Thursday, July 31, 2014

Don’t Kill the Protesters

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I was watching a show the other night and one of the key characters turns to his wife and says something to the effect “The world has changed. We can’t just kill protesters anymore. Everyone has a phone and a YouTube account.”

So why mention that TV show in this blog post about pharma and social media?  It points out a shift in power. Patients, HCP’s, caretakers, industry groups, and advocacy groups among others all wield more power than ever and it is growing. This is a good thing. But how does the in-the-know CMO, Marketing VP, Corp Comm Director, Community Manager, Digital Consultant, Social Media Manager... of a pharma company tap into that power so everyone benefits?

Here is your 5-count lift-off instructions. We strongly suggest you print them out and look at them each day. It’s sometimes easy to forget the basics...

5. Preach, cajole, bribe, or beg if you have to. Anything to help your organization understand the importance of utilizing Social Media to join and guide these groups and individuals outside your company who have this newfound power.

4. Lower the risk, and more importantly the perceived risk, of conducting online conversations. For those in the USA, new FDA guidance should help. Establish very clear processes and procedures; then use technology to aid and enforce these processes and procedures. For example, there are a host of new tools on the market that will enable a company to never, ever post an update, comment or response unless it is reviewed and approved by people whose sworn mission is protecting the pharma company from risk (legal, regulatory, safety). Gone are the days of having to send docs through email then pasted into a marketing and communication approval system built for a different age.

3. Be honest; but know what you can be honest about. People are not as stupid as we make them out to be. When a community manager explains that a post was not allowed or that it is not possible to respond because of the regulated nature of the industry, the community generally understands. They might get curious about the why’s-and-what’s but that is a good thing - they are more engaged.

Are you empowering stakeholders
through social?
2. Empower people and organizations. Invite people to guest post. ReTweet good stuff. Entice them to help. If you work with an agency ask them for ideas on how to best incentivize your stakeholders. If they are worth their hourly rates, they should come up with at least two to three good ones.

1. Challenge people. If a person really cares about a topic they will appreciate this. For example, if a pharma company that makes and markets a treatment for Type 1 diabetes challenges the community to come up with ideas on how to better educate school systems you will ignite a passion among some people. And if said pharma company backs up this challenge with a grant and expertise to help the best ideas materialize, perceptions about that pharma company will improve dramatically.

0. (lift off)… Be human. Companies are companies, and brands are brands, but both are filled with real, living, breathing humans. If it makes sense, name the community managers (CM). Do a quick bio. The CMs don’t need to have the condition shared by the community served by the therapy. Empathy. Understanding. Knowledge. And the ability to walk the line between the brand voice and a human voice is all that is needed.

Feel free to share additional lift off items in the comments below or call me out for something you think is wrong. I’ll try to respond to everything. I’ll be human and listen and learn.

Want more on how pharma can get the most out of social? We’ll have a whole day dedicated to content marketing at this year’s ePharma West. Save $100 when you register here and use code XP1956BLOG.  Download the agenda to see what’s on tap.


This post was contributed by Greg Wood from Woodhouse, a Social Media Agency with a focus on the pharma and life science industries.  Woodhouse clients include Merck Serono, Novartis, ARIAD Pharmaceuticals and Medtronic among others.  To see more Woodhouse posts and conversations click over to the Woodhouse LinkedIn page or call (+1) 617-306-2739 to learn more.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Physicians More Inaccessible Than Ever to Pharma Sales Reps

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Research shows that doctors are now spending less time with patients.  While some patients may take it personally, there is one group getting even less face time: Pharma sales reps.  A recent report shows that almost half of all physicians are now considered inaccessible to pharma sales reps.  The study, from ZS associates, indicates that only 51% percent of prescribers now fall into the category of accessible—Down from 55% last year and 65% in 2012. 

Don’t feel bad for these sales reps just yet, their commission checks are looking perfectly healthy, but the drop in accessibility for some traditionally “rep-friendly” industries is certainly significant.  While the surveyed group showed a drop of 4% as a whole, those in dermatology (17%), gastroenterology (16%) and pediatrics (15%) especially felt the drop-off. 


Geography played a role in accessibility as well with many metropolitan areas proving to be restrictive.  St. Paul was the least accessible of the group with only 29% of physicians falling into this category while two major cities, Boston (40%) and Seattle (38%) also made the list.

The result of this drop?  A series of “infeasible calls.”  This is a major cost passed on to pharmaceutical and biotech companies, which for this past year came around $1.38 billion.  Interestingly enough, the cost has leveled off over the last several years as companies become more sophisticated in the way they target physicians.

For many, the outlook for future access is bleak.  Pratap Khedkar, Managing Principal with ZS Associates, cites provider consolidation and the resulting large-sized physician practices as one of the reasons.  In these situations, prescribers will be forced to default to certain medications instead of having the flexibility to chose prescriptions they favor.  Says Khedkar, “Consolidation will take hold in places where it hasn’t been seen yet…the pace and nature of consolidation will vary by geographic region.”

One way companies can counteract this trend is to better utilize a multi-channel approach.  For many, this means a more efficient use of digital channels.  Doctors aren't spending their time gathering information face-to-face and instead, they're turning to digital resources.

It’s estimated that physicians now spend around 40% of their time in front of computers.  That’s not even taking into account the continued adoption of mobile.  As these numbers continue to climb (and face-to-face meetings continue to fall) the execution of digital will be even more crucial for those in pharma marketing. 

We’ll have more on the latest in modern marketing techniques. Join us at ePharma West, September 22-24 in San Francisco. Download the agenda to see what else is on tap.

SAVE $100. Register here and use code XP1956BLOG.

This post was contributed by @MikeMadarasz

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Monday, July 28, 2014

The Week in #ePharma

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There were over 150 tweets under the #ePharma hashtag this week.  It’s hard to think of a good reason for missing a single one but if you did, we have it covered.  Here’s a recap of the buzz in #ePharma over the last week:

DTC Marketing is Slow to Change, World of DTC Marketing- Last week, a study was released indicating that more than half of all pharma and biotech employees will seek a new job in the next six months.  Richard Meyer (@richmeyer) cites a belief that rather than salary (certainly pharma sales positions are paying well enough), certain antiquated processes are causing employees to seek out other opportunities.  How do you go about classifying these processes as “antiquated”?  Says Meyer, when you have a company “still trying to figure out who “owns the product website.” 

Expectations on the Rise for Digital Marketing in Pharma, The Difference Makers- Have you seen a change in expectations for digital marketing?  David Ormesher (@ormshr) notes that even though pharma companies continue to rely on print and television media, the expectations of digital are trending upward.  He cites the “Amazon Effect”, greater expectations by the consumer as far as accessing information, as one of the reasons. 

An Apple a Day: What Does HeathKit Really Mean for Digital Health?, Wired- Regarding HealthKit, Mike Harden writes that just because they’re Apple, doesn’t mean they’re going to own the space.  Same goes for Microsoft and Google with their ventures into health tech.  Harden could very well be the millionth person to weigh in on this topic, but his stance is an interesting one.

Five Lessons Theme Parks Have for Medical Convention Success, MM&M- Anything pertaining to medical conferences has our attention, so if you’re considering ePharma West this year, you may want to read through.  The article lays out five ways to dominate the show floor.  Perhaps the most interesting: Using digital to drive engagement and interaction.  The authors, Bob Holloway and Tim Nelson of the Cadient Group (@CadientGroup), recommend it in order to “allow us to immerse audiences in the brand story.” 

Novartis Buys Rights to Google’s “Smart Lens” TechnologyPM Live- The PR spin on this: "[Novartis] are looking forward to working with Google to bring together their advanced technology and our extensive knowledge of biology to meet unmet medical needs.”  What you need to know: Novartis has plans to begin leveraging technology to manage medical conditions.  For Google, they’ve acknowledged that they’re intimidated by the heavy regulation in healthcare and are likely looking for a company to guide them through these ventures.


Looking for more than a week’s worth of the latest in digital pharma marketing? Join us at ePharma West, September 22-24 in San Francisco. Download the agenda to see what else is on tap.

SAVE $100. Register here and use code XP1956BLOG.

This post was contributed by @MikeMadarasz

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pfizer’s Digital Campaign Puts Youthful Spin on Aging

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Are you afraid of losing your car keys and then driving around looking for them?  If so, you might be the perfect candidate for Pfizer’s Get Old campaign.  Launched in 2012, the idea behind this program is to take a topic which many are reluctant to discuss and bring it into a forum where people are comfortable talking about it while adding some “wit and wisdom” along the way. 

The initiative recently expanded into social with the introduction of their “fear of getting old” theme and the #FOGO hashtag.  The acronym perfectly suits the 20-30 year old demographic Pfizer is looking to reach with this campaign.  Sally Susman, who is overseeing the project for Pfizer, explains that the introduction of some humor “will be a new and dynamic part of this campaign.”

Visitors of GetOld.com are urged to “Fear less. Live longer,” as well as "Spend less time worrying about getting old so you can actually enjoy it.”  There’s also a #FOGO quiz as well as video clip with two children touted as “experts” in FOGO. 

Pfizer FOGO Get Old Mt. Everest
This particular FOGO? Having to rename your stairs Mt. Everest

The ultimate goal of the campaign is to increase brand favorability and engage consumers more than anything.  According to Pfizer, there was a 55 point spike in brand favorability among those who visited the site last year.  Interestingly enough, the only Pfizer branding is hidden at the footer of the page.  Said Susman, “This is not about selling a product, it’s about our philosophy, reintroducing ourselves… [the goal is] a steady sense of engagement, not over-marketing or overselling.”

Explained Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, a research and brand-loyalty consultancy, in a NY Times article, “Pfizer is one of those companies that everyone has heard of…but you don’t tell your doctor, ‘I would really prefer to have a GlaxoSmithKline product if I can.’ You’re going to listen to what your doctor says, which is why drug companies spend all that money on advertising to doctors.”

Proof of consumer engagement is not immediately obvious.  Pfizer claims there are 350,000 tweets per month within the “aging conversation” and they’re clearly trying to capture some of this discussion.  However, the Get Old handle (@getold) has more than 24,000 followers and at the time of this blog, there were only 32 tweets under the #FOGO hashtag in the last 24 hours.  In addition, the comment fields on much of the site’s content had very light contributions.

This humorous, sort of ironic approach to bringing a taboo topic into the open seems like a logical method to engage the 20 to 30 year old demographic on social.  However, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of this initiative, particularly the social aspect.  While many continue to call for pharma companies to be more social, this may be another case study (good or bad) to be used in that argument. 

We’ll have more on the latest strategies in digital at ePharma West.  Join us September 22-24 in San Francisco. Download the agenda to see what’s on tap.

SAVE $100 as a reader of this blog. Register now and use code XP1956BLOG. 

This post was contributed by @MikeMadarasz

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Join Me at ePharma West this September

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I want to personally invite you and your team to join me at ePharma West taking place on September 22-24 in San Francisco.

I’m Pete Dannenfelser, the ePharma West chairman and Director of Marketing, Digital, NA at Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. I’ve been involved with the ePharma Summit portfolio of events for a number of years, and am looking forward to this year’s program, in part due to new speakers that are presenting but also because there are opportunities for collaboration that I haven’t seen at other events.


This year we’re using a unique format: Instead of traditional 30-45 minute PowerPoint presentations, we’ve broken the program into six segments, and for each segment there will be two to four 20-minute presentations on the topic. Following those presentations, I’ll moderate an open discussion with the previous speakers and the audience. We used this format a couple of years ago and I’m happy we’re going back to it—I know it provided me with insights that I wouldn’t have gotten from just listening to presentation after presentation. This type of event truly allows for collaboration and for everyone’s voice to be heard, regardless of if you’re at the podium or sitting in the audience.

I look forward to seeing you this fall in San Francisco!

Sincerely,

Pete Dannenfelser
Chairman
ePharma West


As a reminder, August 22 is your last chance to save up to $200 of the standard registration rate. Register now and be sure to use priority code XP1956BLOG when registering. 



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Friday, July 18, 2014

The Week in #ePharma

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#ePharma news waits for no man.  As digitally connected as we all are, it’s easy to miss a thing or two over the course of a busy week.  Are you guilty of putting down your phone, iPad or laptop for an hour or two these last few days?  No sweat.  We took the liberty of pulling together some worthwhile pieces of news from this past week.  

Putting Together the Pieces on the FDAs Social Media Guidance- Josh Baldwin (@jjgbaldwin, @msl_group) takes a step back and looks at some of the crucial takeaways not just from the recently released social media guidances, but two earlier guidances on digital as well.  In case you were keeping score, the word “non-misleading” is used 22 times in these documents while “accurate” is used 20 times.
SEE ALSOFacebook Activity Earns Zarbee's a Slap on the Wrist from FDA

The Current State of Digital Healthcare- It’s true, you can find more than just recipes and crafts on Pinterest.  Pharma websites are proven effective at driving prospect conversions, but did you know they’re only the 8th most accessed source of digital information by patients?
Patients Online Resources
Pharma company websites scrape the bottom of the list


Survey: 75 Percent of Patients Want Digital Health Services- Brian Dolan (@mobilehealth) of @MobiHealthNews breaks down a recent McKinsey survey on patient's adoption of digital health services.  Most (75%) of the respondents would like to use digital health services, however the authors point to poor quality services and services that aren't meeting patient needs as the reasons for slow adoption.


70 Percent of Physicians Now Send Prescriptions Electronically- Mark Sullivan (@thesullivan) of VentureBeat writes that according to new data from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, “far more doctors are filling prescriptions electronically than in 2008.”  By no means is that surprising, but what may surprise you is the figure- 70 percent. 


10 Things Hospital Leadership Need To Know About Social Media And Marketing- Although more focused on hospital marketing, Nicole Fisher (@nic_fisher) of Forbes provides some figures you can impress your colleagues with.  Our favorite?  In 2013, 62% of emails were opened on a mobile device.


Looking for more than a week’s worth of the latest in digital pharma marketing? Join us at ePharma West, September 22-24 in San Francisco. Download the agenda to see what else is on tap.

SAVE $100. Register here and use code XP1956BLOG.

This post was contributed by @MikeMadarasz

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Digital Pharma Proving Effective for Direct to Consumer

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A new study from comScore shows that online direct to consumer marketing is effectively increasing conversions for both patients and prospects.  The report, which is based on survey data from 163 pharmaceutical studies, found consumer visits to branded pharma sites to be the most impact among web traffic.  Said John Mangano, VP of comScore Health Solutions, “The importance of pharmaceutical branded websites continues to be high. Our research shows that regardless of how condition sufferers get to the site, that visit has a significant influence in those patients seeking treatment.”

The comScore data showed visitation to these pharma sites to provide a significant bump in both visibility and brand favorability as well as influencing purchasing.  For prospects, site visits drove a 9.4% increase in new patient starts and for patients, there was a 14.7% increase in prescription refill.  Additionally, visits from natural search traffic were the most impactful among prospects with a 13.9 point lift in new starts.  Paid traffic came in at 9.3% for the same group. 

The consumer showed a much different attitude towards phama sites than physcians did in a recent study.  The report found that 33% of doctors never visit pharma sites and another 43% utilize them less than once a month.  In addition, physicians were more actively seeking out third party information with 85% preferring independent sources. 

Other significant findings from the comScore report include:

•  As you might expect, mobile consumption of this information was up.  Almost half of those seeking health information used mobile devices this past year compared to 35% in the year prior.  According to comScore, “As the American population continues to age, as tablets become more prevalent in the home, and as people become increasingly comfortable with using digital platforms for seeking information, we can expect these underlying trends for the category to grow.”

•  Pharma has the highest viewability* rate of any industry when it comes to online advertising.  Among the industries surveyed, pharma had the highest rate at 51%.
*Defined in the study as at least half of the ad appearing in the viewable browser for at least one second.

Pharma's outperforming other industries in online ad display 

•  Visits to health sites overall increased 36% year-over-year. 

•  The report also found a 14.2 point spike in brand favorability among patients that had visited pharma sites. 

You can request a copy of the comScore report here.

Want to see how to monetize your digital opportunities? Join us at ePharma West, September 22-24 in San Francisco. Download the agenda to see what else is on tap.

SAVE $100. Register here and use code XP1956BLOG.

This post was contributed by @MikeMadarasz

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Facebook Activity Earns Zarbee's a Slap on the Wrist from FDA

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The FDA continued their focus on social media by coming down on Zarbee's for activity on the company’s Facebook page.  Zarbee's, a company focusing on natural cough remedies for young children, received a letter from the FDA outlining transgressions within (relatively) recent social media activity.  The letter specifically focused on Facebook activity including likes on certain comments as well as two tweets from earlier this year.  Most of the highlighted activity took place in January and February of this year although two posts from October 2013 are mentioned as well. 


Some of the specific posts cited include:

  • “Liking” the Facebook comment, “…I received your…Zarbee’s Naturals Children’s Sleep Product. I have a daughter…born with cerebral palsy and she suffers from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome… [s]he took the samples you sent and slept through the night…best sleep she has had in years…”
  • “Liking” the Facebook comment, “…It is the best thing for my granddaughters bronchitis.”
  • Tweeting: Try @Zarbees #naturalremedies for Cold and Cough Season…
  • Tweeting: RT @MomCentral Have you tried #ZarbeesCough for cold and cough relief?

According to the letter, the company overstepped their boundaries by representing their products as drugs when they endorsed these comments.  The FDA explained, “Your products are not generally recognized as safe and effective for the above referenced uses and, therefore, these products are “new drugs.” 

Under the new draft FDA draft guidances, Zarbee's is not necessarily obligated to correct any of this information posted by independent third parties, but liking or re-posting it qualified as an endorsement.  Similar comments currently reside on some posts on their page but remain untouched by Zarbee's—Seemingly keeping them off the list of violations. 

Zarbees Facebook FDA Social Media

This has been the most noteworthy application of the FDA’s new draft guidances since they were published several weeks ago.  Pharma companies have historically erred on the side of caution when it comes to social and this example will likely only reinforce that approach.  We haven’t seen the last FDA warning on social but you can be assured that no one wants to be that next example. 

Want to hear more on the FDA’s social media guidance?  Hear from the FDA’s own Mark Roh as he walks through some of the new guidelines at this year’s ePharma West.  Join us September 22-24 in San Francisco. Download the agenda to see what’s on tap.

SAVE $100 as a reader of this blog. Register now and use code XP1956BLOG. 

This post was contributed by @MikeMadarasz

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Google Glass in Healthcare: Six Perspectives

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This post was contributed by @MikeMadarasz 

Google Glass is still in its Beta Period meaning many physicians will be have to settle for peer reviews on its practicality in a medical setting.  Fortunately, there is no shortage of opinions from those who have experienced the device.  Here are six different takes on how Google Glass might impact the healthcare industry:  

"It allows me to capture the first-person perspective in both image and video in a medical examination. Patients are impressed by Glass as a new technology and comment on it favorably. Only one or two patients have expressed concerns about privacy," he added, "and we make sure to reassure them that we are using it in a secure manner."
- Dr. Bill Metaxas, Physician, Foot and Ankle Institute of San Francisco via                                   InformationWeek

Google Glass Healthcare Doctors Opinions Problems Challenges
Will doctors be prescribed Google Glass?
“A big issue with Glass is how to handle patient privacy, particularly because the device connects to the internet via WiFi and thereby streams its data through Google’s servers. By the way, these issues are the same that currently exist with physicians using their smartphones for applications pertaining to patient care, including taking photos of pertinent findings. It would be great if an encrypted version of Glass were available in the future for medical use, including the exclusive streaming to secure servers.”
- Oliver Muensterer, Lead author of an International Journey of Surgery article on surgical applications for Google Glass

"[Companies experimenting with Google Glass] are making it suitable for health care by removing the Google software and replacing it with medical-grade security. These changes allow medical information to be safely transmitted.”
            - Alfred Anderson III, Technology Director, Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation

“I actually believe wearable computers are going to be a very significant part of healthcareIt's very natural to put on a wearable computer.  As a physician and CIO, I'm very conservative about going to the next technology.  So far it really seems to be, not just cool, but to meet a real need.”
- John Halamka, Chief Information Officer, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center via Modern Healthcare

"[Imagine] you're about to operate on a patient and you're going to give a certain antibiotic, penicillin before the operation and suddenly Google Glass integrated with a patient’s medical record tells you wait hold on the patient is allergic to penicillin…I think that with something like Google Glass integrated to the medical record with artificial intelligence and deep learning systems has the potential to certainly improve on that."
- Dr. Rafael Grossmann, the first general surgeon to use the device in the operating room via CBS News

“There's a lot we need to discuss before it's ready for prime time.  We have been running up against problems from before we even got the device…This is [the hospital IT department’s] nightmare."
- Heather Evans, Surgeon and enthusiastic supporter of Google Glass, University of Washington via medpage Today

Though most of the initial feedback has been positive, there are certainly obstacles that can’t be ignored.  The potential for its value to the healthcare industry appears to be there but as with anything in this space, it may be a matter of navigating some regulatory hurdles first. 

We’ll have more on some of the latest innovations in digital at ePharma West.  Join us September 22-24 in San Francsico, CA.  Check out what we’ve got on tap.

SAVE $100 as a reader of this blog.  Register here and use discount code XP1956BLOG.  

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Celebrate America and ePharma West! Register Thursday & Friday and save 30% off the standard rate!

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Let freedom ring! Celebrate America’s freedom and YOUR freedom to register for the ePharma West with a 30% discount off the standard rate!*

Register to join us and mention code XP1956JULY4 to take advantage of this discount.

ePharma West will take place September 22-24, 2014 in San Francisco, CA. Visit the website for full details.

Have any questions? Email Jennifer Pereira.

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*This promotion is only valid July 3 & 4, 2014