Pharma: Are You Ready To Optimize Your Digital Strategy NOW?

Here is my recent presentation, Digital Strategy in the NOW Economy: Proactive and Real-time as presented at The Social Media in Pharma Online Summit Conference.  While this digital strategy presentation is geared to Pharma and Healthcare, it is quite relevant for all marketers with an eye to reconsidering their digital approach in the NOW Economy which demands both new skills and changes in our marketing mindset.

Slide Content Overview:

  • The NOW Economy Demands…
  • Kick-Ass Digital Brand Strategy- It’s not about technology. It is about creating opportunities for the brand/company to build deeper relationships. Digital strategy must integrate into the brand strategy and strengthen the brand’s core promise.
  • Creating and Leveraging a Digital Brand Strategy requires new skills and a discipled, fluid process. Follow these six steps to greater success.
  • Five Imperatives to Boost Your Digital IQ- Concentrate your learning on these five critical success factors for today’s marketplace, starting with 1) designing content strategy, 2) delivering ‘perfect fit’, 3) thinking digital ecosystem, 4) fostering community and 5) getting over ‘lack of control’. Are there are others that you might suggest?
  • Go. Initiate. Enchant.- Health is Social- Try something new!

The challenges of INTEGRATION and how to best keep the brand’s core promise front and center appear to be top-of-mind to Pharma right now.

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Patients Beware: 1 out of 3 Subject To Hospital Error

Medical errors are one of the Nation’s leading causes of death and injury—the famed 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) study, To Err Is Human, estimated that avoidable medical errors contributed to 44,000–98,000 deaths at US hospitals annually.  Using the lower estimate,this suggests that more people die from medical errors than from fatal car crashes, breast or pancreatic cancer, or HIV/AIDS.

In November 2010, The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General found that in  1 in 7 (13.5%) Medicare admissions experienced adverse events during their hospital stays. Further, for 1 in 70 Medicare admissions, the patient experienced an event that contributed to their deaths, which projects to 15,000 patients a month.  And that’s just Medicare!  (Sadly, Physician reviewers determined that over 40% were preventable. )

Also in November, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine NEJM reported on the first large study in a decade to analyze harm from medical care and to track it over time.  The study, conducted from 2002-2007 in 10 North Carolina hospitals, found that harm to patients was common and the number of incidents did not decrease over time.  The most common problems were complications from procedures or drugs and hospital-acquired infections.  The Harvard Medical School authors focused on North Carolina because its hospitals, compared with those in most states, have been more involved in programs to improve patient safety. [NYT Article]

So despite JAMA’s 2008 protest article suggesting that the medical error numbers were exaggerated, it appears that the situation is much worse than To Err is Human suggested. [Alternatively, an investigation by the Hearst media corporation, estimated preventable medical mistakes and infections to be responsible for about 200,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.]

The bottom line, patients have a basic expectation when they receive health care… that they will not be ‘harmed’ in the process…BUT hospitals can be dangerous.  Even good, hardworking people can (and do) make mistakes.  E-patients must be aware and engaged in everything that happens in the hospital. .. Your second set of eyes can make quite a difference. Continue reading

Data Visualization And Why All Healthcare Marketers Should Care

In a world where we are bombarded by information, targeted by mass media and social networks, what can we do to make our message heard? How can healthcare, DTC and consumer marketers dimensionalize communications in a way that draws attention and focuses learning to important information and messaging?

Data visualization provides an increasingly powerful means to not only communicate information clearly and effectively, but the wise will consider it critical to help position their companies and brands in digital marketing today.

As outlined by FFunction in it’s report ‘Data Visualization: How To Position Your Company in Digital Marketing’, “The power of visualizations comes from the fact that they stimulate the brain in a different way, by focusing attention on the sensorial and rational sides simultaneously. They act as a discovery game that incites one to focus on the displayed information that might otherwise be left unnoticed.” Continue reading

Diabetes Alert Day: Secrets from a Health Coach and Competitive Power Lifter!

March 22 kicks off ADA’s Diabetes Alert Day, a one-day “wake-up” call asking the American public to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Alert Day kicks off ADA’s “Join the Million Challenge,” which runs through April 22 with the goal of rallying ONE MILLION people to take the Diabetes Risk Test.  

 In honor of Diabetes Alert Day, and my Dad who lived with Type 2 diabetes, I want to introduce Ginger Vieira, a health coach, writer, and diabetes expert at  www.Living-in-progress.com and author of her new book “Your Diabetes Science Experiment.” She’s lived with Type 1 diabetes and Celiac disease for 12 years. As an avid athlete, Ginger has set 15 records in drug-tested powerlifting with her best lifts being a 190 lb bench press, 265 lb squat, and a 308 lb deadlift.

I was introduced to Ginger by Loretta Jamar [@nurseloretta] because Ginger acted as a health coach to her teenage son struggling with his new diagnosis of diabetes.  He found Ginger’s YouTube videos much more interesting and helpful than the typical doctor or mommy “speak”!

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A New Reality in DTC Advertising?

The last few months, I’ve been deeply entrenched in “Execution” for an important client. So needless to say, I’ve been thinking A LOT about what it takes to move from strong strategy to superb execution, and more specifically, what it takes to achieve what I call “High Return Execution” (HRE).    Look for more thoughts on HRE in the upcoming weeks… (And my sincere apologies for the resulting lack of blogging and staying connected with many of my friends’ blogs these last few months)

Today, I want to share a personal experience.  Last week my team led an advertising shoot for a prescription product’s new multi-channel campaign we are intimately involved with.  There was much to feel good about – the creative idea tested very well and is strong. We also had a terrific creative and production team, a wonderful photographer who we’ve all worked with before, and we were shooting in a venue that turned out to be magical…not to mention the beautiful picture- perfect, dry sunny days … [How can you  complain about spending two days on an unspoiled 200 acre ranch in northern California?]

But as I flew home from the shoot, reflecting upon the previous few days, I kept feeling there was something even more special … something that I rarely feel after shoots … and then I realized … Continue reading

Pharma: Is Your Brand Patient-Centered? 5 Critical Success Factors.

[As originally posted in MedAd News, November 2009]

Almost every pharma company likes to think of itself as
“patient-centric,” but prescription brands can become
patient-centered only by putting consumers at the heart of their business model through every stage of product development and deployment and by focusing relentlessly on patient experience and outcomes. This means integrating tough consumer questions and learning into every phase of commercialization. Consumers increasingly demand direct communication and they expect the kind of standards to which they are accustomed in other industries. This is a major challenge, with substantial rewards awaiting those who find their way.

Adopting five critical success factors improves success. Marketers must put patients at the center of every decision right from the beginning; translate clinical benefits to real
world health grains; encourage a more collaborative relationship between doctor and patient; improve patient and caregiver experience through the treatment pathway; and take nothing for granted, understanding that even small details can be meaningful to patients and families.

A newcomer might wonder why pharma needs reminding to center on the patient; it’s a stated part of virtually every company mission. Traditionally,
patients were not viewed as the primary customer—physicians were, and in some ways still are. New drugs were positioned to get maximum uptake and support of the primary gatekeepers: healthcare professionals, who were thought to know their patients. New products reaching their primary end points without safety issues were launched to physicians. While consumer companies can more easily design desired product features and benefits into the development process, drug
recovery is fraught with special hurdles, plus limitations of what benefits new
prescription or biologic entitles deliver in clinical use. As a result, many compounds fail before FDA approval.  Continue reading

Pharma Marketers: No Product Is An Island

Recently, I spent a productive day working with a smart group of consumer agency partners to integrate and finalize 2010 Marketing Plans for a Pharma brand we all support.

Our conversation centered around the brand promise and the patient experience throughout the decision and treatment journey: from awareness and consideration, through conversion, adherence and advocacy or brand champion. We discussed the impact of different triggers and barriers, or where we might lose consumers (leaky buckets), which targets should be high priorities and why, and how the patient journey is no longer linear. (You may also want to read The New Marketing Funnel by Adam Cohen at A Thousand Cuts.)

All the stuff you might expect a consumer team to collaborate and consider…Sounds good… EXCEPT… the work represented only the consumer team– or one of the brand’s customers.  Continue reading