Here are but a few of the many thoughtful blogs and predictions written in 2011 covering pharma marketing, social media and ePatient happenings...
“It wouldn’t be New Year’s if I didn’t have regrets.” -William Thomas
What did you learn this year?
What will you do differently in 2012?
Enjoy...and wishing you all a most joyous, healthy and prosperous new year!
Pharma Marketing and #fdasm
AZ Heatlh Connections: FDA Issues Social Media Guidance, Real World Challenges to Communicating Real World Experience
Back of the Book: Is Your Brand Healthy and Thriving? Complementary eBook
ePharma Rx: Social Media Posts That Keep Pharma Up at Night
exl Digital Pharma Blog: Transform or Be Transformed: Digital Pharma East Day 2 Wrap-up
GSK: First In Health: The Medical Home Approach to Disease Management
Health Affairs Blog: Patient Medication Aderence: The Next Act
Healthy Conversations: New Insights for Healthcare Marketers: IBM Global CMO Study
Ignite Health: The Ticket Store Game Launches Online
Impactivity: How Can We...?, Doc Driven or Rep Driven?
Med 2.0: The 6 P's of Social Health- Reflections on SXSH 2011
Pew Internet & American Life Project: Pew Internet Health, The Social Life of Health Information 2011
Pharma Marketing Blog: Social Media Guidelines May be Moot if This Court Decision Holds Up
Pharma Executive Blog: Should the US Gamble with Risk Sharing?, 10 Emergency Brand Building Questions
Pixels and Pills: Adapt or Die: Why Pharma Needs To Get In Line, The Tyranny of Tech: Can Your Business Work Unplugged?
Science Roll: 12 Predictions for Healthcare, Technology and Innovation in 2012, Top Medical Social Media Stories of 2011
Siren Song and PharmPhorum: Rare Disease Patients are the Power Users of Social Media
Wall Street Health Blog: Best of the Health Blog 2011: CDC’s Zombie Warnings, Lipitor and Steve Jobs
ePharma and Social Media
Back of the Book: Pharma: Are you Ready to Optimize Your Digital Strategy Now?
Dose of Digital: Digital marketing Lessons From 2011's Top Memes , The Right Way to Use the Facebook Like Button
Eye on FDA: A Pharms Social Media Overview, Will Pharma Embrace Google+?
Edleman Health Barometer: Must Reads: Digital Innovation Opportunity in Health
Health is Social: X% Body + Y% Words + Z% Pheremones = The Enigma of Social Media
PharmaPhorum and Social Moon: 6 of the Best: Digital Predictions for 2012 Part 2, Part 1
Mayo Clinic: Kidney Donor Found Via Social Media
Why Dot Pharma: Why Pharma Engagement on Twitter Matters
World of DTC Marketing: Some New Fundamental Features Every Health Site Should Have
exl Digital Pharma: Think Mobile. Think Small- 14 Mobile Musts From the Mobile Experts
Intouch Solutions: Looking Forward to 2012: Mobile is Everywhere
mHealth Insight: Telecare Aware Provocative mHealth Presentation
Path of the Blue Eye: Mobile Health: Hype or Hope
PharmaPhorum and Ignite Health: mHealth- The Challenges and Opportunities Facing Mobile Electronic Health Records
Pharma Marketing Blog: Games vs. Mobile Health Monitoring Devices- Which is a Better Motivator?
ePatients and Physicians
ePatient Dave: 2010, 11,12: Patient Engagement Rising, Right into the Media Lab's Hackathon
ePatients.net: Nancy Finn: Personalized Medicine and Participatory Medicine Intersect, Ellen Hoenig Carlson: Patients Beware: 1 out of 3 Subject to Hospital Error
DC Patient: The 5 Myths of Patient Engagement With HIT
Diabetes Mine: The Best Of the Diabetes Bogosphere, Diabetes Advocacy Orgs: 2011 Milestones and What To Expect in 2012
Digital Medicine: Infographic: Rise of the Digital Doctor
Healthcare Blog: How Doctors Die
Kevin MD: The Rise of Citizen Scientists and Patient Initiated Research, Patients Who Bill Their Doctor For Being Late, I Eat Lunch With Drug Company Representatives and I'm Proud Of It
Not Running A Hospital: Really The Most Significant?
Nurse Loretta: Diabetes Doesn't Have to Slow You Down- Get Tested- Especially Young Adults and Teens!
Patient POV: Patient POV's Best of 2011
Pharma Strategy blog: Making a Difference in the Lives of Cancer Patients: An Interview with Dr. Charles Sawyers
Siren Song: The Social Media Sites Physicians Use
Six Until Me: We're More Than Our Numbers, 30 Things About My Invisible Illness 2011, e-Patient Connections: A Patient Checks In
The Well Blog: The Provider Will See You Now
33 Charts: Distracted Doctoring
I'm sure that I missed many a good post. Feel free to add ones that you particularly like in the comments section! Cheers!
Image source: Traveling Content's Blog
Day 3 of ExL's Digital Pharma East Conference [#digpharm] focused exclusively on mobile and was co-chaired by Bob Allen, Director of Mobile and Social Media, AstraZeneca and Brendan Gallagher, SVP Emerging Technology and Channels, Digitas Health.
Speaking first was Bob Allen who offered up this definition of #mhealth: “the practice of medical and public health, supported by mobile devices.”
While a smaller turnout than the previous two days for the general digital conference, the Mobile health day was jam-packed with seven strong speakers who had lots to say about why Pharma needs to “Think Mobile First’ and how Pharma can best execute mHealth strategy:
To read the full article " Think Mobile. Think Small. 14 Mobile Musts From The Mobile Experts. ExL Digital Pharma East -Day 3 Mobile Wrap-Up" click here to go to ExL's Digital Pharma blog.
Loaded For Bear: Day 1- ExL Digital Pharma East Conference
Transform or be Transformed. ExL Digital Pharma East Conference- Day2
Med Ad News Pharmalive's YouTube Interview with Bob Allen at ExL Digital Pharma East Conference
Kevin Nalty's Mobile Workshop at ExL Digital Pharma East Conference- What's Next for Pharma in Mobile?
If I were allowed but one word to describe Day 2 of ExL's Digital Pharma East Conference #digpharm, it would have to be the urgent need for transformation—the need for Pharma Co's to work faster than ever to effect internal change and to jump start meeting current and evolving customer expectations.
Throughout both days actually, speakers talked about the industry having to move from brand marketing to customer marketing, to move on your own with change or risk getting moved by others… and creating your own ‘Kodak moment’ or worse yet becoming a dinosaur…
To read the full article "Transform Or Be Transformed. ExL Digital Pharma East Conference- Day 2 Wrap-up", click here to go to ExL's Digital Pharma blog.
Stay tuned for Day 3's Digital Pharma East- Mobile Day Wrap-up...
If you missed Day 1's Digital Pharma East Wrap-up, "Loaded for Bear", click here
The recent release of Edelman’s Health Barometer 2011, continues to demonstrate how consumers are redefining what health means to them and their expectations for greater support by key constituents in their lives, including business and government.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the 2011 Health Barometer global study as presented Thursday. Or you can also read Richard Edelman’s Post: Social comes to health or Jane Sarasohn-Kahn’s post: Health is a team sport.
- 80% define health beyond being disease free.
- Lifestyle and nutrition are among the top factors that we most control and most impact our health. When thinking about their lifestyle and nutrition, friends and family are key to shaping our health.
- The knowledge-action gap in health continues…Consumers know what behaviors they should avoid, but don’t. Further, while 62% report having tried to change a negative behavior, 50% were not able to sustain their change. The top three reasons are: enjoyment of the negative behavior, addition or dependency and did not experience benefits soon enough. Living in a society where immediacy is king and 24/7 the growing norm, I would venture that “not seeing benefits soon enough” is probably understated!
- Consistent with Pew Internet Research and other studies, regular use of tools, devices and apps for managing or tracking health are still used by the minority at 20%. And younger consumers, 18-30 years old, are most digitally engaged.
- Helping others is the primary trigger of health advocacy, but experiencing a significant life event or reading or hearing information in the news are also significant triggers.
- Interestingly, 31% of consumers reported spending less time with a friend because of their unhealthy behavior. That translates to some powerful influence that each and every one of us can exert [I also sincerely hope that my two teenagers are adopting this behavior :-)]
- Patients join experts (doctors, pharmacists, nurses, nutritionists) as credible sources while those ‘without any real skin in the game’ have very little.
- Similar to studies by Prevention and WEGO Health, commercial interest doesn’t automatically detract from credibility. Consumers largely appreciate the Pharma industry’s expertise and are happy to use good information when provided.
- Health is an imperative for business. In the US, 72% rated it important for business in general to improve or maintain the health of the public. Globally and in the US, there is still opportunity for business and government to improve their ‘healthprint’. And those companies that consumers think are effectively engaging in health, the research suggest that it will help to build trust, sales and recommendations.
In other words, as we continue to think about what health means to each of us personally and to our businesses, and to consider both our individual and company/brand’s ‘healthprint’, we are reminded…
Health and sustained behavior change is COMPLEX
Health is social
Health is a team sport
Health goes well beyond the absence of disease
Health is about the 4 P’s: Personal, People, Professional, and Public
…Health is more than selling pills.
...Health is both individual and at the same time influential and far reaching to others.
We are intrigued by the launch of Is My Cancer Different? and its potential impact on both patients and the business.
Is My Cancer Different? is an unbranded educational website that promotes a movement of sharing, with the intent of prompting patient dialog with their oncologist. The simple -but compelling- question is designed to raise awareness that each person’s cancer is different and to get patients to ask their oncologist to see if their cancer might respond to a more individualized cancer treatment.
You can click on the image below to visit the Is My Cancer Different? website and learn more from their numerous- but simple -patient and physician testimonial videos.
The site supports Clarient, a GE Health Company’s new molecular test that may help doctors identify which treatment can best target a person’s particular breast cancer. Interestingly, Clarient chose to share the official website launch during the 2011 Social Health Summit #SXSH that we attended, along with many other pharma/healthcare social media enthusiasts, ePatients, and Patient Opinion Leaders (POLs). [Be sure to read Shwen Gwee's recap: The 6 P's of Healthcare]
During the conference, Is MY cancer different? received twitter support; following the conference, ePatient’s wrote blogs. Here are a few examples of the word of mouth generated over the last few weeks:
Blogs: Cancer Hawk , Diabetes in Spain, Chronic Babe, Where We Go Now, Aaron Outward, Stem Cell Transplant, Social Media Club
This campaign reflects many of the points we raised in our complementary eBook: 2011 Brand Champion Health Check.
- Are you working to deliver more personalized treatment, content and experiences? [pg. 8]
- Given smaller targets, how can you leverage existing social networks and dialog to online or virtual communities, to extend messaging to low incidence patient groups in a cost effective way? To create buzz? To enable 'peer-to-peer' healthcare? [pgs. 8-9]
- Are you speaking with a voice that reveals humanity—in a conversational tone, with personality, empathy and true emotions? Are your choice of words simple, using the language of your patients and caregivers? [pg. 10]
- Are you doing your part to stimulate patient learning and involvement; to encourage patients to be their own best advocates and health team partners? [ pg. 10]
- How can your brand help to encourage greater trust and dialog between doctors and their patients and families, to help improve patient outcomes? [pg. 15]
Is My Cancer Different? is a great example of brand champion leadership. They have committed to a challenge of 1 million shares in 1 million minutes. What do you think? Will they make it?
Feel free to join the movement and help spread the simple question that can make a huge difference in the fight against cancer. Follow @ismycancerdiff on twitter and/or facebook.
You can also learn more about the ePatient movement at epatients.net and join The Society of Participatory Medicine.
After reading a recent blog in Fast Company called The Zipcar Case: Zipping from Very Good to Magnetic, I started to consider, what would it take for BioPharma and Healthcare brands to not just be liked, but to truly be magnetic? And what lessons, if any, might Zipcar’s success suggest for the BioPhama and Healthcare industry?
While admittedly, Zipcar still has a ways to go financially, most agree that it redefined the Rental Car Market by offering consumers hassle-free "wheels when you want them"...
With success in hand and a recent IPO in April 2011 valuing the company at over $1 billion, Zipcar offers marketing and branding lessons for Pharma that transend the car rental market:
1. Start-ups create new markets, or they don’t survive. Zipcar didn’t chase the existing car rental market at airports with incremental change, they imagined a new market—car rentals by the hour, 5-10 minutes from where you live or work. Zipcar didn’t depend on market data (it doesn’t exist for a non-existent market) or simply asking consumers what they want, which often biases companies toward incremental improvements of current solutions. To quote Henry Ford, “If I had asked customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” [What Zipcar Can Teach The S&P 500 Business Week and HBR May 2011]
2. Zipcar is creating a BEMI—a “big enough market insight.” A BEMI is an insight that serves as the foundation for the creation of a major new business. To identify a BEMI, companies/brands must answer three questions:
- Is the insight big enough for your company? While it is always tempting to think BIG, the authors of Jumping the S-Curve caution that it just has to be big enough and executable.
- Is the insight valuable enough to customers? What will customers be willing to pay for the new product or services, and how many customers will exist?
- Is the insight certain enough? A genuine BEMI comes from a wise reading of technological, geopolitical, or demographic trends. [Business Week: Finding a Big Enough Market Insight]
3. Success didn’t come initially, not until Zipcar keyed in on business design and redefining its core business issue— density with a new hyper-local strategy. How to make Zipcars plentiful when Zipcar’s lack of popularity limited the number of cars available? Zipcar needed to build density because they understood that consumers didn’t want to walk more than 5 minutes to a car. This led to concentrating Zipcar’s marketing efforts in a few carefully selected locations populated by young, tech-savvy, environmentally conscious people. Once a market achieved critical mass, they expanded to the next community fueled by word of mouth.
4. Zipcar looked for new ways to fuel density, through creative partnering, including 'unlikely' partnerships. Early on, Zipcar partnered with universities to provide cars for students and faculty. [Read Harvard example] Most recently, they’ve announced a partnership with Ford on 250 college campuses—an unlikely partner given that Zipcar touts its car-sharing benefit and not having to own a car. [Ford and Zipcar in Deal on Campuses]
5. Zipcar intimately understands their customer drivers and triggers, and importantly, stays focused on delivering consistent value and customization. They understand that they need to insure convenience and low cost via proximity with clean, reliable cars and no hassle paperwork. But they also understand that each neighborhood desires different cars to drive, and they accommodate different tastes.
6. Zipcar focused on technology to help ensure service and convenience. Click here to read about the Zipcar technology.
7. Zipcar focused on segments that competitors overlooked or didn’t consider priority opportunities, such as college campuses and small business.
8. Zipcar didn’t overlook creating and supporting a unique brand personality—"Zipsters" are cool, hip, educated, smart consumers. Zipcar keeps the brand a little edgy and fun.
9. Zipcar and the market are taking a longer term view to profitability…The IPO is based on future market potential, not quarterly profits...
Implications for how BioPharma and Healthcare brands can improve their magnetism?
1. Incrementalism will no longer suffice in this increasingly payer driven and generics-dominated industry. We need to start thinking differently; focusing more on creating new markets, identifying BEMI's and trying new go-to-market strategies that answer patient insights...Supporting customer segments that are often overlooked....and feeling more comfortable that bigger isn't always better.
2. Might Zipcar's hyper-local market strategy provide some new thinking for Pharma new product launches? Can coordinated hyper-local efforts help increase traction and density among payers, physicians and patients, especially for smaller brands operating in smaller disease states? Are there some new partnerships to consider?
3. How can Pharma leverage new technologies to improve customer experiences along every touchpoint? Mobile health applications are just the beginning for what technology can mean for patients and physicians. Zipcar worked hard and long to optimize its RFID chips and GPS technology to support its unique business model. And the customer benefits of their seemless technology payed off in greater word of mouth and loyalty.
4. How can Pharma make prevention, staying healthy and treating certain diseases more hip, fun, smart? Clearly, this is a critical element to creating greater 'magnetic moments'!
Do you have other thoughts to add? Do you know of other BioPharma or healthcare companies that are leveraging hyper-local business models? Leave your comments...
How many times in the last year or so have you participated in planning sessions where the discussion centers on the strong desire for the brand or company to be perceived as trustworthy, to act with transparency and authenticity? Last week’s planning session was yet another example, giving me cause to pause…
In a world where trust is paramount yet scarce, BioPharma is no exception. The latest Harris Interactive 2010 poll continues to show Pharma close to the bottom on the trust barometer with 11% of adults rating Pharma as generally trustworthy. And with the increased public scrutiny, under which companies and brands find themselves due to the evolution of social media and ‘citizen/e-Patient journalism’; it is no wonder that anyone and everyone who touches the BioPharma and Healthcare industry is focused on improving transparency.
What does transparency mean for a company or brand today? It’s a word that seems to mean different things to different people.
Transparency, as used in the humanities and in a social context more generally, implies openness, communication, and accountability – Wikipedia
The Business Dictionary defines transparency:
- Lack of hidden agendas and conditions, accompanied by the availability of full information required for collaboration, cooperation, and collective decision making
- Minimum degree of disclose to which agreements, dealings, practices and transactions are open to all for verification.
- Essential condition for a free and open exchange whereby the rules and reasons behind regulatory measures are fair and clear to all participants.
Shel Holtz and John Havens describe it this way in their book, Tactical Transparency.
Transparency is the degree to which an organization shares the following with its stakeholder publics. In transparent companies:
- Its leaders: are accessible and are straightforward when talking with members of key audiences
- Its employees: are accessible to reinforce the public view of the company and to help people when appropriate.
- Its values: ethical behavior, fair treatment, and other values are on full display
- Its culture: the way things get done is not a secret
- The results of its business practices, both good and bad: successes, failures, problems, and victories are all communicated
- Its business strategy: a company’s strategy is a key basis for investment decisions so is of particular importance to the investment community and other key audiences
Transparency is NOT: Full disclosure. It does not mean you have to share absolutely everything about your organization or that you produce a never-ending sea of data and information in order to bolster the perception that you are keeping nothing hidden.
I like the way that Shel and John define transparency beyond the typical reporting aspect, including a focus on the actions of a transparent company or brand’s leaders and employees.
Pharma is certainly adopting more open reporting and communications in general; Most pharma companies publish their ethical standards and guidelines [E.G. click here for Pfizer’s standards] and already are or will be required to publish their relationships with Physicians due to the Sunshine Payment Act. Many are continuing to diligently work to avoid mishaps in communicating clinical drug safety, to provide employees with social media guidelines, to initiate corporate blogs etc. [E.G. JNJ BTW, AZ Health Connections, Sanofi’s Discuss Diabetes]
But, the fact remains, that few Pharma leaders speak openly to the public and few allow or encourage their employees to be visibly accessible and to ‘help the public’ (Afterall, helping might result in seeing and/or acknowledging an AE)—There are many Pharma companies whose risk profile will not allow their employees to read patient blogs or patient comments for fear that this will open them up to further FDA actions.
With the exception of Paul Levy -who as President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston became one of the first CEO’s to start a blog back in 2006 to actively communicate with employees, patients and key stakeholders- I’m not sure there are other leaders/CEO’s who are investing their time to consistently blog and openly communicate in the bioPharma industry.
Pharma: Can Transparency Lead You To The Right Path?
Earlier this year, Seth Godin wrote an interesting post: Why You Might Choose To Be In Favor Of Transparency? His hypothesis goes somewhat like this…using an example where thousands of doctors signed up for a service that, among other things, would try to prohibit patients from posting reviews…His argument goes beyond ‘truth’ or ‘choice’…it turns out that transparency increases profitability…
When consumers get used to transparency, they’re also more interested in the quality of what you sell, and are more likely to willingly pay extra. They’ll certainly cross the street to buy from an ethical provider. And once people start moving in that direction, the cost of being an unethical provider gets so high that you either change your ways or fade away….The arguments holds true for doctors. Once information about good doctors becomes widespread, patients will be more willing to seek out those doctors, rewarding the ones who consistently take better care of their patients. The entire profession doesn’t suffer (we’ll still go to the doctor) merely the careless doctors will… Sunlight (transparency) is an antiseptic and the marketplace rewards those that behave—and the entire market grows (and profits) when the standards increase.
Can the genuine act of transparency lead to greater BioPharma industry profits? What do you think? Do you have any good examples of Pharma transparency that you’d like to share?
Does your company/brand have what it takes to truly be transparent?
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.