Friday, December 23, 2011

12 Days of the ePharma Summit

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We would like to take this time as we close out a very successful 2011.  The 10th Annual ePharma Summit was the largest ever held and we ventured west to Santa Clara to kick off ePharma West.  Blog readership and contributions were also high throughout the year.

So, to thank you for your loyal readership and your participation in ePharma throughout the year,we present you the 12 Days of ePharma!

12 Days of ePharma
12 hours of networking
11 Strategies to work with MLR
10 Tools for targeting physicians
9 New distribution platforms
8 Ways to engage consumers
7 Hours on global marketing
6 Un-conferenced roundtables
5 Visionary keynotes
4 hours on Mobile
3 All case study tracks
2 All new Symposia
And the best event in the industry!

With ePharma Summit 2012 around the corner, we look forward to seeing all of you in the new year!

-Jennifer Pereira, ePharma Blog Manager & The ePharma Summit Team

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The 11 Most Frequently Asked ePharma Marketing Questions in 2011

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What are the 11 most frequently asked questions on ePharma Marketing

11. How can digital Pharma marketing be innovative, while staying compliant, when there are no clear FDA guidelines on the way?
10. What channels work best for promoting to HCPs and Patients and what new channels and distribution platforms should I be using in 2012?
9. How can you be active and involved in the various social media channels without sounding like you’re "marketing"?
8. How is the sales force changing and what is the best way to leverage their relationships with HCPs for a full multi-channel approach? How does iPad detailing differ from a print/brochure detail?
7. What do I need to do to deploy an integrated mobile marketing strategy? How is pharma using QR codes, geo fencing, RFID and other tracking tools to measurable gains?
6. How will Pharma reinvent itself in the era of healthcare reform and how will Pharma change its marketing as a result?
5. How do I manage an effective Global Marketing Campaign?
4. How do you achieve seamless integration across distribution platforms?
3. What are the most relevant metrics for an integrated multi-channel marketing campaign and how do you measure success on and offline?
2. How can pharma marketers leverage EMR and ePrescribing technology in marketing to HCPs?
1. How can digital marketing increase my effectiveness as a pharma marketer with a shrinking budget?

All of these questions will be answered at the ePharma Summit. Download the agenda to see the comprehensive program.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us this February in New York and mention code XP1706BLOG, receive 10% off the current rate!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How can digital pharma marketers be innovative, while staying compliant, when there are no clear FDA guidelines on the way?

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You need to understand FDA expectations and how to execute compliant marketing efforts by looking to the FDA’s guidance for other channels and inferring what it means for digital, all while keeping the customers’ best interests in mind.

New for 2012, the ePharma Summit has added the MLR Symposium, providing you with the tools you need to execute a responsible marketing campaign. During this full day, you’ll hear from experts that have their foot in the door and can provide insight into what the FDA is thinking, even if they can’t say anything. You will also hear from pharmaceutical companies who have built their own social media policy, en lieu of official regulatory guidance. Regulatory executives from Shire, BMS, Sanofi and Novartis will all be on-hand to answer your most pressing MLR questions including adverse event reporting, defining medial apps and compliantly working within social media outlets.

The ePharma Summit is inviting you to get up close and personal with regulatory experts from around the globe. We’ve pulled together a panel of regulatory experts who will provide you with insight into how their countries would regulate a certain campaign. If you have a hypothetical campaign that you would like to have covered, submit it to me at for a chance to hear your campaign discussed.

Sessions covering regulatory issues at the ePharma Summit:
  • The MLR Marketing Policy Summit (all day on Monday, February 6)
  • Going Global: Examine the Digital Marketing Environment Around the World (February 8, from 3:45-4:30)
As always, if you have any questions or recommendations, please let me know.


Sarah Gordon
ePharma Summit Conference Director

*We’re implementing a Frequently Asked ePharma Marketing Questions feature on our blog, where each week I’ll post the most common questions I came across while conducting research for ePharma.

Digital Adverse Event Data and Entrenched Aversion: A Puzzling Incongruity

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Casey Ferrell is a research analyst at Cutting Edge Information. He will be guest blogging at IIR’s upcoming ePharma Summit 2012 (February 6-8, 2012 in New York City). You can find him on Twitter or over on his company’s blog.

Courtesy of
If there is one thing that exasperates me as a researcher, it is that irascible, irrational thing called human behavior, especially when it acts to perpetuate a notion that a mountain of empirical evidence dispels as fallacy. To be sure, we are all guilty of this form of willful ignorance from time to time. (Don’t try to tell my grandmother, for example, about the risks associated with too much butter in your diet — she’s the original Paula Dean.) There are plenty of examples of this phenomenon in the business world; in Pharma, one well-known red herring is adverse event reporting online.

From my recent research into pharmaceutical companies’ digital marketing benchmarks, I asked survey respondents to rate various challenges to more widespread social media adoption. Near the top of the list? You guessed it: adverse event monitoring and reporting, which joins off-label communication and ROI as the three highest-rated limiting factors. This data was collected and analyzed during the fall of 2011. That is to say, barring a sea change in opinion in the last 60 days, pharma marketers still perceive adverse events (AEs) to be a major issue — even a nonstarter, perhaps — obstructing the industry’s way forward in digital media.

But what about all that research showing how limited the occurrence actually is for AEs online? Let’s briefly recap: Visible Technologies recently published a white paper detailing a sweeping online AE incidence study that confirmed earlier research, finding this time that the incidence rate for a reportable AE was less than 1% of mentions. This study was broader in scope with more finely tuned metrics than its predecessors, which are nicely corralled here. To round out the picture, Greg Rice of Klick describes a best practice for involving pharmacovigilance in the process, because that group needs to be alerted to brand mentions that may not meet the four reportable AE criteria. Together, this body of research should lead people in pharma — be they in safety, compliance, marketing or anywhere else — to draw a fairly linear conclusion: reportable AEs are not present online in numbers large enough to make adequate, compliant monitoring and reporting impossible. To put a positive spin on that same conclusion, there is one less thing standing between pharma companies and a more robust presence on social networks, blogs, websites and other digital media. Granted at bigger brands there is still going to be logistical problems associated with sheer volume, but those are precisely the brands that should have the resources necessary to staff up their monitoring efforts. At most others, monitoring and reporting online AEs would seem to require tweaks — not overhauls – of existing standard operating procedures in place for pharmacovigilance, safety, compliance, regulatory and marketing departments.

All of this gets the heart of the question: if study after study find a miniscule incidence of online AEs, why does the issue continue to persist as a cited barrier to deeper listening efforts or broader digital engagement? Is it that AEs represent a real threat to pharmacovigilance and safety compliance? Conclusions drawn from recent research would indicate it doesn’t. Are we missing some subtle operational impracticality? Or is it that AEs represent something more symbolic? Is this all merely a reflection of a natural aversion to collecting bad news about one’s products?

If it is the last, then I offer a concluding counterpoint by way of an interview with Arnie Friede, the former FDA associate chief counsel and former senior corporate counsel to pharma, in which he said, “The fear of learning something should not be a deterrent. That’s the ostrich approach. … It’s not a valid reason, to refrain from using an appropriate communication channel because you’re going to hear something you don’t want to hear. If people are experiencing adverse reactions from using your product, you want to know about that and try to deal with it. You can’t escape these things, so why try to hide from them? It’s myopic.”

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Why Twitter Isn't Facebook

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Today's guest post comes from at closerlook, inc. He blogs at and pretty much lives on Twitter (@digital_pharma) if you'd like to reach out.

There has been a lot of speculation since it was announced this summer as to why Twitter was embedded so deeply into the new iOS5. Actually, the speculation hasn't been about why Twitter was embedded. That's easy: Twitter is a super-simple message system used by more than 300 million people. The real speculation isn't why Twitter, but why not Facebook.

There shouldn't be any surprise that the world's number two mobile operating system is trying to integrate more social media. Social and mobile is the beast with two heads. There is a reason the two have grown so fast side-by-side: they support and augment each other. So clearly, a mobile operating system would be smart to embrace this idea and partner up with a major social media platform.

On the face of it (hahaha! I hate puns) Facebook would seem to be the obvious choice. It has more than 800 million users world-wide, half of whom visit the site in some capacity daily and tend to stay for extended periods of time. It has integrated games and numerous time-wasting, distracting engagement-based tools from third parties (one of whom IPO-ed last week). While its growth is slowing, it's not because people aren't using it anymore, but because it might be reaching market saturation. Every day, new kids turn 13 (or say they turned 13) and log in for the first time, but who isn't using Facebook today who might consider it tomorrow?

So why Twitter? By all measures, Twitter is the runner-up. Fewer users, less time spent on the site (by a huge factor, because most people use Twitter via a client), etc. Between the two, who wouldn't choose Facebook?

But Apple didn't, and there are some very good reasons.
1) Facebook is a site, Twitter is a service. By many different measures, Facebook is trying to re-build the web inside itself. When you add links and videos to Facebook, Facebook tries to show them to your friends inside of Facebook. Its games work inside Facebook. The only ways to access Facebook is at or one of the mobile clients it built (there are a handful of third-party clients, but they existed only because Facebook was slow to launch fully-featured mobile clients).
Twitter, on the other hand, would be perfectly happy if you never went to its site. It wants you to use a client, on your desktop, on your cellphone, your smartphone, your tablet, your TV–whatever. Twitter works because it's simply creating connections between two people, not trying to get you to stick around its site and play WordsWithFarmWars.

2) Facebook is closed, Twitter is open. Look at the above point and see all the ways Facebook wants you to enter its garden and never ever leave. It doesn't like to even admit that you might update your status on Twitter or Tumblr or Postulous. Facebook wants you to think about the internet as a function of Facebook. An example: Ask anyone who has tried to connect their Tumblr to Facebook so that posts to Tumblr get mirrored in Facebook. It's a pain. It doesn't tell you when it works. It breaks frequently without telling you. These apps are outside Facebook and Facebook treats them like third-cousins it dislikes.

Twitter connects to... everything. You can have Twitter updates sent to your phone from 1999! Twitter lets any client connect to its API, and has been raising the number of API calls per hour (so you can use it more and more). I can send any 140 characters through Twitter. Services will shrink URLs so I can actually send a lot more than just 140. And when people click on that link, they don't stay in Twitter, they go to the link.

3) Facebook is a competitor, Twitter is agnostic. While we don't ever have the thought: Should I buy an iPhone or should I join Facebook, Apple and Facebook see each other as competitors for your attention. And as we enter the attention marketplace, your attention becomes a very valuable commodity.

Twitter is like the electric company: it’s a service. It doesn’t care what you plug into the wall, so long as it abides by some basic technical standards.

The best example highlighting the real difference between the two services is that this year, the Arab Spring movement embraced Twitter, not Facebook. And now, Apple has embraced Twitter, as well.
This serves to underline the difference between these two tools to marketers. I’ve heard too many people look at the two tools and treat them as if they were the same. They couldn’t be more different. Putting them under the same “social media” umbrella is like treating a Bugatti Veyron and Nissan Leaf the same because they’re both “cars.”

So consider them two very different things when plotting your social media strategy for the coming year. Otherwise, you won’t be getting real value out of either of them.

Monday, December 19, 2011

New Study Analyzes Big Pharma's Efforts to Reach the Multicultural Population Online

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A new study released by Global Advertising Strategies (Global) analyzes two prominent trends in today’s healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing: the growing impact of multicultural population segments and their deep utilization of novel digital capacities. The report examines how pharmaceutical companies have capitalized on these trends -- or failed to do so, -- to maximize their revenue-generating potential.

Developed by Global’s market research team, the study analyzes digital behavior patterns and characteristics of the cross-cultural community in the U.S. as they relate to healthcare information, as well as assesses the extent to which major pharmaceutical companies have utilized Internet capacities in their engagement with those audiences.

The study identifies three distinct approaches currently used by pharmaceutical companies to communicate with the multicultural audiences:
  1. Basic availability of downloadable in-language information in a PDF format.
  2. A dedicated microsite designed for a multicultural consumer that contains in-language information.
  3. An interactive, online tool for patients and healthcare providers that ensures better disease awareness and education, drug selection as well as prescription compliance in a culturally-competent manner.
“The differences among major pharmaceutical companies and their means of reaching a multicultural consumer was a startling discovery considering the lucrative opportunity that the U.S. cross-cultural community represents,” said David J. Cort├ęs Reynel, Global’s Multicultural Healthcare Marketing practice leader. “Given the remarkable growth of the multicultural community as evidenced by the 2010 Census figures, the pharmaceutical industry as a whole has yet to realize the full potential of the Internet and mobile technologies in their outreach to those communities.”

Other conclusions indicated use of simple translations of online healthcare information which often fall short of their desired intent. Most pharmaceutical brand marketers and healthcare clinicians are intrigued by cultural/language consumer online strategies, and generally recognize the need to augment their expertise in cross-cultural online marketing in order to fully maximize their revenue-generating potential, but this has yet to translate into widespread and sustained observable action.
The study offers recommendations to attain a sophisticated digital communications platform that would demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility, create an optimal patient experience and, ultimately, serve the needs of patients of all ethnic backgrounds, as well as partially alleviate major bottlenecks in American public health.

For a limited time, the study is available for a free download.  For press inquiries or to learn more about Global Advertising Strategies, please contact Alex Moncion at 212.964.0030 or

Global Advertising Strategies is a sponsor of the 2012 ePharma Summit.  For more in their involvement and the entire program, download the brochure here.  Don't forget, as an ePharma Summit Blog Reader, when you register to join us this February in New York, mention code XP1707BLOG to save an additional 10% off the current rate!

About Global:
Global Advertising Strategies ( ) is a full-service cross-cultural marketing and communications agency headquartered in New York. Its client base consists of some of the world’s leading brands in the lifestyle, travel, entertainment, financial, pharmaceutical, and media industries. Its Cross-Cultural Healthcare Practice cultivates and executes successful campaigns for leading pharmaceutical companies looking to establish and build a brand identity within key cultural communities in the United States.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Who is registered to attend ePharma Summit 2012?

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Like the holidays, the ePharma Summit will be here before you know it. Be sure to register TODAY, Friday 16 to take advantage of our best rates. Also, check out our special offers including our MLR team discount! Bring three members of your marketing team and one member of your MLR team attends for free. Group pricing is also available, call Elizabeth Weinman at 646-895-7414 for more information.

Check out the list of people already attending:

Forest Laboratories, Google, Lucy Rose & Associates LLC, eHealthcare Solutions, Pfizer, Alliance Health Networks, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc, Within3, Hologic Corporation, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Hearst, Lundbeck Denmark, comScore Inc, Publicis Touchpoint Solutions, American Greetings Interactive, Biogen IDEC Inc, MicroMass, DotHealth LLC, Vitals, Evolution Road Consulting, Daiichi Sankyo Inc, Telerx Marketing Inc, Roche Diagnostics Corporation, Delta Marketing Dynamics, DKI Direct, Sanofi Aventis US LLC, Louisville Metro Government, HallandPartners, Lundbeck Inc, Medical Marketing & Media, Mayo Clinic, Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals Inc, Precision Health Media,, Amgen Inc, XVIVO Scientific Animation, Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, Merck & Company Inc, Wired Magazine, Yahoo, Harte-Hanks Inc, Merz Pharmaceuticals GmbH, Grey Healthcare Group, Depomed Inc, Bristol Myers Squibb Company, Pharma Advertising Advisory Board, Shire Pharmaceutical Ltd, HealthDay, WebMD Professional Network, LLNS, Johnson & Johnson, PCX Pharma Connect Express, CSL Behring, Intouch Solutions, SSCG Media Group, Invivo communications, Everyday Health, Covidien, Daggerwing Health, Purdue Pharma LP

You can view the complete conference brochure here.

For more information or to register, please visit our webpage.

Don’t forget, as an ePharma Summit Blog Reader, register by today, save an additional 10% off the lowest rates of the year by mentioning code XP1606BLOG and we hope you chose to join us! If you have any questions about this year’s event, feel free to email me at

I look forward to welcoming you at the event!

Best regards,
Jennifer Pereira
ePharma Summit Social Media Manager
The 2012 ePharma Summit

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Happy Holidays (in video form)

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Today's guest post comes from James Ellis. Ellis is the Digital Strategist at closerlook inc. and blogs at He also needs more activity on his Twitter account (@digital_pharma) if you'd like to tell him he's wrong. No, really.

Yes, it's that time of year again. You may have noticed more gift food in your office kitchen or all those paper snowflakes (We're in Chicago, so we occasionally get the real kind). Maybe you're hearing more bells ringing and folks singing on the streets than you're accustomed to. Maybe you were asked to wear your ugliest sweater for someone in the office.

It's "The Holidays." Not the presidential birthdays or the fireworks kind of holidays, but the big cluster of major holidays that span religious and secular borders and encourage use all to eat too much, drink too much, and waste time reading Top 100 Year End lists online until it's almost Groundhog day.

As you already know, part of "The Holidays" is that agencies like to keep temporarily-under-utilized resources from bringing booze into the office, so they give them projects, like decorating the office or managing the holiday party. Some of them are told to be clever, funny, original, derivative, or just productive and make a holiday video. Company hjoliday videos are a strange brew of production values, brand messaging, showing off, and walking that line between humor, satire, and having a meeting with your HR representative.

We made one. And in the hopes of giving this holiday season a great big hug, we've decided to show off the others we found this season, too. If you want us to post yours, let me know in the comments!

Festivex, for maximum holiday performance

If you go to the site, check out our celebrity endorsement by Lil Bobo, the greatest wrapper alive.

Klick Health Holiday

Klick clearly spent serious time cataloging the good, bad and ugly of Christmas movies from years past and rolled it up into one glorious, cringe-worthy video.

Fuel Generosity
Less funny than earnest and pretty, this video reminds us all about the spirit of giving this holiday season.

Occupy the North Pole
On the games side, we have Occupy the North Pole, in which Santa has outsourced all elf jobs overseas. The elves protest, and you have to throw cookies at a very naughty Santa. Ho ho hey!
Did your agency do a video? Let me know in the comments and I'll post it here.
Happy Holidays, folks. Be safe, be merry, and be ready to come back next year to produce more stellar work.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Digital and social efforts ramping up in heathcare in 2012

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Many healthcare organizations are making it a priority to focus on digital platforms for 2012.  Sharing patient information through health is a way to both improve patient care and continue to stay ahead of the trend with the economic and political uncertainty that 2012 will bring.

Not only are healthcare agencies taking a more interested approach to digital healthcare, but many patients are to.  Of those surveyed, 60% of patients would be willing to share their health information digitally if it meant coordinated care between their doctors if it is in a secure format.  They're also willing to share it if it means they can make better decisions as an educated patient.  For more information on this report, visit American Medical News.

At the 2012 ePharma Summit,Ted Smith, Entrepreneur-in-Residence & Director of Healthcare MBA Program, University of Louisville, will be on hand to examine how healthcare providers work to achieve ways to move in the digital direction with the presentation, "The Healthcare Reform Tidal Wave is Coming: Where Can You Catch the Wave?". For more information on the 2012 ePharma Summit, taking place this February in New York City, download the brochure here. As a reader of this blog, don't forget to mention code XP1706BLOG to receive a discount of 10% off the current rate!

Do more patients accepting the use of digital records for better health decisions surprise you?  Could this be a benefit to both doctors and patients in the future?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Roche and Pfizer look at Google+

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While Google+ is still a new social media platform, some companies are looking at the possibilities it could have in the future.  Google+ only has 40 million users, compared to 800 million Facebook users and 225 million Twitter users, but this platform is still a beta site.   According to the Digital Intelligence Blog, Roche has created both a corporate and human resources page.  Pfizer's Turkish affiliate has created it's own company page.

According to Sabine Kostevc, Roche's Head of Corporate Internet and Social Media, “I do not see our target audiences active on Google+, so I have no concrete plan on how to use it yet. From my personal point of view it is still very much in beta and a playground for techies and the social networking avant-garde. Google+ will most likely become an important factor for search engine ranking. But, given limited resources, I'm focusing for now on helping the organisation to engage on the networks where our audiences are.”

At ePharma Summit 2012, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, and Bristol-Myers Squibb will be on hand to present "I Wish I’d Done That! Social Media" to look at some of the innovative social media marketing that has taken place a Pharma over the past year. Could Google+ appear in this category soon? For more information on this session and the rest of the ePharma Summit program, download the brochure here. Don't forget, that as a reader of this blog, you receive a 10% discount off the current rate when you mention code XP1706BLOG when you register to join us this February in New York City.

What are some of the advantages of Google+ for Pharma Companies?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Housing Dilemma for Digital Pharma Marketing

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Casey Ferrell is a research analyst at Cutting Edge Information. He will be guest blogging at IIR’s upcoming ePharma Summit 2012 (February 6-8, 2012 in New York City). You can find him on Twitter or over on his company’s blog.

My research of surveyed pharma companies revealed that 58% have dedicated digital marketing groups. I think it’s safe to assume at this point that the digital revolution is real and is only going to continue to wield enormous influence over the way in which companies conduct business, particularly in marketing. In the coming decade, the percentage of companies formally codifying their digital marketing efforts with dedicated teams will almost certainly grow as they realize the efficiencies to be had from such internal reorientation.

These structures of the groups I surveyed ran the gamut from globally centralized support teams to ones situated under brand managers. There are literally as many ways to internally organize digital marketing groups as there are companies. But what is the right way, or ways? Where should pharma companies house their digital marketing groups? I admit the premise for this blog post would seem to be an answer without a question. Digital marketing lives in the marketing department. There is no housing dilemma. So what’s the problem?

Well, it turns out that only 66% of those surveyed companies with dedicated digital marketing groups house them under marketing. I know, I was surprised, too. The other locations for digital marketing included global commercial operations, eAnalytics, public affairs and most prominently, corporate communications.

The fact that companies are housing digital marketing in departments other than marketing could be an encouraging sign for the digital evangelists out there who believe that digital’s destiny is to revolutionize the way that pharma companies do business throughout drugs’ lifecycles and from the bottom of company org charts all the way to the C-suite.

Some companies find advantages in locating these groups away from marketing. As the figure above shows, a few companies’ eMarketing teams sit within corporate communications, commercial operations, or eAnalytics. These groups are often the ones sitting at the forefront of digital marketing, not only serving brand team needs, but also clinical groups’ needs and medical teams’ needs. Digital marketing can play a role in many other ways — patient recruitment, general disease awareness and patient education, for example. For groups playing a larger role in overall digital corporate communications and working with other functions beyond marketing, these alignments particularly make sense. The alignments do not, however, prevent these teams from working with brand teams to develop and deliver digital marketing projects.

But the ones that do sit under the marketing umbrella have a much more direct line of influence on brand communications and as a result, a more pronounced impact on the digital portion of a brand’s marketing. And beyond that, brands with their own dedicated group don’t have to rely on a centralized (read: distant) group to develop or execute campaigns. Nor do they have to rely as heavily on outsourcing.

So there are obviously advantages to situating digital marketing groups both within and outside marketing departments.

I would argue that virtually every company should formally dedicate resources to digital marketing (rather than laying it at the feet of existing groups and/or FTEs). But each company ought to assess its understanding of — and expectations for — digital communications before choosing where to house this effort so as to align those expectations with its parent department’s ability to deliver on those expectations.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Messsage from Pete Dannenfelser: ePharma Summit Co Chair

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Peter Dannenfelser, Co-Chair, The 2012 ePharma Summit would like to share this message with our ePharma Summit Blog Readers:

** ** **
I want to personally invite you and your team to join me at the ePharma Summit - the digital marketing event of the year - taking place on February 6 – 8 in NYC.

I’m Pete Dannenfelser, the ePharma co-chair and the Director of Pharmaceutical Digital Marketing – North America at Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. This year, I wanted to get involved as the co-chair because, in my opinion, digital in pharma has never been more important. From the patients who benefit from our products to the healthcare professionals who prescribe them, the use of digital communication as an educational, support and marketing tool is omnipresent in their day to day lives, increasing the responsibility on us as an industry to “get it right.”

More than 600 industry players including brand managers, digital marketers and business strategists will establish strategies, standards, and best practices for marketing pharmaceuticals. This year’s comprehensive agenda includes 3-full day symposia, four customizable tracks including one un-conferenced track, tons of case studies that have never been presented before, and unlimited opportunities to network with colleagues and business partners.

This is the event that everyone in the industry must attend. Don't miss this chance to be a part of the year's biggest meeting.

I look forward to welcoming you at the event.

Best regards,
Peter Dannenfelser, Co-Chair
The 2012 ePharma Summit

** ** **

As an ePharma Summit Blog Reader, register by this Friday, December 9, to save an additional 10% off the lowest rates of the year by mentioning code XP1706BLOG when you register. We hope you chose to join us! If you have any questions about this year’s event, feel free to email Jennifer Pereira at Or visit the ePharma Summit webpage.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

History of Pharmaceutical Marketing Online

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Last year at Partnerships, @Nalts created a video for ePharma looking back at the past ten years of the history of the industry and the conference.

Watch it here:

Are you ready to make history for 2012?  Have you signed up to join us to make history for 2012?  For more information on ePharma Summit 2012, visit the webpage.  As a reader of this blog, you'll receive 10% off the current rate when you use code XP1706BLOG.  The lowest rate of the season ends Friday, so register today!

The year 2011 in Pharma has been a big year. What history can you add to the ePharma video recapping 2011?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

There's No Such Thing As A Product

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Today's guest post comes from at closerlook, inc. He blogs at and pretty much lives on Twitter (@digital_pharma) if you'd like to reach out.

When I went to pharmaceutical marketing blogging school, they taught us to always lead with a killer headline, something that demands people’s attention. I always try to pick something that intrigues you, but this time it was easy. Because the days of products are gone.

I realized this a few weeks ago when I decided to try to use a different product from iTunes to manage all my music. While I am deeply in love with my iPhone, I've never been a Mac guy. I'm strictly PC simply because I like cheap commoditized hardware that I can switch out myself as needed without having to go to some “genius” to help me make a minor fix.

So I have a PC running Windows 7, iTunes and an iPhone. I tried out two different programs, both of which worked great. They let me import my music, went and found lyrics and album artwork, let me tag tracks, make playlists, etc. You want to know the one thing they couldn't do?

Load music to my iPhone.

Why not? It's just an unbelievably pretty external hard drive, right? Wrong. It's an Apple product, which means it really only likes to talk to other Apple products using Apple software. You can almost hear my iPhone sigh when I plug it into my PC, as if it can't believe it has to keep company with such a philistine.

The same thing happened when I was trying to manage my contacts on my iPhone. I have a lot of contacts in Gmail, which is my environment of choice. But it was a tremendous hassle to get contact lists from both places to play well together.

You're probably wondering why, if I love Google products, didn't I buy an Android? I will retort, why should I be forced to?

Because we have entered the age of a system.

Facebook and Twitter are systems. They only (barely) play together through APIs. Your social media platform is a system and might not want to integrate other tools. Your CRM program is a system, and it might not talk to other systems. How you manage, communicate with and collect information from your reps is a system.

Heck, even the products we sell are systems. Diabetes drugs seem to be prescribed in groups, as do surgical recovery drugs.

And what about electronic medical records? Can I take my records from your hospital to my doctor? And even when the answer is “yes,” it’s not easy.

Hospitals are systems. Insurance groups are systems.

Cars are systems (drive a Toyota all your life? It will take time to learn what each stem and button does on that Ford or Mercedes). Political parties are systems (what Republican or Democrat believes every tenet of their party’s platform? You may buy in because of their economic policies, but you’re also endorsing their social policies, whether you agree or not). Even countries and religions are systems.

What does any of this mean? It means that you need to stop trying to sell a product and understand that people need a system, and if it's a system that can exist within and work well with an existing system of theirs, all the better.

Imagine you're trying to pitch a new social media platform on your organization. You want them to buy into FiveStepChicken (I just made that up, but now I own the name).

How do you do that? List the features? Show how it will increase productivity or effectiveness of communication? No, show how it works within the system first. That’s the first hurdle and if you can't get past that, you’re dead in the water.

We live in a system world. Embracing that idea sooner rather than later will help you achieve your goals.