C-Suite Digital/Interactive Agencies

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Taren Grom, Editor

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A staggering 4.8 trillion display ad impressions were delivered across the U.S. web in 2011 as brand advertisers continued to shift dollars to the digital medium. According to a recent comScore report, U.S. Digital Future in Focus 2012, the shift in ad dollars has magnified the need for greater transparency and accountability in ad delivery across the digital advertising ecosystem, heralding an era where digital campaign validation becomes a necessity to push digital ad dollars to the next level. According to the company’s analysts, social networking continues to amass online users and capture an increasing share of their time, redefining how people interact with their personal social circles and brands in both the online and offline environments. Social networking accounted for 16.6% of all online minutes at the end of 2011 and is on track to surpass portals as the most engaging online activity in 2012. Peter Kirk CEO WorldOne Interactive, a division of WorldOne Inc., brings engagement technologies, global scale, and intelligence to digital healthcare marketing. { For more information, visit worldoneinteractive.com. Communication technology advancements are transforming physician and patient preferences for receipt of information. Global connectivity, immediate access, and real-time data are of paramount importance. The intersection of this evolution yields massive opportunity for engaging targeted audiences via new digital channels and platforms at scale and of global relevance. Organizations are beginning to take cues from trending consumer platforms and taking advantage of this opportunity to develop more effective digital resources and relevant engagement opportunities for healthcare professionals and patients. Principles of gamification and social media are catalysts to maximizing immersive engagement, promoting trust and deepening bidirectional peer- based communication and learning. Brands can derive significant insights and glean visibility into real-time data from such dynamic educational forums, which foster iterative engagement across audiences. While the opportunity is massive and expanding, it is accompanied by a series of challenges. Among the challenges are the importance of considering the balance of the value equation between the brand and the targeted audience — healthcare professionals or patients. Equally important and challenging is the ability for the brand team to glean personalized data in real-time, delivered across connected dashboards, permitting a brand to easily understand how the data impacts overall business processes within a company’s ecosystem. Data become more coherent when the information is connected, enabling the optimization of intelligence across platforms. Being able to develop and deploy multiscreen platforms and leverage emerging technologies that embrace the dynamics of the changing communication technology landscape is critical. Both opportune and challenging is the ability to implement and scale the platforms to drive usage across audiences. The smartest, fastest, trusted, and most connected platforms will win and add value in ways that can shape the future of interactive healthcare marketing, communication, and research. Philip McCrea CEO ClearPoint Interactive Health Education, specializes in interactive health education, is a provider of learning solutions to the world’s leading life-sciences companies. { For more information, visit clearpointlearning.com. The biggest challenge in digital communications also poses the biggest opportunity. Commercial teams are making swift progress in building their digital strategies as an integrated part of their marketing plans. Best-of-breed agencies are finally offering an integrated capability where digital planning and execution are tightly linked with more traditional marketing channels. Focused digital agencies are finding ways to ensure they are an effective part of a larger ecosystem. However, building the skills and capabilities within the marketing team to effectively lead and deliver these new strategies continues to be a struggle for pharmaceutical companies large and small. Hiring digital expertise is relatively easy. Building competencies in digital marketing within an existing team is much harder, but it is a far better path than throwing a few digital people into the mix and assuming the problem is solved. Forward-thinking organizations are looking outside the pharmaceutical industry to find talent and develop training programs that will build a sustainable capability, which does not solely rely on external agencies and partners. Gone are the days when pharma can look inward to find all the answers to its most pressing challenges. In the digital domain of the modern-day landscape, the pace of innovation is rapid, and the cost of playing catch-up can be dramatic. But for the companies that recognize the opportunity — and build teams with the competencies to manage in this environment — the upside is tremendous. Paul Miller Executive VP, Managing Director, Client Development Blue Diesel, an inVentiv Health company, uses its digital background to bring new perspectives on traditional and emerging channels. { For more ­information, visit bluediesel.com. Companies working in the digital space have faced many challenges, but two of them have consistently been: staying on top of an ever-evolving set of digital and technological possibilities and further integrating digital into the mainstream consciousness of healthcare marketers so that they see it as a core component of an integrated communication strategy — rather than as an add-on or after thought — that can be used to reach target audiences and key stakeholders The first will continue to be a challenge due to the rapidly changing pace and constant innovation associated with digital technology. Consequently, the way entrepreneurs and innovators integrate digital media advances will continue to change at faster and faster rates. In terms of the second challenge — digital integration — progress is being made. Clients are facing a wide variety of pressures, which, in turn, create an even more competitive environment for communication agencies. In response, many if not all firms, historically known as traditional agencies, are attempting to transform into fully capable digital agencies. These factors certainly have the effect of raising awareness of the need for truly integrated multichannel solutions. While that awareness is a good outcome, on the flip side, it also has the potential to create a lot of misinformation and confusion. To be successful, those working in the digital industry need to be able to help their clients sort through such factors in order to arrive at meaningful digital solutions. These challenges, however, also create opportunities. Agencies that can find ways to apply digital advances within the boundaries and constraints of the healthcare industry, that can connect audiences with a brand and with each other in meaningful ways, and that can create conversations that add value to what companies and brands are trying to achieve have the opportunity to rise above the noise and clutter and to drive real, innovative solutions for clients. Kurt Muller Chief Digital and Science Officer Roska Healthcare Advertising is a full-service communications agency that is taking a surround? sound approach to professional promotion by leveraging a multitude of online and offline touch points, including e?detailing, virtual reps, webinars, online conferences, on?demand KOL videos, and targeted customized messages tailored to each HCP’s prescription behaviors and attitudes toward patient care. { For more information, visit roskahealthcare.com. One of the biggest challenges facing the digital/interactive industry is its integration with off­line marketing/communications and breaking down the silos. We continue to see progressive adoption of technology year over year, in both the healthcare professional and consumer segments, but the power and effectiveness of true multi-channel marketing just isn’t there. Most digital campaigns produce suboptimal results because they’re carved up and developed in vertical silos by e-marketing managers and digital agencies. Too often great apps, websites, and digital experiences don’t meet their full potential, not because of a lack of creativity or user experience, but because they are developed in isolation. For example, they may not reference the offline tactics; or have been promoted offline; or the success metrics didn’t ladder up to the overall business objectives of the brand. Target audiences are more than just digital consumers. Their decision-making processes are complex and intertwined. Effective healthcare marketing is all about creating relationships, and those relationships are formed by weaving the brand through our everyday lives wherever and whenever we are — online, offline, in-office, or in-store. Leveraging a truly multichannel marketing strategy means placing the customer experience at the heart of every campaign, and across all touch points, delivering experiences that are much more personal and relevant to create stronger and better-managed relationships. In today’s world, where healthcare marketers must achieve exceptional ROI, we must deliver a fully integrated multi-channel customer experience or that just won’t happen. As a whole, our industry needs to acknowledge, accept, and embrace the importance and power of multichannel marketing, and leave the old concepts of digital marketing behind. Trent oliver CEO Blue Telescope creates interactive media experiences that educate, communicate, and engage by using rich media to illustrate complex concepts and data, to create fun, engaging experiences out of challenging content, and to immerse audiences in compelling stories and environments. { For more information, visit blue-telescope.com. We see physical interactive experiences growing in popularity in much the same way that online has grown. People are more and more interested in interactions that they cannot have anywhere else, not in front of their computer, desk, or phone. The challenge is to stay relevant in these interactions and not be silly or a me-too experience. As technology is becoming more consumer-oriented, the volume of competition for attention is growing and expectations are only going higher. James ­Woodland Chief Operations Officer CMI/Compas helps advance audience engagement using cross-channel media analytics tools allowing pharmaceutical marketing and sales teams to mitigate risk, spend where it counts, be promotionally agile, and hit goals sooner. { For more information, visit cmimedia.com. The trend of the quantified self, which is best defined as self-knowledge through self-tracking, in general isn’t new to healthcare, as patients who suffer from chronic disease are known to keep journals of their symptoms and doctor appointments. But technology has brought us a higher level of tools to help patients and caregivers track their health, including vital signs, genome sequencing, and other capabilities that provide real value to the healthcare provider who is trying to find the key to a diagnosis or to solve a treatment puzzle. The rise of the quantified self trend comes at a good time in healthcare, when even the best doctors must limit time with patients to 10 minutes or less, making it not only critical for patients to monitor their own health and share that information with their HCP, but also making it critical that the data the patient compiles are insightful and relevant. A symptoms journal is good, graphs tracking symptoms and vital signs are better, and the same graphs with an accompanying comparison to a personal DNA sequence identifying disease-indicating genes are best. And today, anyone with Internet access and an app store account can make this happen. The opportunity for marketers, then, is multifaceted. We and our clients can participate in the development of apps, portals, and other resources that connect patients and physicians. We can gain insights from social media and other technologies that people are using to understand and predict trends that affect our products. Overall our biggest opportunities lie in the fact that patients, caregivers, and HCPs are already looking for ways to improve their own experiences, and we as marketers can open our ears to service this need. Doctor visits represent less than 1% of a typical patient’s life. We have an opportunity to play a bigger role in the healthcare system, supporting HCPs and their patients for the rest of the 99%.

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