With mounting economic pressures and growth of generics, increasing political tension surrounding healthcare and DTC marketing practices, Pharmaceutical and Consumer budgets are under intense scrutiny like never before--forcing new and innovate thinking --starting with how to engage and mobilize high potential consumers to optimize ROI, and ending with focus behind the few efforts that return the most for brands and their customer segments.
Engaging the ever demanding healthcare consumer of the 21st century takes the same insight and hard work as we've always aspired to with traditional DTC efforts and MORE...Consumers today have 21st Century expectations, but little time and patience...
To continue moving from traditional DTC Advertising to DTC in the 21st Century (DTC 21): consider these six C's where ever possible to more fully engage and learn from your core constituents and consumer segments:
Content that is original, insightful and demonstrates that you know what your consumer segments want. Provide context to speed uptake. And keep it simple by focusing on what's most meaningful. Interesting and relevant content can take the form of branded or unbranded efforts, educational or interactive, serious or fun eg, healthgaming.
Collaborative Conversation --people prefer two-way diolog--no one likes to be ‘talked at or spoken to"...Find the places where dialog and co-creation can occur within the highly regulated regulatory world of pharma. Work hard to meet the expectations of today's consumer.
Customization to add relevance. Content that feels more personalized-- ‘for me'-- will consistently get more consideration and action. People love to feel like information, products and services are designed for them, to meet their personal needs and desires--and better yet--if consumers can partake in their own customization. [C.K. Prahalad's book The New Age Of Innovation provides much insight into the possibilities for personalization and co-created value.]
Community grows the feeling of connectedness, and feeling connected is a fundamental attribute of happiness (Link to "Consumer Healthcare Marketing--Pursuing Happiness"blog). Consumers continue to weigh in that peer-to-peer dialog and learning is greatly preferred over manufacturers' speak. The continued growth of many disease- oriented communities proves this out.
Consumer Confidence is built through authenticity, trust and transparency--often a concern when consumers think about pharmaceutical manufacturers and healthcare providers. The Edelman trust barometer has continually raised this opportunity.
Consistent Commitment takes time to develop and necessitates consistent actions across touchpoints and customer initiatives. One-shot and ‘flashy' initiatives may not work to demonstrate commitment. Nothing takes the place of time to build ever-lasting relationships.
The act of engagement can help consumers feel and act smarter, grab control of their healthcare needs and everyday life, and connect with others, including brands or companies.
Many in pharma are initiating new marketing and social media efforts (To see the latest go to Dose of Digital's Pharma and Healthcare Social Media Wiki); many are trying new integrated efforts across traditional and new media, and so on...some with more use of the 6 C's --The ones that are sure to build stronger engagement, trust and sales-- and some with less-Those with less may be wise to consider if their marketing endeavors fall below threshold levels of Expected Visitor Experience or EVE... [Originally coined by Jonathan Richman at Dose of Digital blog].
How are you engaging your customers? Care to share?
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The American Cancer Society just kicked off a new integrated campaign with the objective of better educating and communicating its mission to increase relevance and garner more support. The new $15 million rebranding campaign kicked off April 21 according to PR Week.
The new campaign positions ACS as "The Official Sponsor of Birthdays" and seeks to showcase that each birthday of a cancer survivor is a sign of progress and proof that more birthdays are possible...
A World with LESS CANCER is a world with MORE BIRTHDAYS
"This world is not just a dream. Eleven million cancer survivors will celebrate birthdays this year. That's a sign of progress, proof that a world with more birthdays is possible. Together we'll stay well, get well, find cures and fight back."
As part of the campaign, ACS simplified the organization's offerings into four categories: stay well (prevention and early detection), get well (24-hour call center and clinical trial support), find cures (investment it makes in the science and research) and fighting back(the work it does in the public policy area).
The campaign is unique for ACS because it targets female health care decision makers 35-64 years old (vs. previous campaigns aimed at people in their 50's) reflecting the growth of health prevention into the mainstream.
ACS asks people to visit http://www.morebirthdays.com/ to learn how you can make the ACS the official sponsor of your birthday and learn more about ACS. They've also partnered with The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) to "reinvent" the birthday cake...The CIA is currently gathering recipes with a nutritional focus that will be judged by a celebrity panel in the coming months.
"This campaign is unique for ACS because it includes the organization's largest social media push and targets a much younger demographic that it has in the past," says Greg Donaldson, national VP of corporate communications.
"The effort includes the microsite, http://www.morebgirthdays.com/, a blog, YouTube video and Facebook application that allows users to donate their status to ACS on their birthday or encourage friends to give to ACS in lieu of birthday gifts for them", said Leslie Tullio, SVP for Brodeur Partners, PR AOR.
..."Because this demographic of women struggles with time management, the use of social media applications as a way to become involved with a charity like ACS and donate money to their organization is an important part of the communications strategy...We're going to where they are, rather than asking them to take the time to come to us,"Tullio said. "We want to talk about birthdays in the frame of the organization's value proposition."
What a GREAT program on so many levels:
It captures the insight that celebrating birthdays is an ingrained emotional truism of cancer survivorship. Each birthday is a step closer to that "magical" 5 year milestone. Each birthday is a celebration with those that you love, a day of extreme appreciation.
Birthdays are magical events for all of us. I'm always amazed how important celebrating one's birthday is even to adults; each one of us seems to have a unique vision of what constitutes a 'good' birthday, built upon years of family tradition...
Today's busy healthcare decision maker does struggle with trying to get it all done and increasingly these digital Moms are chasing their kids onto social media platforms such as Facebook. (See previous blog: "Marketing to Moms? Read the Digital Mom Report") What a great new way to engage and educate more people--to go where they are, provide an easy way to get involved--vs asking them to do yet another thing by having to otherwise chase you (which we know probably wouldn't happen)
In these tough economic times, where birthday presents can often seem a little on the frivolous side-- for adults who have much of what they need in a real sense--ACS provides friends with an alternative that does good. How many 40 and 50 something birthday celebrations have you gone to where the person has graciously requested no presents? ACS offers an opportunity to honor their request but still give...
It brings cancer and its growing importance down to a personal level. How many of us, unfortunately, don't have someone close to us that has struggeled with or continues to struggle with cancer? For me, twelve years ago, my Mom was given virtually zero chance of surviving a rare and deadly endometrial cancer--Every new birthday my mom celebrates is a gift to her, to my family and her grandchildren, and to her friends...The same for my Dad, my Aunt and so on...
I hope you'll join me in making the American Cancer Society the official sponsor of your birthday...
Twitter seems to be everywhere, a national rage, bolstered by the media and such heavy weights as Obama and Oprah leading the charge...
The latest numbers released by ComScore are astounding--In one month's time, Twitter jumped 131%, growing 5 million visitors to reach 9.3 million US visitors in March...
But what does this incredable growth mean for marketers today?
Assuming that Twitter is here to stay-- and not a fad-- what skills should every marketer hone to be most successful in the Twittersphere?
9 Mandatories for Marketers:
- Every Word Counts. Choose wisely to get your point across quickly and with interest. Short and pithy is what Twitter calls for. There are many who believe that the 140 character limit actually helps improve a marketer's writing and clarity of thinking.
- Focus on words that help create imagery, emotion and impact to bring your message to life. Twitter is a one- sensory medium; it takes skill and practice to create emotional connection without the help of audio, visuals or video and motion to bolster communication. The other day, Copyblogger wrote a great blog to help in this area entitled "50 Trigger Words and Phrases for Powerful Multimedia Content"
- Speed and flexibility are integral for effective participation with Twitter. New conversations and new content are occurring continuously for all to follow and engage with. Positive and negative word of mouth often travel with lightning speed. This requires a constant presence and vigilance to track and stay on top of what's being said-- and to take definitive action..."If you snooze, you lose"...New tools are continually emerging to help organize, manage and monitor tweets and their sentiment throughout each day...but the key is taking timely action...
- Each tweet gives others a view into the 'person' behind the tweet; perceptions of the tweeter (and brand) are created quickly. Consider how to optimize your twitter brand and remain consistent with other marketing tactics and media. Twitter also requires some authentic human touches and creative leadership ...For corporate Twitter brands, the most successful ones seem to have a 'human voice' behind the company. For example, in Pharma, JNJ and Boehringer have 'people' behind their corporate Twitter feeds that respond on behalf of the company (Marc Monseau and John Pugh, respectively). Or for Med AD News, its not just a publication twittering, but a person, Christiane Truelove.
- Twitter requires being the ultimate conversationalist... creating a back and fourth momentum that includes a mix of conversations- serious, educational, fun, and personal- that create interest and value for participants--and striking the right balance of talking about yourself, listening to others and asking questions. Similar to being at a cocktail party, focusing too much on any one aspect(usually yourself), can be deadly...the traditional one-way push doesn't work well for Twitter.
- Twitter requires new learning to target, track and optimize 'impressions' or tweets. What's the ideal Twitter formula for effective reach and frequency for your Twitter brand? Who are the influential twitterers that you want to follow? Who are the influential twitterers you hope will follow you? What is the right mix of content, frequency and even timing of delivery during the day to best reach and impact prime twitters? What's the best use of Twitter to complement other on-line and off-line tactics?...the merging of media and channels is rapidly expanding...ie. Tweetups are gaining in popularity which suggests that there is increasingly an opportunity to create complementary regional meetings and outlets to further engage and extend your conversations. ["100 Twitter Tools to Help You Achieve All Your Goals" or 100 Twitter Tools by OpenJason can provide useful ways to optimize here]
- New measurement and metrics are needed depending on the objectives and role that Twitter plays in your on-going marketing efforts. While competitive intelligence may have been something that once could be hired out, and done once a quarter, or less frequently, it may now be the 'job' of each and every marketer every day (along with the help of additional outside services and expertise). There's no time to wait for a quarterly report when customers are tweeting here and now...and in the case of negative sentiment or buzz, waiting and doing nothing can further exacerbate the smoke and turn it into a full fledge fire. New tools are continuously emerging to help organize and monitor results and sentiment. To follow Twitter conversations and sentiment about your brand or a competitors, visit a recent recommendation from Janet Johnson: twendz. Other tools are included in "100 Twitter Tools To Help You Achieve All Your Goals" or 100 Twitter Tools by OpenJason.
- Everyday, people are coming up with new uses for Twitter that need to be monitored, experimented with and improved. What started as a simple question "What are you doing?" ...is now a powerful marketing tool to: meet new friends and supporters, engage new conversations, drive traffic to blogs and websites, fund raise, maximize PR, create regional/local meetings with like minded people via tweetups, create synergies with other media and mobile technology etc. The question is what makes sense for the business. There is a continuous stream of new tools that integrate with peoples lifestyles, media and even health. For example, in Pharma, new health tracking tools are popping up. Based on the blog "100 Twitter Tools To Help You Achieve All Your Goals", here's the latest Twitter tools to track your health:
- Qwitter: Update Qwitter to shame yourself into quitting smoking.
- TweetPlot: Use TweetPlot to chart your food and fitness statistics.
- Tweetwhatyoueat: Keep a food diary to track what you're eating every day using Tweetwhatyoueat.
- gtFtr: Use the gtFtr tool to record your exercise activity on Twittr.
- SugarStats: Track, monitor, and share your blood sugar through Twitter with SugarStats.
- FoodFeed: This Twitter-based food log makes it easy for you to track what you're eating.
- With each Twitter user creating new content each day, this effectively adds to Twitter's mass repository of searchable information and data--the implications for SEO and integration with other media and platforms are considerable.
Is there a tenth skill or area of expertise that you think Twitter requires of today's marketers? Or 11th or 12th?
Please leave your thoughts below or join me on Twitter...
Following last week's blogs "Pharma Companies are Beginning to Twitter" and "Building on Janet Johnson's 5 Phases of Social Media", it seems appropriate to raise some of the watch-outs Pharma and Healthcare constituents might want to consider if planning to play in the SM space [which is always difficult given the industry's conservatism and regulatory concerns regarding out of indication conversations and/or adverse event reporting], and/or you're current program is not meeting expectations.
While the industry is a buzz about SM, it's an understatement that brand teams and their partners everywhere continue to struggle with how to make sense of it and effectively move forward.
So here goes...my list of watch- outs for Pharma Social Media based upon my own experience, the many blogs I've read, and the many conversations with brand teams that I've been involved with over the last few years.
The Ten Pharma Social Media Watch-outs:
- Social Media should be considered holistically and not just a ‘one-off'. How does it fit with the brand's objectives and strategies? How can it complement current marketing efforts? SM requires the same rigor and planning that would be done for any marketing effort. But while it calls for strategic thinking, it shouldn't be confused for a strategy--in the end SM is still but one tactic or channel in a bigger marketing mix. And, sometimes it's just as important to not wait for the 'perfect' strategy as it is to start getting some hands-on experience...
- Social Media is based on principles of engagement and dialog...if you're not going to be able to partake this way, it may not be worth the effort-It's all about E.V.E. or Expected Visitor Experience(Thank you Jonathan Richman for this great acronym ). And since SM is largely based on community and dialog with other humans, identifying the spokesperson for the brand or company SM effort takes careful consideration.
- Social Media by itself does not guarantee huge brand success, WOM or BUZZ...fresh, insightful content does. Again, it's important to apply the same principles of understanding what your target customers care about and talk about. As Social Media gets more crowded, breaking out in SM will be as important as it is in traditional marketing and communications-Now more than ever, customers are looking for value, and not just repetition or more "push"/ sell communications. What is the plan to have a steady flow of interesting content and ideas? (Read Chris Brogan's blog "Elements of Good Online Content" )
- "It's not the media but the message"--This was confirmed by Dr Jean Ah Kang, special Assistant to Tom Abrams at DDMAC in charge of web 2.0 policy, in a recent interview with Mark Senak at Eye of FDA...and certainly given FDA's 14 warning letters over paid search delivered April 3rd, it's important to reflect on insuring that Risk and Benefits are balanced, immediately present, and not ‘one click away'... (You can also read The Changing Search Advertising Space for Pharma for a good summary and white paper regarding paid search implications)
- Social Media is not FREE--it takes considerable human and dollar resources...albeit far less than traditional DTC TV...it's still not free. (BusinessWeed's Dubunking Six Social Media Myths, CB's It's Just as Difficult as it Seems)
- SM requires openness, transparency and nimbleness...is your organization ready? Are there SM-friendly processes in place to enable fast turnaround and response? Are you ready if someone says something negative? It's part of the SM ethos...is a 'plan' ready if needed? (For thought starters, read Janet Johnson's What if Someone Says Something Bad)
- Start slow and build...every SM expert (of which I would not classify myself) recommends one way or another to ‘newbies': look, listen and learn before entering the social media space or a particular platform. For me personally, I found this to be invaluable advice.
- Just because SM is the sexy, cool, new fangled tactic, metrics and measurement should still be in place. Marketers need to be clear what they're trying to accomplish, with whom and by when.
- Exercise caution when choosing partners...SM "experts" are crawling out of the woodwork (Two blogs: SM Monitoring and Pharma by Sally Church and Janet Johnson's How to Tell Sherpas from Swarms) -Are you working with people that have ‘deep' expertise in social media, your customer and pharma?
- If you're not partaking in social media platforms yourself-it's time to jump in-otherwise you may not be able to fully realize SM potential for your business--After all, there's no substitute for firsthand experience--and often it's better to get started than to forever stay on the sidelines...the faster you jump in, the faster you'll find your own way and voice...
Please join me in adding to or modifying this list, either below or on Twitter.
And if you like this post, please consider joining me for more...
These days, with so much talk about Social Media, its easy to forget about the use of email to spur action. A recent study by Epsilon titled "A Prescription for Customer Engagement: An Inside Look at Email Marketing in the Pharmaceutical Industry" provides some reasons not to forgo emails as part of an integrated DTC campaign.
Considering 'my new favorite' acronym E.V.E. or Expected Visitor Experience, which Jonathan Richmond defines as 'the set of activities and functions that an average user would expect to find and use on a specific digital platform', it's interesting that unlike many social media platforms being used right now, when it comes to email, Pharma can and often delivers on consumers expectations 'to get coupons and learn about new and existing products'. According to the Epsilon study:
Based on Epsilon's work, it seems to me that there are four primary takeaways and questions that one should ask each time they're considering executing an integrated email campaign to ensure maximum success:
- Does the email offer a coupon or value exchange?
- Is it providing news and relevant information about your products or how to use them?
- Is the email personalized or personally relevant-by that I mean- does it let the reader know that you understand them and have tailored the information in the email just for them? [With so much 'smart' technology and 'real time' learning available, this is an imperative that's now easier to accomplish.]
- Is there a clear CTA...what is it that you want the person to do?
The Epsilon study is another data point...that if done right, the use of email, as part of a broader DTC Marketing campaign, can be effective not only in awareness and encouraging dialog with the doctor, but also to help reinforce compliance and persistence. The data also suggests that emails can enhance perceptions for the brands or companies that they are touting...
Generics and the Economy continue to add pressure to Pharma Brand Marketing. The most recent data released by Wolters Kluwer Health continues to support that even the Pharmaceutical industry is not immune to the economic downturn. In fact, by the close of 2009, 2/3's of all prescriptions filled will be for a generic...
Summarized in a recent WSJ article "Many Drug Prescriptions are Going Unfilled" the data suggests that the numbers of Americans not filling branded prescriptions is continuing to rise.
"Due to cost, U.S. patients failed to fill 6.8% of the brand-name prescriptions their doctors requested in the 2008 fourth quarter, a 22% increase from the first quarter of 2007. Patients also abandoned prescriptions for generic drugs at a higher rate, failing to fill 4.1% of generic prescriptions," according to the WSJ.
Wolters Kluwer also also reports that "abandonment increased as the amount of the co-pay increased, especially for new prescriptions. For example, new prescriptions with co-pays of $100 or more carry an abandonment rate of just over 20%; while with co-pays of $10 or under, the abandonment is only 4 percent."
"Patients are becoming far more comfortable with the concept of using a generic in place of a brand. This, in part, is due to patient education programs and enthusiasm forged by marketing vehicles such as $4 generic drug programs," said Mark Spiers, President & CEO, Wolters Kluwer Health, Pharma Solutions. "We're close to the point, certainly by the end of 2009, where two-out-of-every-three prescriptions filled will be generic" continued Spiers. "These trends are going to become even more pronounced moving forward as there are many blockbusters in major therapeutic areas like cholesterol reducers due to come off patent in the coming three years."
To counter the economic downturn and increased retailer incentives for generics, such as Walmart $4 prescriptions ($10 for 90 days) or the Walgreen Prescription Savings Club (Generics for < $1 a week), it's no wonder that we're seeing so many FREE prescription offers being run in DTC mass and web advertising, and even richer offers, such as the recently introduced Orencia Promise: a 6 month free trial offer for Rheumatoid Arthritis patients. Continuity offers to retain patients are also popping up more frequently...
But the best defense for brands to win over generics is to continue to develop 'better' products with meaningful advantages to doctors and their patients...and to have clinical support for differentiated messaging around these added benefits...and here in lies one problem facing many pharmaceutical marketers today...
While Twitter is exploding with popularity and growth, most pharma companies are taking a cautious approach with social media and Twitter... after all, how do you fit in fair balance within the 140 character construct?
Boehringer Ingelheim seems to have made the bold decision to take part in Twitter online conversations and communities, and blaze a trail for pharma in the new media.
While other pharma companies have a presence on Twitter, so far BI is unique in achieving at least some conversational, and interactive blog-like style --and not just using it as a one-way PR feed.
The company began using Twitter in November 2008, led by its director of global corporate communications, John Pugh. According to Pharmafocus, "Boehringer has incorporated Twitter into its wider communications strategy and is using the site regularly to engage with its stakeholders. Along with posting press releases, Pugh uses Twitter to recommend other web-based information about disease areas, as well as articles he thinks followers might find interesting."
As of today, BI is leading the way among pharmaceutical company Twitterers, with 679 following, 745 followers and 47 updates.
AstraZenecaUS has 136 following, 440 followers and 22 updates. However, unlike BI, all of its tweets are outgoing, one-way communications.
Likewise, Pfizer has 351 following, 462 followers and 48 updates. And like AZ, all its tweets are one-way press releases.
Novartis has 0 following, 681 followers and 40 updates. Like Mrs. Clinton, they also missed the idea that Twitter is about following others in addition to pushing out communications to followers...
According to Pugh, "The company now sees Twitter as an effective way to communicate with its stakeholders and join in discussions...For example, BI recently gave 'thumbs up' to the government's national stroke awareness campaign, reflecting Boehringer's presence in stroke treatment...Push says the company uses media scanning programs to help monitor the constant online conversations which touch on its areas of interest, and responds quickly to engage with the Twittersphere, joining in or starting up conversations....
...He says the company's use of Twitter is still in its infancy, and that it offers huge potential for non-promotional communication with patients. "One of the projects that we're looking at is a stroke channel on YouTube, with a series of video interviews which we will promote through Twitter," says Pugh. "Culturally as the company finds out more and more ways of using Twitter, we'll use it more and more, and I think other companies will too."
Time will tell...
Marsha, long time friend, business anthropologist, and student of leadership in commerce is in the continual search for how organizations and the people in them can do more than succeed, but thrive in today's tumultuous environment...
So what if your corporate culture accepts-even demands-multi-tasking? (Do you know one that doesn't these days?)
As Marsha writes, "You're as sharp as a drunk driver. You will miss-and misinterpret- as much of what is going on around you as someone who could be arrested for DWI...
Not only will you miss important information, you certainly will not generate new questions or solutions. Responsive to market changes? Forget it. Figuring out new ways to deploy resources? Not a chance."
...Imagine we're in an economic downturn (sound familiar?)-- markets and people are worried, jittery, fearful..."Your enterprise will thrive - or not - based on your ability to:
- Notice what's going on-Be curious about what might be valuable in this new reality
- Generate new solutions for new concerns
- Provoke Customers' curiosity about new solutions.
Multi-tasking may be the most dangerous habit we've ever allowed," says Marsha.
"Driving while talking on a cell phone is worse than driving drunk," says John Medina, author of "Brain Rules."
So how many meetings have you attended where most of the participants, or better yet, the very ones that the meeting has been called for, are using a blackberry while someone else (maybe even you) is presenting a new idea? How many times have things had to be repeated because meeting participants admit that they missed what was said? Or dialog and ideas are curtailed because people aren't engaged? Is this leadership?
More people are recognizing how dangerous multi-tasking can be to business and relationships. Edward M. Hallowell captured this concern back in his 2005 Harvard Business Review article titled: "Overloaded Circuits: Why Smart People Underperform" Multi-tasking... the frenzy... "prevent managers from clarifying priorities, making smart decisions and managing their time"..."As data increasingly flood our brains, we lose our ability to solve problems and handel the unknown. Creativity shrivels; mistakes multiply"....says Hallowell.
I don't know about you...but maybe it's time we all said "enough" and started by putting an end to the continual use of blackberrys and laptops in meetings...so that we can all better focus on the issues at hand; improve creativity.
I know at home, my husband and boys have said "enough of the gamegirl" (their fond nickname for my blackberry)--and I have to say, I'm better for the honoring of their request... How about you?
The other day, long time social media expert and blogger (and the person who has taught me a thing or two in this area...) Janet Lee Johnson wrote an excellent blog outlining the 5 Phases of Social Media Marketing.
Janet's blog begins by referencing the February BusinessWeek article Dubunking 6 Social Media Myths, echoes that social media programs aren't free, and outlines the five phases she uses to develop and define a social media marketing effort for her clients.
While pharma is clamoring to jump into web 2.0 and social media marketing, though often using only the 'safe' social media programs given their regulatory concerns, it looks like many are jumping in with assorted tactics or 'one-offs' and not necessarily taking a strategic, holistic or 360 view...
There is much pharma and others could gain from stepping back and taking a more strategic and rigorous view before jumping into social media...
Janet's blog highlights 5 basic phases to consider:
Phase 1 - Discovery...
In this phase, she explores three variables:
- People: Who are your prospects and customers, and how do they feel about your brand, service and products? Are they talking about you online? If so, what is your online reputation? (Positive, negative, neutral?) What are people talking about? What interests them? How does this fit with your brand or company objectives?
- Competition: What are your competitors doing online? Where can we leapfrog them? What is their online reputation?
- Spiders: How easy is it for you to be found by an average searcher who may be searching for your products online? (Keywords, site optimization, Search Engine Optimization [SEO], etc. come into play here.)
I'd add another for pharma given its highly regulated nature:
4. Company view and openness to social media: What is the company's view with regard to social media--its impact on the brand and market being considered? How would social media marketing fit into the company's regulatory/medical/legal view? DDMAC considerations? What parts of your message must be part of any social media program to keep within DDMAC standards? (Remember: 'it's not the media but the message' according to DDMAC officials...See my April 2 blog "FDA Issues First-Ever Draft Guidance..." and "A Conversation with FDA/DDMAC about Pharma, Social Media and Web 2.0"
Phase 2 - Strategy...
In this phase, explore the opportunities and establish the objectives of a social media plan - based on the lessons learned in the Discovery phase. Questions include:
- What do you want your prospects and customers to think of you, and how do you want them to experience you, once you've begun your dialog?
- How is this different from their current perception?
- How might we further pay off your brand promise, and distinguish your customer experience from competitors?
- ... and many more ...including how will we measure success? What are the best metrics and measurement?
- How do the different social media strategies complement and fit with current marketing programs and brand objectives?
This Phase is usually highly collaborative; and involves key players from around an organization (and partners), not just the marketing folks.
Phase 3 - Skills & Internal Assessment...
Once we have developed a Strategy, we'll review an organization's internal resources to identify gaps. Whose skills need building? How might we best train participants? And to what extent would it be wise to train the employee base about what to expect?
(Janet's Hint: "I always recommend getting everyone up to speed on any social media program - when I was at Marqui, that turned out to be one of the most valuable things we did in support of, and preparation for, one of the most controversial, viral programs I've ever managed.")
"In my experience, getting your employees up to speed on social media marketing usually requires a couple of training sessions held on-site. These are generally in-depth training sessions tailored to select audiences in the company - e.g. your marketing and PR teams, your customer service folks, your executives and the entire organization."
For Pharma, this would also include understanding and working through the on-going medical/legal/regulatory process and education...also, insuring that there are resources in place with the time and experience to consistently drive the effort and learning...
Phase 4 - Execution...
As we prepare to implement our strategy, we determine which tools to use, how they interface with your existing infrastructure, and ensure the processes and platforms are properly tied together. We explore the following:
- Are your systems all operating together as desired?
- Is there a crisis communications plan in place? Do participants know what it is? ...critical and not to be overlooked!
- Are your company policies updated for blogging, texting and IM and other social media tools? And what is the on-going process for planning and reviewing social media programs, and the process for responding in a timely fashion to the social media blogosphere?
- Are your employees aware of your policies? If not, do we need to train them?
- Will your CRM system interface with your social media tools? How will you move people into your sales process? etc.
Phase 5 - Maintenance...Continuous Learning & Improvement
"After the launch, Maintenance becomes key. In this phase, I make myself available for whatever comes up; checking in weekly with the team, make suggestions on content, make reminders for activities, and generally ensure the organization is thriving online.
Any experienced social media expert (and we're crawling out of the woodwork these days, believe me) will have a stepped approach and methodology to launching an organization safely into the social realm."
Reviewing metrics and learning...listening to customers and prospects...identifying improvements...
Janet, thank you for your words of wisdom!
Other ideas and thoughts to consider?
If you followed Twitter yesterday, you quickly learned that John Mack's Pharma Marketing Blog was indeed wishful thinking and an April Fools joke...
Today's post explains what was behind it...
"Now that everybody has calmed down about my April Fools joke (ie, "FDA Issues First-ever Draft Guidance on Pharma's Use of Social Media!"), we should make sure that when it comes time for the FDA to actually create a guidance document on social media that it does it with input from ALL stakeholders.
I suggested this in yesterday's post (see "FDA and Pharma - Bring More Stakeholders into Your Discussion of Social Media Guidelines! No More Joking!") because it seems that the FDA and some pharma companies are "mulling" this over behind closed doors and I want those doors opened. What do you think?"
On one hand, I certainly agree with John Mack's point that the door should be open for broader input than just a few pharma companies. On the other hand, if a few pharma companies are willing to step up and drive the process and thinking behind social media in pharma, I'm not so sure that's a bad thing as long as the guidance is issued as draft and circulated for public commentary (and the public input is taken seriously)
BTW....If you haven't listened to the 15 minute podcast that Mark Senak did with Dr. Jean Ah Kang, special Assistant to Tom Abrams at DDDMAC in charge of Web 2.0 policy development, entitled "A Converstation with FDA/DDMAC About Pharma, Social Media and Web 2.0", you may want to. While it's just the beginning of the dialog with pharma...Dr. Kang reinforces a few points, namely:
1. DDMAC recognizes the growing importance of social media and that it is here to stay...Dr Kang also recognized that 3rd parties can come in and alter communications, so it's about the pharmaceutical company's involvement and original intent...in other words, the pharma company is responsible for what they put into it...
2. "It's not the medium, but the message." Whether its social media or DTC TV, pharma companies must stay true to FDA regulations in terms of presenting their products with balanced risk/benefit information according to their approved label.
3 . Pharmaceutical companies are welcome to ask for advisory input to 'new' campaigns, including those that they will be running with web 2.0 media.
What do you think?
...back in the saddle after a few tough weeks of keeping up with a few sizable family health issues and keeping up with the work...
So much of a marketers time is spent thinking about how to build brand awareness and attract new consumers...
BUT it seems that even the best marketers overlook --or don't test with enough rigor --what changes and improvements to attract new users will mean to current customers and loyalists (if we can even continue to use this term in the 21st century...).
New Coke is perhaps the most famous example....but there have been many others...back in November, a new Motrin IB ad campaign incited both non-customers and customers alike to twitter and complain so much about the new ad that within 48 hours J&J appologized and announced its withdrawl from the marketplace.
Most recently...Pepsi's Tripicana Orange juice (NYT) brought on its own PR nightmare with the launch of its new packaging and "Squeeze" advertising campaign. Most of the negative buzz surrounded the new carton packaging which loyal consumers found both difficult to distinguish at the grocery shelf ["Do any of these package-design people actually shop for orange juice?" the writer of one e-mail message asked rhetorically. "Because I do, and the new cartons stink."] and devoid of the imagery that they have come to associate with their Tripicana brand...and yes, many, including me, at first glance thought the new carton was a new generic OJ brand...
...I have to admit that I was was confused the first time I tried to buy my children their favorite 'pulp-free' Tropicana product. At the shelf, the line of cartons looked so generic that I walked up and down the refrigerator case looking for the one with the orange with the straw coming out of it...heaven for bid that I bring home a 'generic' OJ for my three boys! [...though now that I know what to buy, I can see that the graphics are cleaner and have to admit that my kids like the new cap that looks like an orange!]
...As a result, in less than two months, the new packaging was scrapped and the old packaging will return. Also returning will be the longtime Tropicana brand symbol, an orange from which a straw protrudes. The symbol, meant to evoke fresh taste, had been replaced on the new packages by a glass of orange juice.
"We underestimated the deep emotional bond" that our most loyal consumers had with the original packaging, said Mr. Campbell, president at Tropicana North America..."Those consumers are very important to us, so we responded...What we didn't get was the passion this very loyal small group of consumers have. That wasn't something that came out in the research."
Well herein lies the first marketer's dilemma...what research?
Did it really not come out in the research or is it that they didn't hear it because it wasn't something that they were listening for or wanting to hear? And were there enough brand loyalists included in the research? [Having spent 20+ years in marketing, I can only imagine the political capital that would have been needed to stop the new packaging freight train as it was getting ready to leave the station...]
Across marketing today, but especially pharmaceutical marketing where patent lives are relatively short, most effort is still spent listening and talking with potential new patients or caregivers. Despite the on-again, off-again push to improve adherence-- due to the huge dollars and health issues associated with consumers either not taking their medicine the way its prescribed (compliance) or not sticking with it month to month (persistence)--the amount of time listening and speaking with current users and loyalists is relatively small and often a HUGE missed opportunity.
From my experience, there really is no substitute for deeply understanding the emotional values and intrinsic product differences that loyal customers attach to your brand. And now with the growing use of web 2.0 and social media venues, there are even more ways to listen and gain that learning real time and cost effectively. Recently, I was working with one of my clients and we had a chance to spend time with current and loyal users for the first time since the product was launched--our learning was invaluable and rich with inspiration--the perfect reminder never to overlook your loyal customers! Any other thoughts?
BTW, I do like the new "Squeeze" ad campaign and think it visually captures an emotional moment or connection each parent would love to achieve during those few precious minutes of breakfast time with our families...and the campaign captures wonderful imagery of both moms and dads sharing these magical moments with their children...