, there will be a reincarnation of upbeat and swinging sounds. There will also be more dance halls…They’re going to want to go out and play and laugh it up and dance like they did during the Great Depression.”  Gerald Celente, Founder and Director The Trends Research Institute (courtesy of Trendsspotting:  Influencers on Consumer Trends 2009 PredictionsContinue reading

Consumer Healthcare Marketing- Pursuing Happiness…

Pursuing Happiness  

It’s in our Bill of Rights –

It’s fundamental to the force of American enterprise

And it will drive DTC ROI

So much is shifting in our world.  What’s happening with consumers today is very different than it was a year ago, or even 6 months ago.  The mindset changes run deep – going all the way to peoples’ views of happiness and what constitutes a meaningful life.   

The book Enough. True Measures of Money, Business and Life by John C. Bogle [Founder and former CEO of the Vanguard Mutual Fund Group] and an article from American Psychologist, January 2000 reveal that:

It’s not money that determines our happiness, but some combination of these three attributes:   1) autonomy and the ability “to do our own thing”,   2) maintaining connectedness with others and  3) enjoying exercising competence and learning.

How we experience ourselves is a common denominator. 

 “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  Maya Angelou

Brands that enable people to get what they want win the day.   As Healthcare Marketers, we may be able to provide some of these intangibles…  Continue reading

Stepping up to Change in 2009…Five Marketers’ Imperatives

It’s official:  In December, the National Bureau of Economic Research declared what most Americans already knew: the US economy has been in recession since December 2007.   2008 was a year of enormous change; we’re just beginning to see the effects.

The greatest mistakes we can make – and it will be tempting – is to assume that it’s over or that our brands will somehow be immune.  Marketers are challenged to keep these 5 critical imperatives front and center:

1. Identifying new ways to drive ROI. Ensuring that less can do more is an exercise in elegance.

‘An elegant solution is one in which the optimal outcome is achieved with the minimum expenditure of effort and expense. ‘  – Mathew May, The Elegant Solution.

Elegant solutions will be ever so critical as budgets get the squeeze, requiring razor sharp focus and prioritization.

‘The more complexity there is in the market, the more that something simple stands out.’  John Maeda (MIT Lab)- The Laws of Simplicity.

Elegance requires rigor as well as creativity.  Tried and true solutions are not going to win the day.  Continue reading