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.
During my webinar, while there were many great questions posted, the majority seemed to center around the challenges of INTEGRATION and how to best keep the brand or company's core promise front and center--and to ensure that technology changes are incorporated without becoming distractions. While this has always been a marketer's dilemma, the need for greater focus and integration is now at it's highest point ever as suggested by the many questions:
- Integration within brand teams and across internal support teams i.e. digital, data base, PR, social media, customer service
- Integration across outside agency partners spanning offline and online, web, mobile and social media platforms
- Integration of digital web and social media with brand objectives, strategies and brand positioning/branding elements
- Overseeing a strong brand core throughout the online and offline marketing process, including prioritization of consumer (and physician) digital communications and tactics that work hardest to build customer relationships within the context of the core brand promise.
Here are a few initial thoughts to consider. Each company and brand must establish an internal brand champion that 'owns':
- protecting and ensuring that the core brand promise is upheld
- is responsible for making the tough calls across specialists after team input
- helps prioritize the most important strategies and tactics to achieve brand objectives and to strengthen the brand promise.
While this sounds a lot like the old consumer brand manager job I used to have way back, the old 'hub and spoke' brand manager role popular in the 80's and 90's has been largely abandoned as many companies moved to a more politically acceptable 'shared ownership' mindset. I believe that this is now leaving a marketing and leadership void with current brand heads not really seeing their role as champions of the brand promise, and many of whom see themselves as too senior to be involved in execution...(but isn't this exactly the place where the strategy meets the customer?) This suggests that a course correction may be in order to encourage brand marketers to step up and lead with tighter vision and perhaps closer to the traditional brand management role. Read a recent and interesting article from the New York Times called: The Auteur vs. The Committee.
Growing marketing specialists are working on each brand, in a world with multiple customers. Brands need a champion more than ever; someone to protect and drive relevance and resonance of the brand promise as their primary responsibility- along with highly tailored metrics- in a spirit of collaboration and trust. And I recommend that company senior management re-establish expectations for brand leads to champion a brand. If it continues to fall in the middle, brands will be weakened by brand leads not wanting to step up and deal with the political ramifications of saying no to someone or some group or some agency...
This is further exasperated in the pharmaceutical industry, where brand teams are often large and span multiple customers, physician and consumer. This creates situations with many same-level brand team members working across different channels and platforms, often with not enough oversight in the area of whether their strategies, tactics and execution are strengthening the brand core promise. The continued move away from block buster drugs may help to refocus and resize brand teams, but there still needs to be a greater focus on ensuring a strong brand promise is well established in all processes, across all disciplines, including offline and online education, communications, clinical development etc.
How do you develop and integrate digital strategy? I hope that you'll leave your ideas and comments below!
I hope to write more on the changing role of marketing managers in future posts.
For those of you like me who were unable to attend ExL Pharma's Digital Pharma West (DP West) Conference June 27-30, 2011 (#digpharm), you missed a fascinating presentation by Jeff Bauer, Ph.D., a health futurist and medical economist, called Forecasting the Future of Health Care: Challenges & Opportunities.
Fortunately, I had a chance to speak with Jeff and delve into his presentation and insights. Trained as a meteorologist, an economist and a medical professor, he is uniquely qualified to “forecast-not predict” the future of healthcare…
To read the full article and five key takeaways that we'd all be wise to integrate into our thinking, click here to go to ExL's Digital Pharma blog.
On July 12th, I participated in a virtual Panel Discussion: The Rules of Engagement – Can Regulated Businesses Like Pharma and Healthcare Embrace Social Media? This is part of the Social Media In Pharma Summit that is taking place online from July 12-August 4th (#socialpharm).
I was one of four panel members representing a mix of experience and geography:
We were charged with speaking to these four questions:
- Is social media right for Pharma?
- How can pharma get started in social media? What are the first steps?
- Who in pharma is doing a good job of using social media?
- What are some industry best practices navigating the complex regulatory environment?
Here are 10 key discussion points and best practices discussed by the panel:
- Social Media is her to stay…health is social. It’s now part of doing business in today’s rapidly changing world. It’s not if Pharma should proceed, but how…The ultimate goal is “collective action” (great term by Alex Butler).
- Social Media is not the strategy but a tactic and needs to be fully integrated with other brand and company efforts.
- Getting started with Social Media means first focusing on the “why”—What are goals and objectives? Objectives may be big and/or small, but will drive KPIs and measurement.
- Selecting which SM tactics to focus on requires thinking through how well a SM tool fulfills objectives and other key criteria: Meets media/SM habits/savvy; Disease and Competitive considerations; Resources/skills needed to establish and maintain, and Fit with company values/risk appetite.
- Discuss product promotion vs. disease education upfront (US only)—but panel strongly suggests that disease education not be a distant second to brand sell.
- Evaluate internal and external risk tolerance…honestly!
- SM demands a rapidly changing environment – need to be able to quickly adapt and evolve.
- An iterative approach can work well—it is OK to ‘dip your toes’; no need to try to launch with every SM tactic all at once!
- Partner with Regulatory and Medical/Legal teams in developing strategy and tactical plans and do so early in the process. Ensure that processes are in place before going live. Maintain effective lines of communication across all internal and external constituents throughout the development and implementation process.
- Use strategies and lessons learned from other areas of oversight and review—but don’t wait for too many case studies or you’ll be too late!
BTW, if you haven’t yet signed up, you may want to check out the agenda which includes many interesting presentations still to come, including a Facebook Case Study by John Pugh, Boehringer Ingelheim; Leveraging SM Platforms to Enhance Patient Relationships by Eileen O’Brien , Siren Interactive; Are You Mobile? The Impact of Mobile on Social Media by Xavier Petit, Shire; Digital Brand Strategy in the NOW Economy by me, and Online Social Presence in the World of Pharma by Chris Brogan of Human Business Works.
Note: slide presentation was created by Eileen O’Brien and Ellen Hoenig.
Here are six thought starters I see coming out of Prevention Magazine’s 14th Annual Pharmaceutical Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) Advertising Study.*
1. Generic growth continues to put downward pressure on DTC ROI's.
2. DTC continues to positively impact conversations with the doctor, but there is a general decline in patients receiving the prescription drug--a significant drain on ROI.
3. Consumers value Pharma websites, but opportunity exists to improve their value with less focus on 'benefits-only' messaging.
4. Consumers are consistently looking for Pharma to provide more information about the safety and risks of prescription medicines.
5. Social Media and Mobile Health are still in their infancy in helping consumers to gather information about prescription medicines and to manage their healthcare.
6. Consumers are interested in new health IT and advanced treatment solutions to help improve their health.
1. Generic use continues to rise with 36% reporting that they’ve switched to a generic prescription or OTC medicine in the past 12 months to reduce healthcare costs. With Generic medications now accounting for 78% of all retail prescriptions dispensed (IMS Health), this has sizable potential implications for any brand’s DTC Adverting ROI.
Be sure your DTC ROI fully factors in what your brand’s current insurance status is and the use of generics and OTC’s in the particular disease you’re competing in. Since managed care and formulary status is often out of the typical scope of a consumer brand marketer’s role, it’s often overlooked or underplayed. But given the impact that economics can have on a doctor’s grant rate and a consumer’s fill rate, this is increasingly a critical factor for DTC ROI but a difficult one for consumer marketers to dramatically impact.
2. While DTC advertising continues to positively impact conversations with their doctor about the condition, treatment options and specific medications they saw or head advertised, there is a general decline in patients receiving the advertised drug. This year 33% reported receiving the advertised medication that they talked with a doctor about, down from 45-50% five to ten years ago.
While increasing generic use, economics/insurance tiering and the absolute number of available prescription options available to Physicians to write for a particular condition may be impeding doctor grant rates, given its impact on ROI, an honest evaluation is needed to think through how well your brand’s request will be granted in this current environment. This means a ‘tough-love’ assessment taking into account factors such as: 1) product uniqueness in the eyes of the Physician/KOL, 2) competitive market share position, 3) insurance and Medicare status, 4) consumer usage dynamics, including use of generics and OTCs.
3. Online Search for a specific medical condition or illness and/or prescription medicines is down slightly in 2011 and back to 2005 levels. However, 65% still say they have gone online for information on a specific medical condition or illness and 37% for a specific prescription medication. Among those searching for information on a specific medication, risks, side effects and benefits are the top three information needs.
Additionally, consumers see the value of Pharma brand websites. Among those that go online for prescription medicine information, 49% looked at medicine’s brand site and 44% found them very useful. Only general health sites and non-profit or government sites ranked higher.
Interestingly, Pharma’s websites ranked more useful than patient community sites. This seems consistent with the Pew Peer-to-Peer Healthcare survey data as outlined by Susannah Fox that showed that patients turn to different sources/constituents for different types of information i.e. to the doctor for accurate diagnosis and prescription treatment options, to patients for emotional support and everyday tips and workarounds. While Pharma specifically was not studied in the Pew survey, it makes sense that consumers would turn to Pharma and their websites for specific product information, such as clinical information or how to properly use/store the medication, financial offers etc.
Online and website marketing are critical brand elements that must be perfectly integrated across all communication channels. While consumers find Pharma brand websites useful, opportunity exists to further improve value by looking to provide consumers with information and support ‘beyond marketing your pill and brand benefits’.
FDA mandates ‘balanced risk and benefit’ communication, but often the actual risks and side effect language is largely driven by FDA and regulatory teams, and not written for the average patient/caregiver for maximum learning—an important missed opportunity. How much creative time is spent thinking about how to optimize visual and written communication of side effects and safety information vs. brand’s benefits? Showing patients how to improve overall well-being? Pharma websites would benefit.
4. Consumers are consistently looking for Pharma to provide information on safety of a prescription medicine first and foremost, but also information on risks, effectiveness, financial options and disease state information. The desire for more safety and risk information was suggested in multiple sections of the survey: online search results (see pt. 3 above), when asked what topics represent ‘acceptable’ posts from Pharmaceutical companies, 71% reported safety of an Rx medicine, and in their strong interest in ways to help them manage their prescriptions through more safety and risk information (see pt. 6).
Pharma would greatly benefit from providing more consumer-friendly information on the side effects and risks of their brands, including helpful tips and potential work-arounds. It’s time to stop taking an old-fashioned marketing view that mandates that only a brand’s positives should be discussed. Consumers are smarter than that; companies that provide balanced and helpful information/tips will enjoy greater trust and potentially greater adherence. Many categories of medications are well known for both important benefits but also significant side effects. Why not help consumers better manage these side effects so that they can enjoy the positive benefits of the treatment vs. getting frustrated and stopping treatment?
5. Consistent with other studies, Social Media and Mobile Health is still in its infancy in helping consumers gather information about prescription medicine.
- While 63% view social networking sites, 14% say they used social media for information about prescription medication (It is not clear in the report if that is 14% of the 63% or 14% of the total population.)
- Further, among those that use social media for health information, 56% say social media is about info on a medical condition, 33% say for possible treatment options and 32% for reviews/ranks of doctors.
- Additionally, 12% use their cell phone to look up health/medical information and 7% have an App that tracks or manages your health.
- And among a variety of social media tactics, video (YouTube) ranked among the most ‘useful’ for prescription medicine information, ahead of Facebook, blogs and health forums/message boards, and equal to patient community and medicine rating sites.
Clearly, Social Media is not THE answer for pharma marketers, but should be part of a broader integrated brand strategy. This study also continues to suggest that social media in Pharma will work best for education and supporting ‘comparison’ of treatments and specific reviews/rankings of doctors, medications and hospitals—in other words, more patient education and less brand-specific ‘sell’ with perhaps one exception being video product demonstrations.
6. Consumers report high interest in new IT and advanced treatment solutions to help them manage their health. For example, consumers say they are very or somewhat interested in…
- Having digital medical records you can use with different doctors (59%)
- DNA tests to determine conditions/diseases you are susceptible to (57%)
- Medicines that are customized to your DNA (56%)
- At-home tests to diagnose non-life-threatening conditions/diseases (49%)
And to help manage their prescriptions medicines…
- A program that checks your medicines for negative interactions with each other (40%)
- Program that tells you about the risks of a medicine (38%)
- News about the medicines you are talking (36%)
- Program that automatically refills your prescription (34%)
- A reminder to refill your medicine (31%)
- A reminder to take your medicine (23%)
It is time for Pharma to support adoption of digital medical records to help patients better manage their health and relationships with their physicians. Additionally, easier ways to understand and manage the safety and risks of prescription medicines remains an unmet need for many patients and their families. Though caution here is recommended; often what consumers say they want and what they actually will pay for and use aren’t always the same…:-)
What about you? Any other important takeaways you see from the 2011 Prevention DTC Survey?
Other helpful information:
The Pew Internet American Life Project: The Social Life of Health Information, May, 2011
The Pew Internet American Life Project: Peer to Peer Healthcare, February, 2011
Prevention: 2010 DTC Study, by World of DTC Marketing
*The Prevention Wave 14 survey was conducted via telephone interviews from April 27-May 8, 2011 with a nationally representative sample of 1,507 adults living in the U.S.
Originally posted on e-Patients.net, click here to read post and comments
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.
What is a medical error? Medical errors happen when something that was planned as a part of medical care doesn't work out, or when the wrong plan was used in the first place. Medical errors can occur anywhere in the health care system and can include errors that involve Medicines, Surgery, Diagnosis, Equipment and Lab reports.
The 1999 ‘To Err is Human’ study set off an urgent call for healthcare improvement. In 2001, this brought an equally famed report, Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century which outlined a comprehensive strategy and action plan to foster innovation and improve the delivery of care.
However, despite the intense efforts and improvements over the last decade, a new study published in April’s Health Affairs, estimates that medical errors may be 10 times more common than previous estimates—And errors may occur in as many as one-third of all hospital inpatient admissions. A second study in April’s Health Affairs estimates that the annual cost of measurable medical errors that harm patients was $17.1 Billion in 2008. Pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores but much more serious and painful, were the most common measurable medial error, followed by postoperative infections and by postlaminectomy syndrome, a condition characterized by persistent pain following back surgery. A total of ten types of errors account for more than two-thirds of the total cost of errors, and these errors should be the first targets of prevention efforts. [click here for the top medical errors and largest cost]
Many of you might be thinking, “is a bed sore really worth all of this fuss”? A few years ago, I might have thought the same thing. But after my diabetic father scratched his foot on a piece of coral off the coast of Australia that set off a deadly infection almost costing him his life and limb, and keeping him hospitalized for close to two years, he got a terrible pressure ulcer, or bed sore. For the two years my Dad was hospitalized, struggling with his leg, raw with infection that had spread from his ankle to his knee, what do you think bothered him the most? He’d lie in bed in a desperate state saying that his bedsore ulcers were the most painful part of his illness…He had months and months with terrible pressure ulcers that just wouldn’t go away and left him in constant pain and despair. So when I look at these statistics, I cringe remembering the pain and agony my father faced…It’s not a statistic I can easily gloss over.
“Without doubt, we’ve seen improvements in health care over the past decade, and even pockets of excellence, but overall progress has been agonizingly slow,” said Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Susan Dentzer. “It’s clear that we still have a great deal of work to do in order to achieve a healthcare system that is consistently high quality—that is safe, effective, patient-centered, efficient, timely, and devoid of disparities based on race or ethnicity.”
So where does this leave us today? ”e-Patient Dave”deBronkart says, “Any patient or family member who wants to be responsible for their care needs to have their eyes wide open about the imperfections of health care delivery. They have to understand that the best path to quality and safety is an open, empowered team approach; both goals are served by everyone realizing the full extent of the problem.”
What can patients and caregivers do to help prevent medical errors?
The single most important way to help prevent errors is to be involved in your healthcare, to be an active member of your health care team, and to take part in every decision. Research shows that patients who are more involved with their care tend to get better results. Based on the latest scientific evidence about what works best, the AHRQ outlines 20Tips To Prevent Medical Errors. Here are a few of their recommendations:
- Make sure that all of your doctors know about everything you are taking. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and dietary supplements.
- Make sure your doctor knows about any allergies and adverse reactions you have had to medicines.
- Ask for written information about the side effects your medicine could cause. If you know what might happen, you will be better prepared if it does—or, if something unexpected happens instead. A study found that written information about medicines can help patients recognize problem side effects and then give that information to their doctor or pharmacist.
- If you have a choice, choose a hospital at which many patients have the procedure or surgery you need. Research shows that patients tend to have better results when they are treated in hospitals that have a great deal of experience with their condition.
- If you are having surgery, make sure that you, your doctor, and your surgeon all agree and are clear on exactly what will be done.
- Speak up if you have questions or concerns.You have a right to question anyone who is involved with your care.
- Ask a family member or friend to be there with you and to be your advocate. I asked a nurse for her thoughts. Here is what NurseLoretta said, “The single most important way to help prevent errors is to have a family member with the patient at all times. This is the best way to keep all the medical professionals on their toes and focused on the patient.”
- Learn about your condition and treatments by asking your doctor and nurse and by using other reliable sources. For example, treatment recommendations based on the latest scientific evidence are available from the National Guidelines Clearinghouse™ at http://www.guideline.gov. Ask your doctor if your treatment is based on the latest evidence.
Many Patients’ Bill of Rights exist to support and guide patients. Here are two examples: the Patients’ Bill of Rights for New York State and the American Hospital Association’s.
The Lesson: e-Patients and caregivers -- get involved. Medical Errors Are Not To Be Dismissed!
Here are six themes that I took away from this year’s DTC National Conference, which took place in Boston April 6-8, 2011. You can also read the tweets from #DTCN2011, Wendy Blackburn’s recap of Day 1, or take in the video interviews by Pixels & Pills.
1. Everybody has a story…Major life ‘events’ are what catapult a person, patient or caregiver to step into an active e-patient and patient advocate role. Myrtle Potter’s near tragic medical event is leading her down the patient advocate path and focusing her efforts behind improving patient literacy and engagement.
At WEGO Health , they say that each health activist has a unique story. However, they become a health activist when they are talking about health every day and offering support and advice to others online—to the tune of an average online audience of more than 15,000 every month.
2. It’s not one tool or media platform that is the answer, but the right mix of media and relevant content delivered real-time. In other words… TV isn’t dead and social media is currently over-hyped... This was illustrated by a number of presenters:
- Jamie Turner, Chief Content Officer of the 60 Second Marketer echoed that as marketers our job is to create preference. While social media is over-hyped, it can still be a great tool in the marketer’s tool chest, but it is only one! He outlined six ways that companies can make 'money' with social media: branding (@oldspice), eCommerce (@delloutlet), customer feedback (@starbucks), customer retention @delta and lead generation (drive to website)—I would also suggest a seventh: customer service (@zappos).
- Leading Social Media Won’t Wait: Health Activists Speak out, Industry Speaks Up, Jack Barrette @healthyjack , CEO of WEGO Health, kicked off making the point that “Social Media is not a tool--its a fundamental way to engage and respond to our customers!" Jack shared the WEGO 2011 survey update to the original 2009 survey presented at DDMAC for #fdasm. Some of the key points: Health activists want Pharma in the conversations; they also want Pharma to help correct misinformation about their products (a lofty and challenging goal for sure). You can read Jack’s presentation here. [Jack led a great panel with strong pharma representation, but it likely would have been better with live health activist participation too.] [presentation]
- IMS Health presented data showing that TV and Print can still deliver healthy ROI’s (north of 200%). While overall Pharma promotional spending is down, DTC media spending has held constant at approximately 17% of total pharma spending. Additionally, the top 25 DTC spenders are actually spending more in DTC and professional promotion.
- Fariba Zamaniyan of TRA Global presented a new product offering for Pharma – a partnership with SDI, a HIPAA-compliant leader in anonymized patient level data and analysis, making them the first media and research company to electronically match a television audience of 1.2 million households with prescription behavior from more than 1.6 billion prescription claims to provide a single-source sample of 620,000 households called TV-HealthRatings™ powered by TRA.
3. It’s not enough to provide useful, helpful information; content must also be:
- Served up in a way that is fun and intriguing to break through and make a difference—‘Infoentertainment’ –the way to get important information and messages out there. –The Doctors.
- Delivered with a human touch-- Jack Barrette of WEGO Health warned Pharma, "whatever you do, please use real people from your company"...
- Curated and reduced to its most important, simple elements—Jamie Turner, The Doctors
- Wrapped around strategy and context; “Content is King” was the unwritten theme of the Optimizing Website panel at the pre-conference workshop as outlined by Buddy Scalera.
4. Viral is near impossible to predict—So why do many companies think that they can? Tara Parker-Pope, writer of the health blog, “Well” on NYTimes.com shared her interesting perspective on what blogs generate the greatest engagement (hint: dogs pull better than cats!) and how she manages comments on the Well blog.
5. The DTC ROI discussion is alive and well…and there are some interesting new technologies and tools that may spur DTC learning, efficiency and effectiveness. 'The Great DTC Debate' panel was a lively conversation. While STM predictive models weren't really discussed, the panel recommended pre-testing when possible and real-time learning once in-market.
- Asaf Evenhaim, CEO of Crossix, an innovator in using Rx-based analytics to allow real-time optimization of marketing budgets and calculation of ROI, based on actual Rx information.
- Scott Reese, CEO of Wool Labs, a leader in business intelligence through social cognition provided insights to crowd- sourced learning.
6. There is Continued Risk ahead for Pharma and DTC Marketers…
- Mike Sauers, Team Leader DTC Group 1, DDMAC outlined recent FDA organizational changes and the addition of a 4th reviewing group to keep up with pharma communications—In 2010, over 78,000 2253’s were submitted to DDMAC. These additional resources will increase focus on DTC web and off line advertising…And mean more DDMAC letters?
FDA is proud of ‘The Bad Ad Program’-- recruiting doctors to help blow the whistle on 'bad' DTC and Professional pieces-- 28% have been for DTC ads to date. [Derma-Smoothe website warning letter was the first from DDMAC's Bad Ad program http://bit.ly/hHHqa2 via Wendy Blackburn]
Sauers reviewed four recent FDA letters, many of which, it is not surprising that DDMAC issued letters…same ol, same ol…use of testimonials… overstatement of efficacy...minimization of risk...indication creep… Sauers’ advice to Pharma: if you wouldn’t feel good about substituting the amount of risk for the amount of benefits in your ad, then the ad is probably not well balanced!
Mike Sauers also presented a ‘one page’ update regarding timing for DDMAC’s Social Media Guidelines coming out of the November 2009 advisory meeting ( #fdasm) . The FDA script: While Social Media and web communications are among our highest priorities, social media is complex and we don’t want to act hastily to put out a guidance that will quickly be out of date when a new technology or platform is introduced…. “It is very difficult to provide a timeline for a well thought- out, useful guideline…"[Presentation]
Or is this just what Jack Barrette tweeted: GGP = godawful government procrastination?
Pharma’s dilemma: With consumer trust still very low, waiting for SM guidelines and doing nothing may not be a wise decision either…And this may be a case of be careful for what you wish for…DDMAC SM guidelines may not make our lives easier…or improve patient engagement.
- Amie O’Donaghue, a social science analyst at DDMAC, provided an overview of the many research studies that are in place, including a topline of their Distraction study (TV Only) that has been underway since 2007! Some of the takeaways seem to be that Supers facilitate risk communication, but don’t necessarily negatively impact benefit communication or attitude towards the drug. Brand logos may have a neutral to negative impact on consumers…
- Jim Davidson gave his annual update of the Washington regulatory and legislative landscape:
1) DTC advertising is once again at risk in the upcoming Washington debate given our sizeable budget issues---comes down to ad spending deductibility and the potential dollars this represents to government.[$37 Billion to be exact—Or is this just an old scare tactic as John Mack tweeted? ]
2) It's time to refocus the message of DTC. Patients need to see the value, what it's capable of; understand potential safety issues…[Is that possible for branded DTC ads? Or is he really suggesting that DTC ads only be unbranded and condition educational?] [presentation]
What was your take on this year’s conference now that it is behind us? Did I miss any key points?
Lastly, congratulations to all those agencies, clients and consultants whose communications won a DTC National Advertising Award. [At Advance MarketWoRx, we too, were honored to have received one for best new drug launch.]
Latest link to all presentations online- here.
With 2011 galloping along and 2012 planning just around the corner, we’re excited to share our Brand Champion Health Check -- a complimentary eBook designed to help marketers and business leads assess their company and brand’s health, and to consider what actions will power successful growth.
While the eBook centers on the Pharma and healthcare industry, it is also highly relevant to any consumer brand.
Champions know that staying in top health is critical and that early detection is key to avoiding costly down time and poor performance - can even mean the difference for survival. However, unlike the many patient health screens available or the ease by which consumers can go for their annual physical, marketers do not have ready access to a thoughtful, comprehensive health check-up.
The Brand Champion Health Check screens three parameters:
The eBook includes links to helpful articles and recent books that are particularly relevant to the five risk factors. We wish to thank each of the authors for being able to leverage their valuable content.
We hope these pages will provoke plenty of ideas and discussion for boosting your business. We would be delighted to hear your thoughts or comments below.
Wishing your brand "good health"!
If you are new to the blog, and you like what you read, we hope that you’ll sign up for continued articles via email or RSS feed.
Design credit: Laura Steur-Alvarez
Photography: iStockphoto, Getty, and Bigstock
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."
This is further supported by Dr. John Medina in his work, Brain Rules: Rule#10 Vision Trumps All Other Senses.
Other recent articles: Ad Age Digital's Why Data Visualization is About To Become Very Important for Your Brand by Oren Frank, AdWeek's: Seeing is Believing by Bob Greenwood and NYTimes: When The Data Stuts Its Self by Natasha Singer provide additional support for this growing field.
One has only to watch the animated statistics -developed by Dr. Rosling and Gapminder- to show the disparities in health and wealth around the world to see the power of advanced animation visualization to help viewers spot trends on their own. Dr. Rosling's video clip from the BBC on health and wealth statistics has been viewed more than four million times on YouTube.
As Natasha Singer writes, "Visual analytics play off the idea that the brain is more attracted to and able to process dynamic images than long lists of numbers. But the goal of information visualization is not simply to represent millions of bits of data as illustrations. It is to prompt visceral comprehension, moments of insight that make viewers want to learn more."
"The purpose of visualization is insight, not pictures", says Ben Shneiderman, founding director of the Human-computer Interaction Laboratory at the University of Maryland.
The growing field of 'data visualization' (DaViz), beyond its original roots in academia and science, has implications for companies, governments, marketers, agencies...For just about anybody who wants to convey huge amounts of information in visual, interactive displays.
- Can data itself become an asset of a brand and a pillar to visually enhance the brand's story? Can DaViz even suggest a new product idea?
- Can DaViz help garner attention and encourage learning and action? Should it be included in every new creative brief to act as a strong reminder for creative exploration?
- What opportunities can DaViz offer for pharma companies as they think about how to most clearly communicate and motivate consumers, doctors and even sales people? For example, could 'tree mapping' offer unique ways to more clearly communicate and motivate sales reps?
- Does DaViz offer unique opportunities to create next generation dashboards that can help consumers better understand lots of data and increase positive behavior? e.g.: making sense of daily blood sugar scores, exercise regimens, cholesterol numbers etc.
But like anything, there are benefits and risks. With Data Visualization, customers can become more engaged when visuals help them filter information and allow them to make discoveries on their own.
On the risk side, Professor Shneiderman warns that tools as powerful as visualization have the potential to mislead, or confuse consumers. And privacy implications can arise as increasing amounts of personal, medical, financial data... become widely accessible, searchable and viewable.[via NYTimes article]
But given how our digital society is evolving, with data being produced at an exceptional rate, I think it is undeniable that DaViz will become increasingly important to each and every marketer and business person today. It is poised to become an important element of brand marketing going forward.
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Illustrations: 1) The World of Data, Oliver Munday for GOOD.is, October, 2010; published by A Lapierre and S Pierre 11 25 2010, Data Visualization- How to Position Your Company in Digital Marketing. 2) What is Data Visualization? Infographic explaining data visualization, visually. See below.
With the exponential growth in mobile adoption, technology and new apps, mobile is on everyone's list for 2011 and beyond, and rightfully so. The mobile "product" and "channel" offers numerous opportunities for all marketers, healthcare and pharma included.
Consider some of the facts:
- Mobile will be the primary digital connection for both existing and new customers. [Forester]
- Today there are well over 400M phones in the US, over 350M applications available for the iPhone and counting with more than 10B downloads. [Forester]
- Mobile users will surpass desktop users in 5 years. Mobile growth is the fastest in communications history. [Mary Meeker, KPCB]
- Physician adoption of mobile devices is astounding. Chilmark Research estimates 100% of physicians will have a smart phone and use content apps by 12/31/2013--with touchscreen tablet saturation by 2015. Smartphone Apps now focus on communication, alerts and decision support. Clinical reference content is currently leading mHealth apps, but will evolve with the growth of iPad and other touchscreen tablets to provide more flexibility, personalization, patient education...
- Of the 85% of American adults who use a cell phone, 17% of cell owners have used their phone to look up health or medical information and 29% of cell owners ages 18-29 have done such searches. [Pew Internet Mobile Health 2010]
I listened to Julie Ask from Forester provide her thoughts for marketers: Top 5 Mobile Imperatives. [A FierceWireless Webcast]
Here are the five key takeaways, with plenty of implications for Pharma and Healthcare Marketers developing mobile health strategies:
- Drive Towards Convenience- Forester considers a product or service convenient if: The Sum of Benefits > The Sum of Inhibitors. Mobile services- both web and applications- should address three core benefits: Immediacy, Simplicity and Context (which today usually involves location, time of day or past user behavior). Delivering on these core benefits is critical to delivering a positive customer experience. What does simplicity mean for different patient segments? How do you provide context for your patients? doctors?
- Focus On Customer Needs- Go beyond pure marketing or selling to offer value add content and services. "What's in it for them?" e.g.: Walgreens new "refill by scan" fulfilled patients' needs for easy prescription refills. Customers appreciate when their needs are met!
- Mobile Is As Much Product as Channel. This suggests not limiting mobile to just marketing or commerce- but introducing companion mobile services. Mobile can support customers throughout their journey. How can mobile support your patients/ caregivers throughout their health or treatment journey? During discovery and consideration, physician identification and dialog, pharmacy purchase, trial, retention, and if you are lucky enough, advocacy?
- Divorce the PC. The addition of new technologies will push mobile phones well beyond the PC. e.g.: Remote health monitoring; 3d cameras enabling augmented reality, gesture control; chemical sensors enabling breathalyzer, food freshness, CO detection etc.
It's also critical to think about mobile as its own product and channel and not to force current web graphics or tools into mobile applications. The mobile experience is driven by different factors than the 'desktop web' experience--use case, location, urgency. Improving the Mobile experience can't be accomplished by measuring activity alone like might be done for web--requires understanding of behaviors based on what consumers are doing and seeing with their mobile device in the real world, and requires ability to identify where consumers/patients are struggling with mobile user experience.
- Be Nimble. Mobile is dynamic...plenty of uncertainty is in the horizon such as: new devices- just as the iPad came in- will disrupt; new means for controlling devices such as the Kinect will change our paradigms for how we control machines; new business models will appear; mobile will replace existing devices, tools and services; user context will be multi-dimensional etc. Focusing on on-going improvement is a must...as technology and learning evolves.
And there are always the specific considerations to work through for Pharma and Healthcare Marketers:
What are you most excited about for mobile health? How are you fulfilling doctor or consumer needs with new mobile strategies? Where do you see the greatest challenges?
For additional reading: The Influence of Mobile Apps on Pharma: an eyeforpharma special report; the Path of the Blue Eye Project's first breakfast presentation Mobile Health: Hype and Hope by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn,of THINK-Health; Four More Must-Read Mobile Health Reports by mobilehealthnews, including slides below from their webinar last month; Mobile Health 2010 by Susannah Fox, Pew Internet
Photo image credit: Courtney Justice-The Cournell Group / stock credit: M. Brubeck
Walgreens Refill By Scan image-credit: Business Wire
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”!
Ginger’s Guest post:
100 years ago, living well with diabetes wasn’t an option. Today, a person living with diabetes can live a full life. We can play sports in school, go the prom, go to college, get married and have children. Today, we can have careers, set athletic records and win golden medals in the Olympics. Today, life for a person with this disease is almost limitless.
The only catch? You have to get your diagnosis and take full responsibility of your disease.
Unlike many other illnesses, the most common symptoms for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are hard to miss when you stack them all together: unusual thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, irritability, blurry vision, unexplained weight-loss, and extreme hunger.
Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes also include frequent bladder and gum infections, cuts and bruises that are slow to heal, and tingling and numbness in your hands and feet.
The diagnosis in the hospital is the easiest part: a quick prick of your finger and a urine sample will tell your doctors whether or not you have diabetes.
Living with this disease every day is not easy and it’s not simple, but it’s absolutely possible to live well with diabetes.
The secret? The secret is to take on this diabetes as a new challenge that you will face every day.
Do you have to do it perfectly? No. In life with diabetes, “do the best you can” is your only goal.
Living with diabetes is about much more than just checking your blood sugar and taking your medication. It’s about being proactive, resilient, and determined.
When I see a high or low blood sugar on my meter, I step back and ask myself, “Okay, what happened here?” I’ve learned through my own endeavors in powerliftng, and in everyday life with this disease, that there is a reason behind every number. Some of those reasons, I have control over, and some I simply don’t. But understanding why my blood sugar was high or low prevents me from ever feeling guilty about my imperfections as a person with diabetes and helps me to prevent it from happening again.
Living with diabetes is also about paying attention to the small details, designing you own "controlled experiments" and taking responsibility for what is in your control!
One of the most challenging aspects of living with diabetes is trying to balance your blood sugar during exercise. When I first started focusing on competitive powerlifting, I knew I didn’t want that aspect of diabetes to get in my way and interfere with my progress.
What I learned, and wrote about in depth in Chapter 9 of my book, is that even if I wasn’t diabetic, I would absolutely eat carbohydrates and protein before exercising. As diabetics, we tend to resent that we “must” eat carbohydrates before exercise, but as an athlete, I know that it actually fuels my metabolism during my workout and increases my athletic performance! It’s crucial!
I also learned another secret--the best time of day for me to exercise without having to worry as much about my blood sugar... It's about exercising first thing in the morning on an empty stomach when your glycogen storages are empty because your body is forced to use fat for fuel and therefore your blood sugar won't be reduced. This certainly isn't something I made up or discovered, but it is very UNKNOWN in the diabetes community. Original promoters of this exercise approach are bodybuilders, but it is scientifically accurate and is something I practice DAILY. Learning about this physiological aspect of the human body has made using the stair-master much easier for me!
Living with diabetes, today, is about taking charge of your own health. 100 years ago, we didn’t have that option. Today, I’m grateful that along with my diagnosis, came the ability to take control of this disease and live a great life.
Thank you Ginger! And don’t forget to check out her new book “Your Diabetes Science Experiment” and her awesome YouTube videos. My personal favorites: #12 My Diabetes Rant, #13 Insulin Is NOT A Cure, #16 Diabetes Burnout, #20 Your Diabetes Pizza Restaurant, #25 Diabetics Are Awesome!