Thursday, April 17, 2014

5 Tips for Pharma Content

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This post was authored by @MikeMadarasz of the Institute for International Research

Strategy behind content creation is a favorite topic among many industry blogs. On a given day, there are numerous articles on best practices for cultivating content that matriculate through social media. From a high level, most are in agreement on the best practices in social— Provide content of value, reciprocate engagement with your audience, balance promotional efforts, etc.  The issue is many want to apply these strategies in a sort of “cookie cutter” approach.  For example, to say there is a “best time to post” for certain networks may be a little bit of a stretch. Yes, there are peak traffic times for these sites but that doesn’t mean your specific audience is most willing to engage in that same window. 

The reality is that in a perfect world, social media should be considered on a case-by-case basis or at the very least, an industry specific basis. This brings us to the pharma industry where everything is so highly regulated it’s often difficult to draw comparisons across other industries. Sam Stern of Modallic recently looked at content marketing specifically through the lens of the pharma space. Says Stern, “Not too long ago… digital health firms only needed to create content when they had something new to say… Those days are long gone. To succeed now, mHealth firms need to constantly produce new content.”

Stern cites the hardest part of content creation as coming up with relevant, interesting and lively content— No easy task in a niche industry such as pharma. So what are some of the ways content marketers can do this?  Glad you asked.

       1. Follow Industry News

         Keeping up with a constant flow of information can be an intimidating task especially in                            today’s noise-filled world. There are ways, however, to help the right content find you.
  • Set up RSS feeds from relevant industry bloggers and news outlets that provide the content you want and need.  A couple of our favorites are Fierce Pharma and The Pharma Times.
  • Subscribe to industry newsletters that cover the niche areas you’re interested in, your vendors, and even your competitors.
  • Create Twitter lists of pharma thought leaders to help keep a pulse on the industry.  Some recommendations for pharma would be @pharmaguy, @Alex__Butler and @drwalker_rph.

2. Monitor Social Conversations

Social gives your patients and customers a voice and provides real-time feedback. This a great way to informally take the temperature of the sentiment around your product. Any trends you see in feedback provide an opportunity to produce content that you know will be relevant and meaningful to your audience.

3. Repurpose Content

Producing new content is big challenge for everyone especially when factoring in limited time and resources. There’s no reason you can’t get more mileage out of content already in your library as long you present it in a new, fresh way. For example, a YouTube video doesn’t have to live as a standalone clip. Develop a blog post around it and pull some key findings from the video that will get your audience thinking. You may even be providing a fresh perspective on that piece. Isn’t that one of the ideas of social anyway?

4. Conduct Original Research

By nature, those generally involved in the pharma and healthcare space both desire fresh information and are willing to educate. Those two things lend themselves to the consumption of original research. As Stern says, “You don’t need an army of clipboard-toting researchers to produce exciting, interesting new data.” Tools like SurveyMonkey or SurveyGizmo offer free and paid services where you can quickly craft surveys about topics of interest to your customers. This kind of research can easily be shared through press releases, blog posts or Twitter and can be a great step in presenting yourself as a thought leader in the space.

5. Look Beyond Your Industry and Audience

Yes, content needs to be specific to your audience to ensure you are driving the right kind of traffic but that doesn't mean you can’t get creative by stepping outside those boundaries occasionally. People want to share interesting pieces and if you can give a unique take on something by relating it to current events or the latest blockbuster hit, you’re one step closer to that. And trust me, you wouldn't be the first person to spoof Ellen Degeneres’ Oscar selfie.


ePharma West 2014 | September 22-24 2014 | San Francisco, CA
Register with discount code XP1956BLOG and save $100 off the current rates

ePharma Summit 2015 | February 24-26, 2015 | New York, NY

Check us out on Twitter: @ePharma

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Free eBook from Lisa Bodell: Kill the Company

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This post was authored by @MikeMadarasz of the Institute for International Research

Too many organizations are stuck in the land of the status quo, and as individuals, we’ve forgotten how to think differently; lacking the simple tools to solve problems creatively.  The very structures put in place to help organizations grow are now holding us back.  At the ePharma Summit in February, Lisa Bodell, CEO of futurethink and author of best-selling book Kill the Company, shared how we can all start a revolution in how we think and how we work in order to break this cycle.

The interactive keynote discussed the topic of: If we want people to approach change differently, we have to change our approach.  She discussed how simplification lets us achieve more and better innovate in order to reignite critical aptitudes such as curiosity, inquiry, creative problem solving, and more.

Lisa’s keynote brought concepts presented in her book to life on stage, including:

Lisa's keynote at ePharma Summit
- Everyone is a change agent
- Change involves a toolkit, not a process
- Little changes can create big impact

As a special offer, a limited number of blog readers will be able to download a free copy of Kill the Company to read the concepts in more detail! 

To download your copy of the book, follow this link and provide the appropriate information.  Be sure to use the Access Code: KtC2014.

For more innovation insights, follow Lisa on Twitter at @LisaBodell and @futurethinktank.


ePharma West 2014 | September 22-24 2014 | San Francisco, CA
Register with discount code XP1956BLOG and save $100 off the current rates

ePharma Summit 2015 | February 24-26, 2015 | New York, NY

Check us out on Twitter: @ePharma

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Right Connections: How BehaviorMatrix is Getting the Most Out of Networking

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Why did you choose to attend the ePharma Summit?
BehaviorMatrix attended ePharma based on research we did highlighting past topics and panels as well as the focus on innovation and prevailing industry themes that we’ve come to expect from ePharma. Also, the draw of key digital pharma professionals to past ePharma conferences has made the conference very attractive to us. You could make the argument that the conversations that take place off the stage are almost as important as the ones happening on stage.

What were some of the biggest benefits from attending this year’s conference?
We got great leads out of this year’s conference. Since it was in New York again, we saw many familiar friendly faces who we met last year. This familiarity helped us to build better relationships and conversations this year.

What have you gained from the connections made at ePharma?
The caliber of people in attendance really makes the networking aspect important for us. We have several budding relationships and clients with whom the initial meeting and conversations started at ePharma. In fact, we recently just signed another deal with a contact made at last year’s ePharma Summit.

Were there any overlying themes to this year’s show that you’re able to apply directly to Behavior Matrix?
Some of the themes that we were able to directly apply to our capabilities at BehaviorMatrix were discussions about how innovation can help pharma adapt to the fluid nature and changes in the healthcare industries. Over the course of the program, there was dialogue on many of the different technologies and channels pharma marketers should be using in today’s climate. These are some of the areas that are really top of mind for everyone but as a company trying to continue to stay ahead of the curve in innovation, we’re provided actionable strategies. 

Parting thoughts
Marketing innovation is tough for pharma and companies like us are formed to meet a need for innovative methods. We are trying to leverage sentiment to go beyond traditional demographic profiling and analytics to get down to the core of what makes patients and HCPs tick. ePharma helps put companies like us in front of the people in need of this creative innovation so they can do their jobs better.

Hear what others had to say about this year’s summit:

You haven’t heard the last from ePharma this year. We’ll be in San Francisco September 22-24 for ePharma West. You can learn more here.
Register with discount code XP1956BLOG and SAVE $100 off the current rates.

This post was contributed by Genevieve Walsh of BehaviorMatrix, an applied behaviorial analytics company offering a suite of customized data and analysis services. 

ePharma Summit 2015 | February 24-26, 2015 | New York, NY

Follow us on Twitter: @ePharma

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Pharma Water Cooler Talk, April 9th

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This post was authored by Mike Madarasz of the Institute for International Research. You can connect with him on Twitter at @MikeMadarasz

Oncology pros on mobile 
Oncologists are generally a difficult group to connect with and research shows that marketers may want to think mobile if they’re going to change that.  Physicians Interactive found that oncologists used mobile devices to open about 50% of their emails in 2013.  Of that number, 80% of those opens came from iOS devices while only 15% were opened on Android. 

Dot-Pharmacy URL
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy is taking a big step in legitimizing the dot-pharmacy domain.  The association has entered into talks with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a group that oversees domains such as .com and .edu, about a process for regulating companies with a .pharmacy URL.  In this agreement, ICANN would oversee the domain and companies that operate within it would be held accountable for pharmacy laws and practice standards. 

Patients say pharmaceutical companies obligated to provide info on managing health
Accenture recently surveyed 2,000 patients of which most indicated that they expect pharmaceutical companies to provide them with information and services to manage their own health.  More than three-quarters said they expect pharmaceutical companies to provide such services either directly or through healthcare providers.  The majority, 74 percent, indicated that they most appropriate time to provide such services would be when they start taking medication. 

Don't miss tomorrow's free webinar, The 4 Ps of Multichannel Marketing: Physicians, Pharmacists, Professionals and Patients. 
4/10, 2:00-3:00PM. Register Here 

ePharma West 2014 | September 22-24 2014 | San Francisco, CA

ePharma Summit 2015
 | February 24-26, 2015 | New York, NY

Check us out on Twitter: @ePharma

Monday, April 7, 2014

Why Isn't Pharma More Social? Calling All Theorists.

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This post was authored by Mike Madarasz of the Institute for International Research.  You can follow him on Twitter at @MikeMadarasz

This week at Partnerships in Clincial Trials, Deidre BeVard urged the audience to utilize social for sharing and take the learning experience online.  As moderator of a session on cross industry collaboration, Deidre actually took questions for the panelists via Twitter.  To her credit, several new faces made their way across the #PCTUS conversation during this time. 

Deidre’s sentiment was music to the ears of the modest-sized group that had been contributing to the #PCTUS conversation and several echoed her thoughts.  This temporarily put some focus on a bigger question that I know several people in the pharma space wrestle with: Why isn’t pharma more social?  By nature, the pharma industry is one that consumes a great deal of knowledge and is eager to educate as well.  There’s a need for information yet many in the space are hesitant to take advantage of the sharing and learning opportunities provided by social media.  
One explanation you’ll often come across is based on the idea that pharma just isn’t a group that’s willing to share.  To a certain degree, there’s some truth to the idea that perhaps some pharmaceutical professionals aren’t as ready to open up.  However, as a blanket statement, that does not appear to be the case.  According to Symplur, “the growth of healthcare social media, and particularly Twitter…within healthcare conferences is not only at double digits – it’s growing at an exponential rate.”  The goal of these conferences is to stay up to date on the latest industry trends and also to make connections.  These also happen to be two of the value propositions of Twitter.  If social can expedite these processes, why not utilize it?

A lot of people will point to industry regulations as one of the reasons.  “B to C” communications in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry have always been very guarded and private.  Certain regulatory aspects can at least partially account for the lack of direct connections between pharmaceutical companies and consumers.  However, as far as quieting the conversation between professionals within the industry, these regulations appear to be mere obstacles as opposed to total roadblocks.  Some might even refer to them as “excuses”.  The good news here is that the FDA is in the process of putting together a set of social media guidelines for the industry.  With a clearer policy in place, there should be one less hurdle in facilitating pharma conversation on social.

So to what can we attribute this lack of socialness in pharma?  I think ultimately it comes down to a lack of understanding around the capabilities of social media.  Combined with a lack of motivation to learn these capabilities and the fear of certain industry regulations, we’re left with a sort of indifference. 

That’s one high level view. Any other theories?

There’s more to pharma marketing than just social. Join us for our webinar, The 4 Ps of Multichannel Marketing: Physicians, Pharmacists, Professionals and Patients. 
4/10, 2:00-3:00PM. Register Here 

ePharma West 2014 | September 22-24 2014 | San Francisco, CA

ePharma 2015 | February 24-26, 2015 | New York, NY

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Are You Ready for Pharma Marketing 3.0?

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Mike Madarasz, @MikeMadarasz

For years all pharmaceutical marketing took place in person and face-to-face.  Fast forward to today where according to Accenture, about a quarter of all prescriber interactions take place online.  If you look ahead two more years, that number is expected to grow to nearly 50%.  Pharma Marketing 3.0 has arrived and it’s beginning to look more and more similar to traditional B to C marketing.  Oracle Eloqua recently outlined some of the trends in modern pharmaceutical marketing. We were able to come up with a short litmus test for fluency in Pharma Marketing 3.0.

Are you cutting Costs? And where?
In the pharma industry, a number of name-brand giants are quickly coming up on the expiration of their patent protection.  According to Bloomberg, Pfizer has roughly $5 billion worth of drugs sales that are losing patent protection this year while Novartis is looking at about $8 billion in that category.  This is putting these companies in direct competition with generic brands and forcing them to take a leaner approach.  As a result, 83% of sales and marketing executives in the pharmaceutical industries are cutting costs.  

How far along is your digital strategy?
There’s an arms race of sorts in the field of digital pharma marketing.  We mentioned that by 2016 it’s projected about half of prescriber interactions will take place digitally.  At the same time, according to Accenture, 60% of pharmaceutical companies indicated they have their sights set on improving their digital effectiveness.  Digital strategies are at the top of everyone’s list in this space and companies are going to be forced to invest in this area out of necessity. 

How are you leveraging data?
“Big data” and analytics are talked about ad nauseam and it’s not taking anyone by surprise in today’s marketing climate.  That said, it remains one of the highly regarded tools going forward in the field of digital pharma.  87% of these companies acknowledged wanting to increase their use of analytics to better target sales and marketing spend going forward.   

Doctors have less time. Are you making the most of that time you do get?
Under the Affordable Healthcare Act, more than 30 million Americans are expected to enter the system.  The chain reaction is increasing doctor’s workloads leaving them with less time.  Fewer face-to-face meetings put an even higher premium on them.  That said, pharmaceutical companies need to continue to look outside of traditional channels in order to get their message across.  

You can check out the full report from Oracle Eloque here 

Save room on your calendar. Join us for our webinar, The 4 Ps of Multichannel Marketing: Physicians, Pharmacists, Professionals and Patients. 
4/10, 2:00-3:00PM. Register Here 


ePharma West 2014 | September 22-24 2014 | San Francisco, CA

ePharma Summit 2015 | February 24-26, 2015 | New York, NY

Friday, March 28, 2014

Four Myths in Social Media ROI

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Mike Madarasz, @MikeMadarasz

If you've been involved in social media for any amount of time, you’re quite familiar with the conundrum of linking it to ROI.  We all understand that inherently, exposure is good and social media provides that exposure.  In today’s marketing climate where companies need to shell out money to appear in Facebook’s newsfeed and employ teams to strategize around engagement, you had better be able to articulate the return on social. 

While this is a sentiment most of us can agree on, the actual process of nailing down this return is another story.  Oracle recently debunked six myths in social media ROIThere are certainly more than six myths that need to be deflated but here are some of the big ones we found:

1.   There isn’t a way to correlate social indicators with broader business objectives and metrics
In many cases business objectives are essentially an extension of social metrics.  In its simplest terms, certain social metrics are representative of broader business objectives.  For example, if the demographics of a brand’s followers are expanding that could be looked at as an indication of the brand moving into new markets.  In more complex terms, in certain cases we now have the ability to attach revenue directly to certain initiatives.  For example, we’re able to track digital leads so that when they close, we know exactly where that lead originated.  Albeit it’s often more complicated than this but there are still times when outcomes can be tied directly to social initiatives. 

2.    It’s not worth the time and effort to crunch so much data to try to associate it with social ROI
It has always been the goal of the marketing professional to advertise more effectively.  Big data now makes that possible.  The information provided from social media is becoming increasingly structured and increasingly sophisticated allowing us to target key demographics more efficiently.  This data is extremely powerful and we have technology that makes interpreting and leveraging that data an efficient process.

3.   Social media only applies to marketing
In the early days of social media this might have been true.  Now, multiple functional areas of a company have a stake in social.  Social has become a place to find talent as many companies have specific career Facebook pages used to promote company culture and job openings.  Brands have Twitter handles that serve specifically as outlets for customers service (@DeltaAssist, @HiltonHelp, etc.).  Companies are also using social to promote executives as thought leaders in their given space and we’re seeing an increasing number of CEOs and VPs take to Twitter.  

4.   There’s no way to measure the value of social listening
Studies show that 90% of purchases are subject to social influence.  It’s a fact that consumers are going to reference their peers.  As a marketer, you can’t directly control a lot of what is said about your brand but you can react to it and leverage it.  How is that tied to value?  Responding to negative post can change a customer’s tune pretty fast and that can be directly attributed to customer retention.  Additionally, companies spend a great deal of time and energy getting feedback while a lot of that information already lies within social media. 

Social ROI is as difficult (if not more difficult) to prove in Digital Pharma Marketing as it is in any other industry.  Social is certainly a big part of keeping the digital health community open and transparent.  Proving the ROI is just another obstacle in keeping the conversation going in this space. 

Download Orcale’s full white paper, The Six Myths of Social ROI, here.  

There’s more to pharma marketing than just social. Join us for our webinar, The 4 Ps of Multichannel Marketing: Physicians, Pharmacists, Professionals and Patients. 
4/10, 2:00-3:00PM. Register Here 

ePharma 2015 | February 24-26, 2015 | New York, NY

ePharma West 2014 | September 22-24 2014 | San Francisco, CA

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Six Healthcare Apps Worth the Free Download

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Mike Madarasz, @MikeMadarasz

Deep within the iTunes store, well past SnapChat and Candy Crush, lies a series of apps with the potential to do more than just make a picture message disappear.  In the year 2014, we have apps that can instantaneously take our heart rate, tell us where the nearest case of the flu is and help us contribute to cancer research in our sleep.  Technology in mobile health(care) has turned the corner and claims that mobile is the future of the healthcare industry appear to be dead on. 

Here are five healthcare apps you may want to check out on your phone after your next selfie: 

iPhone Screenshot 11.  Mango Health- A “fun” spin on managing medication intake, Mango Health rewards users for doing so in a responsible way.  The app allows users to input a schedule for taking medications and supplements as well as set reminders for doing so.  Users earn points for taking medications safely and on schedule which can be redeemed for a variety of gifts.  It’s more than just a tool to keep you on track with prescriptions.  Mango checks for dangerous drug interactions and keeps a record of when you’ve taken medications.  

2. PokitDok- Pokitdok serves as an open and transparent healthcare marketplace.  The “Priceline for healthcare” allows consumers to search by location or condition and even name their own price.  Doctors provide quotes which can be reviewed and compared against one another.  Once you’ve found a doctor, PokitDok provides a transparent set of information on the practice and pricing for comparable procedures.

3. Propeller Health- Propeller turns an asthma inhaler into a piece or wearable tech.  The app provides real time information to asthma patients by syncing to a sensor that sits on top of an inhaler.  Data such as date, time and location is then relayed back to your phone through Bluetooth where it’s tracked over time.  This information is analyzed to give personalized feedback in order to help the patient understand triggers and can also push alerts if symptoms worsen. 

4. Power Sleep- The new “Power Sleep” app for Android makes it possible for you to contribute to a good cause as you sleep.  The app uses technology that utilizes the unused computing power of your phone only when you don’t need it.  Once an alarm is set, your phone receives a data packet that is processed and then returned to SIMAP—A collaborative project between the University of Vienna and the Technical University of Munich.  The project is specifically focused on the decoding of protein sequences and how that applies to cancer research.

iPhone Screenshot 35. Instant Heart Rate- The camera on your phone can now be used for more than just taking great Instagrams.  By placing your finger over the lens, Instant Heart Rate gauges your pulse in real time.  The app also provides data storage so you can track and graph your heart rate over time (and even share it on social if you’re so inclined).  With over 35 million downloads, we may be looking at an answer to expensive heart rate monitors. 

6. Sickweather- Add your health to the list of things that can be crowdsourced through social media.  Sickweather has found a way to leverage Facebook and Twitter data and turn it into a heat map of illnesses.  The app scans social media for reports of sickness, maps them out and then pushes alerts to your phone if you cross into a “high risk” area.  With over 20 different illnesses programmed in, you can keep tabs on a certain bug in the area or an entire category of ailments.    

You may not personally have a need to incentivize your medication schedule or track inhaler usage but there’s a message that can be drawn here.  Patients want data and they want it provided in real time—something that can’t be ignored as a marketer.  When it comes to someone’s health, people don’t have the patience to wait for information.  These apps provide that instantaneous info and serve it in a way that the user is able to leverage.  This has generally become an expectation of today’s consumer and consumers of healthcare and pharmaceuticals are no different.     

Any apps to add to the list?  I'd love to hear them. 


ePharma West 2014 | September 22-24 2014 | San Francisco, CA
Register with discount code XP1956BLOG and save $100 off the current rates

ePharma 2015 | February 24-26, 2015 | New York, NY