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SALES & Marketing
MARKETING Web 2.0
Marketing in 2009 AND BEYOND
Pharma begins the move from informing to interacting and embracing the Web 2.0 revolution and emerging media options.
BY Robin Robinson
The industry has been using the Internet to inform and educate consumers for several years. Few companies, however, have taken the next step toward actually interacting with consumers through the social aspects offered by Web 2.0, such as social-networking, video-sharing sites, and blogs. According to our experts, some companies have undertaken monitoring blogs and chat rooms and are using the information gleaned to gain insights on consumer behavior. But only two pharmaceutical companies so far — Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline — have ventured into the social networking aspect with blogs and community sites. Johnson & Johnson has hosted its own corporate blog, jnjbtw.com since June 2007, and this March the company added a community site for families of children living with diabetes, called childrenwithdiabetes.com. The online community includes a venue for scheduled chats and a forum for posting personal stories to share with other members of the site. Also in June 2007, GlaxoSmithKline launched its community site, myalli.com, a weight loss support network for patients using the alli brand. Looking ahead to 2009, the only thing standing in the way of the industry’s full-scale use of Web 2.0 appears to be the industry itself. The stage has been set by other industries, the concept has been supported through research reports, and customers — both patients and physicians — are already using the space. The first step for pharma to take is to listen in on conversations patients are having on social media. To begin listening to social media discussions is challenging for any company, but especially for those in a highly regulated industry. But the benefits far outweigh the risks, reports Nielsen Online in a recent study, Listening to Consumers in a Highly Regulated Environment. Among other things, marketers stand to gain a better understanding of their consumers’ authentic voice, their actual experiences, and patients can share in the benefits by having their opinion heard and their situation understood. “The inclination of pharmaceutical companies to ‘tell’ consumers about their product — instead of personalizing the conversation and engaging in a dialogue with them — combined with the high risk of uncovering adverse events, prevents pharmaceutical companies from venturing into the highly interactive, user-controlled world of Web 2.0,” says Steve Gregg, account director, AbelsonTaylor. This avoidance does a disservice to consumers as well as the brand. “Much of the information available on the Web is contributed information from aggregators, such as patientslikeme.com,” Mr. Gregg says. “Consumers deserve the fully informed voice of the pharma companies and the companies deserve a chance to listen and share their knowledge and insights.” According to the Nielsen Online report, many pharma companies are intimidated by the procedures that need to be in place to even monitor consumer feedback. But this can be as easy as searching on one of the large health sites in an appropriate disease category and simply reading. “It is completely understandable that the constraints around pharmaceutical companies’ ability to speak to their customers would affect how they listen to their customers,” says Melissa Davies, report author and research director, healthcare, Nielsen Online. “However, there are plenty of learning opportunities and much to gain from listening to customers.” While the first hurdle for most companies is the overwhelming task of dealing with adverse events, according to the Nielsen report, most messages posted on chat boards do not satisfy the four criteria set by the FDA as adverse event reporting. According to guidance set by the FDA in 1997, the four elements that must be present to report an AE are: an identifiable patient, an identifiable reporter, a specific drug or biologic involved in the event, and an adverse event or fatal outcome. Most discussion boards and chat groups state clearly that they discourage the use of personally identifiable information, thereby the identifiable reporter criteria is rarely fulfilled. In a recent Nielsen analysis of 500 healthcare-related messages posted online across multiple disease categories, only one of those 500 messages met the requirements of FDA’s AE reporting. “It is clear that a pharma company that is aggressively monitoring social media may pick up the occasional AE within the patient/caregiver online discussion, but our experience is that this happens rarely and at a rate that is manageable with the companies’ AE monitoring programs,” Ms. Davies says. While only a handful of pharma companies have taken the big step into user-generated content, she suggests that the rest should not wait much longer to get started. “Social media is here to stay,” Ms. Davies says. “Web 2.0 is a fact of life. There was a time when the auto industry could not imagine allowing a corporate blog, but both GM and Toyota have successful blogs today.” Social media: next year or next decade? “Now is the best time to engage in social media, especially when there are so few brands leveraging the channel,” says Eileen O’Brien, director of online promotions at Compass Healthcare Communications. “Brands that view social media as a learning opportunity and enter into relationships with target audiences will grow their businesses.” Kerry Hilton, HC&B Healthcare’s CEO, agrees, adding that new media will continue to flourish and more marketers are going to experiment with these nontraditional tactics to see how they impact sales. “Uptake will be slow at first, perhaps limited to a few added touch points to traditional forms of communication, but the importance of social media will rise when marketers start to witness the benefits,” Mr. Hilton says. Some experts are not so optimistic in their predictions, saying the industry is still too fearful of the variables not under its control, from negative opinions to off-label recommendations to adverse event reports. Companies will have to become more comfortable in terms of regulatory risk before there is a swing to higher usage, some experts say. They also believe that pharma will engage in social media at some point, but by and large, they don’t see it being part of the marketing mix this coming year. Although it’s a frequently used channel, without formal FDA guidelines on social media, the medical regulatory and legal teams simply aren’t going to buy into programs even if the brand teams do. As far as the fear of regulatory risk, Ken Ribotsky, CEO of Core-Create, puts the onus on the regulators. “Regulating bodies, both government and industry, must realize that the train has already left the station,” he says. “It is simply irresponsible not to allow manufacturers and brand teams to be part of a machine that provides the opportunity to disseminate quality information, as well as to correct misinformation, in real time.” According to some experts, the industry needs to learn more about the media and tactics involved in Web 2.0 before trying it on for size. Early adopters are just scratching the surface of the true capabilities of Web 2.0. A corporate moderated blog or an unbranded video placed on a third-party social media site doesn’t harness the true power of the medium, which is uncensored peer-to-peer conversations, not brand-to-patient or brand-to-physician product messaging. Catherine Cloft, VP of LaVoie Group says because the Internet is the first place almost everyone explores for information on diseases, treatments, drug candidates, and marketed drugs, digital media, social networks, blogs, and nontraditional media offer a new spin on peer-to-peer communications. “The old peer-to-peer communications were between medical experts — key opinion leaders (KOLs) — and other physicians,” she says. “The new peer-to-peer includes health advocacy groups, networks of patients connected by the Internet, the investment community, and disease-specific nonprofit organizations. But the FDA regulates pharmaceutical and biotech companies based on 1960s-era regulations, which can sometimes create challenges for companies that wish to participate in these new media. The guidelines are not certain, so companies should proceed with caution when entering into these new territories of communications.” According to Gary Epstein, CEO, ReachMD, leveraging new marketing techniques to reach out to America’s physicians is key to enabling big pharma to recapture its respect and reputation, while still delivering results. Mr. Epstein once served as chief marketing officer for the American Medical Association (AMA) and while there, he learned about the media-consumption habits of physicians. Until recently, the Internet, DTC marketing, social networks, blogs, and the like have focused almost exclusively on patient access to medical information and education, while largely ignoring the doctor, Mr. Epstein notes. But that pendulum is starting to swing toward the physicians, and there are finally several new media tools for reaching medical professionals. To be successful with these marketing strategies and media, marketers need to recognize the importance of both the media and the message in several key ways. “There has to be trust,” Mr. Epstein says. “New information backed by clear, high-quality data is imperative to build trust. There also needs to be speed. A physician’s day is structured around short, controlled activities and the new messaging should reflect this need for speed with a short format and relevant information received on a frequent basis. This is why more and more physicians are turning to electronic formats — Web, online learning, e-newsletters, e-detailing, mobile marketing — to receive information focused on them. Selling works, but education works better. Teaching engages those who will influence the success of a brand the most. Finally, there should be peer-to-peer interaction. From the day physicians begin their medical education they embrace learning from peers, mentors, and other medical experts.” Mr. Epstein shares with us a comment from a physician he met during his years at the AMA: “Whether things will be better if they are different, I do not know, but they will have to be different if they are to become better, that I do know.” It is now time to start finding better ways to reach physicians using different media, Mr. Epstein says. The consumers are waiting Consumers are using the space widely, are actively participating in conversations with each other, and are exerting their own control over what information they will receive. Reports cite that almost one-third of U.S. physicians are reported to use social media to create, consume, or share medical content, and roughly 90% of consumers report they trust online user-generated health content. The number of adults who use the Internet to research health information has grown annually since 2000, to more than 145 million recorded in the past year, Manhattan Research reports in its newest version of Cybercitizen Health v8.0. The number of consumers searching for pharmaceutical information online has increased to 95 million, up 16% from last year. Manhattan Research’s report identifies a new change in consumer behavior over this past year. The number of U.S. adults who turned to the Internet for health information was larger than the number of those who asked their doctors for information. Doctors have traditionally been the top source of health information. According to Meredith Abreu Ressi, VP, research, at Manhattan Research, these findings show that consumer empowerment is more than just a catch phrase for many patients and caregivers today. “As healthcare becomes less accessible to many Americans, the Internet has emerged as a critical tool for day-to-day health management,” she says. Mr. Gregg says social networking sites around a specific disease are often viewed by consumers as credible, relevant sources, such as psoriasis.org for the management and treatment of psoriasis. “People are increasingly inclined to put an equal amount of trust in someone who has had a similar experience as they are to put their trust in a healthcare provider or expert,” Mr. Gregg says. “Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies have not established that level of credibility or gained that amount of consumer trust.” Ms. Cloft says Web 2.0 allows pharma companies to more easily explain complicated concepts to patients. “One of the challenges in pharmaceutical marketing has been to make complex science understandable to nonscientists,” she says. “Now the Internet is home to video clips, flash-based Websites, interactive Web tools, where companies can truly tap into the ‘one picture is worth a thousand words’ paradigm. The use of video, in particular, can really help to communicate a particular problem and how it may be solved. Further, it can also help to communicate mechanism of action and the like.” 2009 shows promise for monitoring If blogs and bulletins are too unnerving for a company’s legal team, focusing on monitoring consumer behavior and cultivating this space as a resource for consumer insights would be a great strategy for 2009, according to Bill Drummy, president and CEO of Heartbeat Digital. “Pharma’s efforts to create branded or non-branded presences within social networking communities, such as Facebook and MySpace, have not, by and large, had much market impact,” Mr. Drummy says. “There is a tremendous amount of activity by patients, caregivers, and professionals in health-oriented social networks; these people are elevating their voice — and their control — of the dialogue.” At a minimum, a brand manager should be monitoring social networks and listening to what’s being said as a form of market research, Ms. O’Brien says. “Brand managers should work with interactive agencies to educate senior leadership and the med-legal team on what’s happening within the space, what their competitors are doing, and what their leaders are doing,” she says. Another way to look at Web 2.0 is to stop thinking about Websites and to think instead about creating an overall digital presence, Mr. Drummy says. “A Website is only one component of an overall digital strategy; there are also a variety of push and pull tactics to reach targets wherever they happen to be,” he says. “By reaching out to what we call key opinion bloggers with the brand’s point of view and allowing their influence to cascade through social communities and influence others, a dramatically different way of looking at media can be created. The time has come to turn away from the ad-supported model, which does not work on social networking sites.” Mr. Drummy’s point is that there are many ways to provide richer, more interactive applications that give visitors more control. These technologies enable consumers to interact with the company and other consumers, participate in and influence discussions, and control their experience. “Web 2.0 is perhaps the most misunderstood of all the current buzzwords,” Mr. Drummy says. “Web 2.0 basically means using newer techniques, such as user-generated content and video on a Website. It’s not a different vehicle from the current vehicles; it’s an enhanced, more robust vehicle. Web 2.0 is a Ferrari compared with a Model T. So in this sense, it changes everything people do with Websites and other digital media. It’s more visually appealing, more engaging, and more participatory. In pharma, this means we have a much more powerful way to humanize messages, particularly with video, and allow patients to get questions answered, without allowing the free-form conversations that cause concerns about adverse event reporting.” For example, the online health resource WebMD features a symptom checker, a mechanism through which consumers select parts of the body where they are experiencing symptoms and then select conditions that correspond with their symptom. Pharma could use a similar interactive element that provides relevant information to the consumer on a brand site to create the desired interaction. A recent Nielsen Online study of WebMD’s Website showed that in one month more than 1 million individuals — or 6% of WebMD visitors — used the symptom checker. “The symptom checker is extremely popular among patients and caregivers and seems as if it should be applicable to brand Websites,” Ms. Davies says. “The idea of discussion boards may be a little more far-reaching, considering the regulations this industry faces. But the symptom checker tool provides a different kind of interactivity and might be a model for some marketers to consider.” This empowerment and engagement of consumers through social networks and related platforms will continue to evolve, and marketers must follow, says Ramzi Zacharia, senior strategist, Greater Than One. “Savvy pharmaceutical marketers are evolving from broadcasters of creative messages to facilitators of consumer-based dialogues, where they serve as brand shepherds,” he says. Other changes will also take place. “We will see more DTC dollars flow toward educating patient opinion leaders and helping them build their blog or social network base,” says Bunny Ellerin, managing director, brand research, InterbrandHealth. “The new healthcare landscape includes well-informed patients who are involved, connected, and motivated. They understand the daily struggles and are able to impart wisdom in ways we have not seen before.” Ciaran Bellwoar, director of client services at I-Site, adds that as the time to interact face-to-face is increasingly limited in a doctor’s office, so the Web has become the ideal platform to encourage the physician/patient dialogue. “Visionaries in the industry should be looking to create new Web programs that educate physicians and patients on the risks and benefits of available treatments in an impartial and informative way,” she says. Mr. Ribotsky says these online communications may lead to one common language that becomes used by both patients and their healthcare providers. “Our messaging strategies are going to have to change because of the simple fact that communication channels for consumers and medical professionals are converging,” he says. “Health providers today recognize that they are no longer the definitive source of healthcare information.” Web 2.0 should be considered a crucial part of the overall media mix and should be used in conjunction with more traditional media, says Mr. Zacharia. “It is no longer a medium to be handled as just another media vertical; rather it has become the platform that encompasses and affects all so-called traditional mediums,” he says. “Pharmaceutical marketers who treat the Web as just another media platform alongside TV, radio, and the like are missing the boat.” Pharma needs to loosen grip on messaging According to a national report conducted by Envision Solutions, The Evolving Health Blogosphere, almost half of American adult bloggers have recently written about a health-related subject. Of this group, 60% posted on blogs primarily dealing with health. This research indicates that the total U.S. adult health blogging population currently stands at 13.6 million. Mr. Ribotsky says these numbers should be encouraging uptake of social media and predicts it will become a part of the traditional mix for pharma over the next year or so. “The challenge will be to get the pharma companies to let go of the control they currently impose on social media,” he says. HC&B Healthcare’s Mr. Hilton adds that manufacturers have already begun to realize that the paradigm is shifting toward giving patients more control over the information they receive. “We will have to find ways to give patients the education they want and need and still find ways to get our messages across in a more unbiased way,” he says. “The reality of media today is that people will talk in their social networks, with or without the intervention of a brand’s marketing team,” Mr. Ribotsky says. “If the brand does not insert itself into the conversation, it has passively abdicated responsibility.” budgetary pressure could swing uptake With the increasing focus on new technology and cutting costs, effective targeting and robust ROI have become more important than ever, and tools are emerging to facilitate that. Marketers can pinpoint targets and measure results easily with Web 2.0 elements. Targeted, personalized patient communications are fundamentally changing the entire ROI model for pharma marketing, Mr. Drummy says. “There is proof that online targeting techniques are dramatically more efficient than the traditional, mass broadcast model,” he says. “We can directly reach narrowly targeted groups of patients with messages written precisely for them. And when done properly, ROI rates of between two to four times can be achieved. Although this capability has been available for awhile, pharma marketers who are facing tightening budgets will begin to rapidly adopt it in 2009.” “Branding will still be important as a broad strategic differentiator but from there, marketing will get more and more granular,” Mr. Hilton says. “For example, direct mail that guides patients to password-protected information sites will be tailored to individuals, rather than ZIP codes, and micro sites will be designed as personal communication tools connecting doctors and patients.” According to Ms. Ressi, digital marketing offers marketers unprecedented opportunities for targeting and engagement at a fraction of the cost of a television campaign. “With increasing regulatory scrutiny, issues of affordability for consumers and worldwide economic turmoil, marketers are being asked to do more with less,” she says. “And digital marketing will emerge as the tool that allows them to achieve the ROI they need to succeed in today’s marketplace.” Outsourcing will influence next-generation marketing In the eyes of shareholders, pharmaceutical companies are no different from any other company. And for that reason, they are going to have to further explore the financial benefits of outsourcing and/or creating highly inventive partnerships; particularly in the areas of R&D, clinical studies and even marketing support (database management and patient call centers). All the reasons that make Web 2.0 a benefit to pharma marketers, like targeting for example, can also represent a tremendous hurdle. One of the factors in the slower uptake may be a lack of Web 2.0 experience within the pharma marketing departments. Plus, with all the fragmentation of media and audiences, who could be an expert in everything? That is where outsourcing comes into the picture. The industry has been outsourcing discovery, clinical trials, and sales for quite some time, and now, for further cost cutting and to improve business processes, marketing also is being outsourced. Tightly held marketing campaigns are being opened up to more collaborative efforts with agencies and other companies. “The key to using external resources for interactive programs is leveraging the diversity they offer,” Ms. Bellwoar says. “Agencies with experience using nontraditional media tactics in nonhealthcare industries can evaluate trends and make appropriate recommendations for the healthcare industry.” Outsourcing can be a sound strategy to give the in-house department time to adjust to new platforms, Mr. Zacharia says. “Certainly outsourcing can be a cost-effective solution for managing repetitive tasks; on the other hand, as new technologies emerge, the natural evolution generally requires outsourcing initially to those with specific technical experience,” he says. “As higher-end platforms prove their merit, however, developing in-house expertise will help ensure alignment with strategy.” Mr. Hilton agrees, adding that outsourcing partners will bring a whole new level of innovation to marketing and will bring down costs significantly. Shared accountability for effective ROI will put pressure on agencies to perform and not just create. For brands to get solutions into the marketing mix, they need to move beyond selling “what” and “why.” Experts in the field say the most valued partners will be those that take a customer solution-centric approach and guide pharma in implementing Web 2.0 media and other emerging tools help them to interpret the FDA guidelines and PhRMA code, and develop new ROI models, thereby showing pharma “how.” Going Mobile — The Next New Wave According to our experts, smartphones are the wave of the future. Whether an iPhone, a PDA, or a Blackberry, any phone that has its own operating system and can download applications will be the new medium for reaching physicians and consumers. Pharma companies have the opportunity to use these tools for direct marketing as well as for sponsoring applications for consumers to use in managing their health. “Clearly the biggest untapped area is applications for the handheld computer called an iPhone,” Mr. Drummy says. “I don’t think people really appreciate the degree to which the iPhone technology is changing the landscape. It should be called an iComputer, because it gives users the capability to have a truly robust online experience anytime, anywhere. In 2009, new healthcare applications sponsored by pharma companies that provide true mobile value to healthcare consumers and professionals will begin to emerge.” Some experts believe that although social media and user-generated content are easy to access on the Internet, there are still some difficulties to publish information to a mobile device. Easy-to-use applications and tools that allow clinicians to create and publish their content on PDAs and Smartphones would have both public and private applications. And eliminating the middleman — the current day vendors that control the gateways to mobile publishing — would make this a virtually free communication channel for the masses even better than open source, which requires developer-level skills to generate content. Fully integrated media solutions that have been recently introduced to consumers, such as Apple TV, will increase in visibility in the mass markets. Consumers will seek user-friendly products that facilitate access to information and entertainment on their own terms, Mr. Zacharia says. Mr. Gregg from AbelsonTaylor agrees that the industry has just scratched the surface of its mobile marketing capabilities. “I don’t think we have a full sense of the potential or the impact of mobile marketing — that is the ability to target and communicate with people via their cell phones,” he says. “Our ability to track and measure consumer behavior already exceeds what most marketers tap into. The information is out there. The future involves figuring out how to ethically and cost-effectively translate the data into meaningful insights that will ultimately benefit consumers and marketers alike.” F PharmaVOICE welcomes comments about this article. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kerry Hilton HC&B Healthcare Companies are experimenting and pushing the limits of the Web and they are finding out that both patients and physicians are paying attention. Meredith Abreu Ressi Manhattan Research Consumers are becoming more comfortable using the Internet as a research tool for condition and treatment information. Ciaran Bellwoar. Director, Client Services, I-Site, Philadelphia; I-Site is an interactive design and marketing company developing Web-based programs. For more information, visit i-site.com. Catherine Cloft. VP, LaVoie Group, Salem, Mass.; LaVoie Group provides strategic, integrated marketing and communications to life-sciences and healthcare companies. For more information, visit lavoiegroup.com. Melissa Davies. Research Director, Healthcare, Nielsen Online, New York; Nielsen Online measures, analyzes, and leverages consumer-generated media. For more information, visit nielsenonline.com. Bill Drummy. Founder and CEO, Heartbeat Digital, New York; Heartbeat Digital is an interactive marketing and software company specializing in sales and marketing solutions. For more information, visit heartbeatdigital.com. Bunny Ellerin. Managing Director, Brand Research, InterbrandHealth, New York; InterbrandHealth is the global branding practice of the Interbrand Group, dedicated to the health and life-sciences industries. For more information, visit interbrandhealth.com. Gary Epstein. CEO, ReachMD LLC, Northbrook, Ill.; ReachMD is a provider of advanced healthcare information and education for medical professionals. For more information, visit reachmd.com. Steve Gregg. Account Director, AbelsonTaylor, Chicago; AbelsonTaylor is an independently owned, full-service healthcare advertising agency. For more information, visit abelsontaylor.com. Kerry Hilton. CEO, HC&B Healthcare, Austin, Texas; HC&B is an independent, full-service healthcare advertising agency. For more information, visit hcbhealth.com. Lori Kewin. Director of Account Services, Topin & Associates, Chicago; Topin & Associates specializes in strategic marketing for healthcare, medical, and pharmaceutical clients. For more information, visit topin.com. Eileen O’Brien. Director of Online Promotions, Compass Healthcare Communications, Princeton, N.J.; Compass is an independent, full-service online marketing agency. For more information, visit compasshc.com. Meredith Abreu Ressi. VP, Research, Manhattan Research LLC, New York; Manhattan Research conducts market research surveys among physicians and consumers. For more information, visit manhattanresearch.com. Ken Ribotsky. CEO, Core-Create, Somerset, N.J.; Core-Create provides organizations with strategy and execution for product brands and corporate brands. For more information, visit core-create.com. Mark Stinson. President, Stinson Brand Innovation Inc., Chicago; Stinson is a health, science, and technology brand consultancy. For more information, visit stinsonbrandinnovation.com. David Winigrad. President, The Hal Lewis Group, Philadelphia; The Hal Lewis Group is a healthcare advertising agency specializing in pharmaceuticals and life sciences. For more information, visit hlg.com. Ramzi Zacharia. Senior Strategist, Greater Than One, New York; Greater Than One is a full-service independent digital marketing agency dedicated to helping clients communicate with their customers through the latest digital channels. For more information, visit greaterthanone.com. Experts Ken Ribotsky Core-Create Marketing teams need to get their arms around the fact that their roles are changing. Bill Drummy Heartbeat Digital Targeted, personalized patient communications are fundamentally changing the whole ROI model for pharma marketing. Ciaran Bellwoar I-Site Marketing strategies will be increasingly impacted by nontraditional media because this is where the customer is seeking opinions and insights. Catherine Cloft LaVoie Group Web 2.0 is opening a world of possibilities to companies. One of the challenges in pharmaceutical marketing has been to make complex science understandable to nonscientists. Gary Epstein ReachMD It is now time to start finding better ways to reach physicians using different media. MARKETING BEST PRACTICES Our experts take a look into the future and predict the next best practices for pharmaceutical marketing. Steve Gregg AbelsonTaylor Look for the intersections. Focus efforts on the point where physician responsibility intersects a patient’s need to “feel in control,” or where pharmacological benefits meet a patient’s lifestyle. Other powerful intersection points are where physicians and consumers prefer to receive marketing communication. Successful marketing has always used true consumer needs as the filter for everything said or done. The future for pharmaceutical marketing demands that we embrace the needs of an increasingly complex ecosystem of patients and physicians within a transparent environment. Kerry Hilton HC&B Be focused. Be relevant. Be memorable. Follow these simple rules and everything falls into place. If the plan is not focused, the strategies have no impact. If the message is not relevant, you have no role in the well-being of humanity. And if the message is not memorable, a less-focused, less-relevant competitor will take home your rightful share. Lori Kewin Topin & Associates Given the many new digital channels and tactical opportunities, one of today’s key best practices is to make sure that while embracing the new media, strategic and tactical basics are not abandoned. The truth is that there are more brand opportunities to choose from than ever before. But as important as it is to adapt to, and try to keep up with, changing technology, it’s equally vital to remember that while tactics may evolve, goals and strategies still need to make sense. Sometimes the newness of a digital approach can obscure the clear thinking that makes up the foundation of the plan. The point is that a salesforce still needs tools that facilitate a conversation with a doctor. Non-manpower tactics still must reach customers who aren’t called on. Key opinion leader support is always critical. And a brand still needs to perform as promised. How digital approaches are integrated with traditional tactics and how the message is adapted across new channels are key. The new environment demands not only new thinking, but an approach that is smart, balanced, and grounded in solid strategy. Eileen O’Brien Compass Healthcare With the industry moving from blockbusters to niche medicines to personalized medicine, the challenge is to efficiently reach the appropriate physician and patient audiences. As these audiences become increasingly targeted, the broad methods that worked in the past will no longer be effective. The beauty of online marketing is that not only does it enable the necessary targeting but allows easy measurement. Using the audience specific messaging — and measurement — of online marketing is a best practice. Ken Ribotsky Core-Create Marketers who approach Web 2.0 as a communications channel and not as a true marketing tool should follow a few simple principles for success. First, remember that the process no longer includes simply pushing sales messages out to a target audience. Instead, engaging in a dialogue is the goal. In some cases, the audience invites the company’s participation, but sometimes the marketer will enter into a conversation uninvited. It is important to respect this new role and the responsibilities that come with it.The goal when approaching these channels must be to transform the business of selling into the business of truly communicating. And this communication cannot be one-sided. This makes for a much more complicated interaction — one that I believe most pharma companies are not yet prepared for, either emotionally or from an infrastructure perspective. Mark Stinson Stinson Brand Innovation Inc. First, we need to consider the opportunities for managing brands in a digital marketplace; rediscover the potential of underpromoted brands; reinvigorate and grow products; rethink in-licensed products; retool for new indications; reallocate marketing resources; and reconsider new channels. Then, marketers can imagine new directions, analyzing what works and ask six main questions to determine adjustments. What elements of the brand are likeable? How are they translated or adapted to digital media? Can the name, logo, symbol, font, and design appeal be sustained online? Are the quality attributes simple and easy to understand? If you think it’s hard to get your message in a one-page ad or 30-second commercial, try a 13-word Google ad. What is the brand associated with, and if it’s right, could it be strengthened? How is the attitude of campaign copy, delivery system, or package design communicated in virtual worlds? Does the quality of the experience of buying, using, and servicing match your brand — and can it be elevated for your advantage in digital marketing? David Winigrad The Hal Lewis Group Marketers need to exploit the power of context to change customer behavior by generating a steady stream of customer-derived information about the conditions and circumstances that occur around the use of a brand. Then, they can create intersections between that context and the brand to imbue it with a renewed relevance. As marketers, we need to pay less attention to attribute-based messaging, in favor of contextual messaging. Ramzi Zacharia Greater Than One Marketing strategies have been turned upside down. With consumers in power and dictating their preferences — rather than the other way around — marketers need to follow their lead. The concept of intrusive advertising is rapidly losing its effectiveness. The more a marketer understands how the digital-savvy consumer behaves and interacts with media, the better the message will be at engaging the consumers on their own terms. Bunny Ellerin InterbrandHealth We will see more DTC dollars flow toward educating patient opinion leaders and to help them build their blog or social network base.