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.
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.
February 28th is Rare Disease Day , a day dedicated to raising awareness of the nearly 7,000 rare diseases affecting nearly 30 million Americans. In other words, as many as one in ten Americans are suffering from a rare disease.
Globally, rare diseases affect more than 250 Million people. [Read more on FDA's site for Rare Disease] Find out how you can support Rare Disease awareness at NORD and EURORDIS
In the U.S., a rare disease is one that affects fewer than 200,000 people. This definition comes from the Orphan Drug Act of 1983 and is slightly different from the definition used in Europe.
Besides dealing with their specific medical problems, people with rare diseases struggle to get a proper diagnosis, find information, get treatment and to connect with others like themselves. As expected, the rarity of their conditions makes everything more difficult.
With the explosive growth of the internet and social media platforms, people with rare diseases are connecting at unprecedented rates. Rare disease marketing is fast becoming the poster child for pharma's version of long-tail marketing.
Today, Susannah Fox (@SusannahFox) of the Pew Internet & American Life Project issued a report "Peer-to-Peer Healthcare" based on a national telephone survey of 3,001 people in September, 2010 and an online survey of 2,156 members of the National Organization of Rare Disorders (NORD) in December, 2010. [You can also read Wendy White's blog at Siren Interactive outlining her take on rare disease insights coming out of the Pew study.]
- People are increasingly looking for others like themselves. One in four internet users living with chronic diseases (23%) say they've gone online to find others with similar health concerns. By contrast, 15% of internet users who report no chronic conditions have sought such help online. And not surprisingly, those living with rare diseases who responded to the online survey far outpaced all other groups, including those living with chronic conditions, in tapping the wisdom of their peer network.
- Some of the most notable interactions involve people who meet online for the first time. This was especially the case in the rare disease community
- When asked about the last time they had a health issue, 70% of adults in the U.S. say they received information, care, or support from a health professional. Fifty-four percent of adults say they turned to friends and family. Twenty percent of adults say they turned to others who have the same heath condition. I agree with Susannah Fox, "The oft-expressed fear that patients are using the web to self-diagnose and self-medicate without reference to medical professionals did not emerge in our telephone survey or special rare disease survey. Advice from peers is a supplement to what a doctor or nurse may have to say about a health situation that arises."
- Despite media and online hype, the majority of health care conversations happen offline; Just 5% of adults say they received online information, care, or support from a health professional, 13% say they had online contact with friends and family, and 5% say they interacted online with fellow patients.
- Patients are using professionals and peers for different kinds of information. When asked who is more helpful when you need a certain type of healthcare information, doctors and healthcare professionals scored highest for technical information, including medical diagnosis, information about prescription drugs and recommendations for other doctors or hospitals--where as fellow patients, friends and family scored highest for obtaining emotional support in dealing with a health issue and a quick remedy for an everyday health issue. Both groups were equally helpful in providing practical advice for coping with day-to-day health situations.
What can Pharma and patient marketers learn from the Rare Disease Community and their love of internet connectivity and peer-to-peer healthcare?
Perhaps it comes down to this...
"Alone we are rare. Together we are strong."