Taren Grom, Editor
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Digital Marketing C-Suite: Digital By Taren Grom Viewing of digital media is expected to surpass TV in time spent with U.S. media. According to a recent eMarketer survey, the average time spent with digital media per day will surpass TV viewing time for the first time this year, according to the analysts’ latest estimate of media consumption among U.S. adults. eMarketer’s latest survey results indicate that the average adult will spend more than five hours per day online, on nonvoice mobile activities or with other digital media this year, compared with four hours and 31 minutes watching television. Daily TV time will actually be down slightly this year, while digital media consumption will be up 15.8%. The most significant growth area is on mobile. Adults will spend an average of two hours and 21 minutes per day on nonvoice mobile activities, including mobile internet usage on phones and tablets — longer than they will spend online on desktop and laptop computers, and almost an hour more than they spent on mobile last year. Our C-suite experts discuss the biggest challenges and opportunities that digital agencies face in the current healthcare environment. Michael du Toit President Publicis Healthcare Communications Group The biggest challenge is being marginalized as digital-only or as a channel specific agency. At Digitas Health we realized this six years ago at the height of digital popularity that in order to thrive we needed to become channel agnostic and build a next-generation brand agency with a digital engine capable of thinking and executing holistically vs. digitally. The biggest opportunity is in the people. Digital agencies and those transforming into full-service channel agnostic agencies attract an eclectic mix of people. We have a tremendous mix of customer-centric social, mobile, print, TV integrated thinking that happens all day long, and being part of that environment is exhilarating. For me, this is a great opportunity to keep on learning — how cool is that. Ross Fetterolf Senior VP of Digital Strategy+Analytics Palio+Ignite, an inVentiv Health company Being a part of the ePharma advertising industry since 2000, I’ve seen the role/definition of the “digital agency” undergo an endless cycle of rewrites. Throughout the years one thing has remained: “digital” has always meant “measurable,” and digital agencies have placed success measurement at the forefront of their value proposition. In the early days, we launched a website and waited to see how many people visited — or, gasp, how many “hits” we received. Over time we managed to analyze everything from specific content performance and user engagement levels, to social sharing and accessibility patterns. As possibilities within the digital channel have exploded, the volume of data sources has become overwhelming, an endless river of 1s and 0s. Our biggest challenge, and also our greatest opportunity, is to make sense of all this data, putting it to use in optimizing our channel mix moments after launch. But how do we reconcile the seemingly variable impact of a website visit vs. an app download vs. a retweet? Pharma digital properties don’t have shopping carts, so we can’t determine exactly how much revenue they contribute — that would be way too easy. Establishing a “value analytics” approach places a priority on the actions you value most, such as a voucher download, standardizing measurement for all your digital efforts — from sites to social to mobile. If we can transform the challenge of having too much data into the opportunity of having the right data, we can make decisions on optimization of our channel mix and specific digital properties in near real-time, ensuring we create the best user experience while also delivering measurable value to our brands. Tim Garde Managing Partner Star Group & Star Life Sciences It may sound cliché, but where there is a challenge there will always be an opportunity. The same is true for communication between HCPs, patients, and caregivers. I’m blown away by the ways we can use new media in healthcare communications, and in doing so create the well-informed HCP and patient communities of tomorrow. Our own Star Life Sciences Medical Monitor report found that patients are enthusiastic about smartphone-based tools, but these tools won’t work in a vacuum. HCPs, inclusive of nurse practitioners and physicians assistants, need to trust them to recommend their use, and patients need to know enough about their condition in order to ask for such tools. Education and communication are the keys to making this all happen. The challenge is figuring out how to navigate the fluid regulatory environment to consistently create the tools and resources that will enhance HCP/patient communication and education, and improve access to information, with an ultimate goal of improved patient health outcomes. Doing this across multiple platforms — mobile, tablet, desktop, and offline — while steering clear of regulatory violations, is not easy. Once these challenges are overcome by all parties involved in the process, we will get the right information to the right people at the right time, and will begin to improve healthcare outcomes through innovative digital approaches. Julie Walker Executive VP, Corporate Development/ Managing Partner Cramer As a privately held events solutions and digital marketing agency it is crucial to identify, source, and develop the right talent in key strategic, creative and content positions so we can fully meet our diverse client needs. Not all digital strategists and creative directors have marketing expertise, and not all marketers have digital and strategic experience. We are finding that we need to build the right teams to assure that there is expertise on both these fronts and that we are delivering the best and most successful integrated multi-channel marketing initiatives for our clients. This requires a talent strategy that looks both internally to develop talent and externally to recruit new team members. This investment is mandatory to be successful in the competitive digital field and to provide the highest quality of services to our healthcare clients. Marc Weiner Managing Partner Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide Why limit the discussion and frame the question as unique to “digital agencies?” These days, all agencies have become digital — or better hurry up — since multi-channel marketing is an efficient, effective way to connect with target consumers and HCPs. It’s important that we not look at the medium as being the message. Our job as marketers and communicators is to motivate our audiences to take positive healthcare actions. This challenge has only been heightened by the proliferation of rich-media channels, including social, viral, and video. Marketers now have more choices, and often have to make difficult decisions about where to invest dollars that yield the greatest return. Looking forward, the industry is going to make more and more of these decisions based on data and analytics. This is a good thing, but it must be balanced with great creative. While technology and big data will help us connect with our targets, once there, we need to deliver our most compelling communications that connect on an emotional and motivating level. So, the opportunity for all agencies — traditional, digital, large, small, boutique — continues to be that we are the creators of compelling communications and motivating ideas that reach our audiences through these innovative channels. Our ongoing commitment must be to impact positive health behaviors and dialogue through deeper, richer stories that motivate on a personal level.