Social Media Goes Untapped in Pharma
The pharma industry spends an estimated $27 billion marketing to doctors and other healthcare professionals. Yet, “while physician time spent on the internet for clinical practice has quadrupled since 2002, less than one percent of HCP marketing spend is allocated to digital channels”, this despite the fact that digital marketing includes the ability to measure campaign effectiveness and ROI. According to the L2 Digital IQ Index: Pharma & Healthcare Providers, April 18, 2011, Report. “Drug companies have relied on their sales representatives – and often a catered lunch – to reach doctors and shower them with samples.”
Pharma marketers are pondering this question: Can I identify more efficient ways to reach doctors via digital and social media or do I simply continue to provide catered lunches and samples?
From a marketing perspective, pharma may be missing an incredible opportunity to reach and impact physicians through the use of digital and social media. Numerous static websites populate the pharma landscape and social media goes untapped. In the future, we believe pharma brands will re-focus and re-think marketing spend on digital and social media marketing.
Digital research firm eMarketer tells us: “the pharmaceutical industry hasn’t fully adopted web 2.0 and by restricting their brand sites to simple online information centers, pharma marketers are missing opportunities to engage consumers and boost compliance.”
You might ask, aren’t there a host of reasons why pharma brands can’t or should not engage in areas like social media? This list may include regulatory concerns, the FDA, HIPAA, etc. However, is it possible that the reasons to engage in social media are much stronger than the reasons not to engage?
What is the return on not engaging in social media? That’s right: zero.
Fear should not be a reason to sit on the sidelines. Educate yourself on the importance of social media to enhance marketing efforts, work with your legal department and develop a set of social media guidelines that provide greater flexibility so you know what is possible today and in the future.
Simulate … Innovate … Provoke….
To help stimulate your creative juices, here is a nice example of how digital technology fuels an exciting interactive event adding life to traditional (outdoor) media. We realize pharma has a long way to go before we see this type of engagement, but a glimpse of what brands and other industries are doing never hurts to stimulate and provoke our thinking. So either imagine yourself playing this interactive game or merely realize the potential of engagement. The future is now.
COMING TOMORROW: The Future of Pharma Marketing – The Game Changer (Part 2)
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COMING TOMORROW: The Future of Pharma Marketing: The Game Changer (Part 2)
We hope you enjoyed Part 1: The Future of Pharma Marketing – The Need for a digital and social media injection. Tomorrow in Part 2 we look at game changing ideas and trends for Pharma. Blue Focus Marketing, a social brand consultancy, will share our insights on 7 ways pharma can change their marketing budget allocation to more effectively and efficiently reach physicians, HCPs and consumers.
Very interesting post, Cheryl, and I look forward to Part 2. Thanks for bringing pharma’s digital wariness and these reports to our attention.
Great post Cheryl, some of your readers might be interested in our online event social media for pharma. It includes great case studies on facebook, twitter and other SM channels, from Merck , Boehringer Ingelheim and others. You can view it here: http://tinyurl.com/6dslnns, mention ‘nomadmarketer’ to get a 10% discount.
So you’re saying that $270,000,000 IS spent through digital channels annually (1% of $27 billion), but that these idiots don’t even know how to use a Facebook account? I believe a simple Google search aughta’ clear that up for you.
Great post on both segments. In my opinion the discussion needs to move away from how much are we spending on one channel compared to another to more of what is our overall communication objective and how can we build a diversified platform to delight more of our existing and future customers. If we focus our learning on finding out the most effective ways to deliver people the information they want in the format and method they want to recieve it, we can make great progress. Of course digital and social platforms bring expanded opportunity well beyond simple marketing to actually talking, listening, and contributing to valuable communities of people with common interests. I look forward to seeing you discuss this topic further.
Excellent point about shifting the debate from spending to identifying the communication objectives needed to deliver customer satisfaction.
Agree, we have the ability today to use social media to reach customers in the format(s) they prefer. The process can begin by developing a social media blueprint, e.g., listen, develop strategy, engage and measure. But perhaps the most critical step is a commitment to take action. The opportunity to contribute to building and sustaining your community, is the reward.