Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What's Next for Pharma Marketing? A CEO's Perspective

Pin It Now!
This post was authored by @MikeMadarasz of the Institute for International Research

The continued evolution of digital, an increasing role for mobile, more touch-points for consumers.  These were some of the common thoughts on what's next in ePharma among attendees at this year's event.  For Jonathan Bush, CEO of Athenahealth, these changes are forcing pharmaceutical companies to think differently.  

"The industry is changing as whole pretty dramatically from a series of isolated vendors of procedures to a series of integrated vendors of whole life health...Right now my focus is on pharmaceuticals.  In addition, getting pharmacy companies to think differently about the way they operate.  Their mission is not to sell drugs anymore.  Their mission is to keep people out of the hospital."    

Hear more from industry thought leaders like Jonathan at ePharma West, September 22-24 in San Francisco.   Download the brochure here to see what's on tap. 

Now, SAVE $100 as a reader of the ePharma Blog. Register here and use code XP1956BLOG.

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

Check us out on Twitter: @ePharma
Join us on LinkedIn: ePharma Summit

Friday, April 25, 2014

Story Strategy: The Key to Effective Pharma Marketing

Pin It Now!
This guest post was contributed by Sam Stern of Modallic Health. 

The Pharma marketing and sales game is changing. The days of in-person, face-to-face sales driving the process are numbered. Today a new approach is needed to grab attention, build relationships, and earn trust with prospects.

Prospects today conduct as much as 60% of their research online before engaging a salesperson. The pharma sales pro is no longer the gatekeeper of product information. Prospects know pharma product data is available online. They can by-pass the pharma sales rep and learn about new pharma products, clinical studies, and even pricing and incentives.

Content Marketing is a must today to gain the attention of prospects early in the buying journey. Content marketing also helps build the relationship and earn the trust of the prospect. Pharma sales reps need the backing of effective content marketing to make their face-to-face time with prospects pay off in sales.

While most pharma firms realize the need and value of content marketing in today’s online-driven buying journey, they often times miss the mark. They simply add to the noise with a flurry of tweets, Facebook posts, LinkedIn updates, blog posts, videos, white papers, podcasts, and webinars without truly connecting with the pains and desires of their target audience.

So, how do you break through the noise and GRAB ATTENTION?

How can you get your targeted audience to KNOW who you are and what you do?

How do you get your prospects to LIKE you and TRUST you?

Marketing isn’t cranking out tweets, blog post, white papers, videos, or webinars.

Marketing is simple.

It’s getting your target audience to KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST you.

Simple. But, not so easy to do.

The Story Strategy Difference

Breaking through all the online noise and gaining the attention of busy, stressed out prospects demands a focused, disciplined approach to telling your unique story.

Stories have the power to break through the noise to educate, engage, and motivate potential buyers to take action. Stories work because you reach your prospects on a human, emotional level. YOUR story is effective simply because only YOU can tell YOUR story.

To tell a powerful, effective story that connects with your targeted audience requires a smart approach. You need a story strategy.

The Story Strategy Process

Follow these 5 steps to crafting your power-packed pharma marketing story.

1. Discover and Know Your WHY- WHY do you do what you do? People don’t buy WHAT you do. They buy WHY you do it.
Keep asking WHY to get at the root of what makes you and your business special. When you discover your WHY, you are positioned to tell your unique story that breaks through the marketplace noise and gains attention from prospects.

2. Gain a DEEP Understanding of Your Buyers-  You must go beyond creating buyer personas for the sake of simply having buyer personas. You must enter your buyer’s world. What does she see, hear, think, feel, say and do? Use an empathy map to truly understand the pains and desires of your potential buyers. Take what you learned from the empathy map and turn it into a narrative of your buyer’s Life.

3. Map the Buying Process- Your prospects enter a buying journey. They seek to eliminate their pains and accomplish their goals. They are in search of a better way of doing things, or a better life. What challenges will they encounter during this buying journey? What tools and information do they need at key points during the journey? What are the trigger points? Who do they encounter during the journey? Who takes the buying journey with them?
Screenwriters use storyboards to map out the path characters take within a story. Your buying process is the storyboard for how you move a stranger to your pharma products into becoming a happy, satisfied client.

4. Test Buyer Story Lines- Before you unleash your content marketing, make sure you’re on track with the messaging, language, and emotional triggers of your story. Test your Story Lines with the Buyer Personas you’ll encounter. Test at least 3 versions of your Story Lines on each Buyer Persona.

5. Create, Test, Learn-  Adopt a flexible, agile approach to your marketing story. After you complete the 4 steps above, you conduct micro story strategies.
You create story lines, put them in front of your targeted audience, test the elements of your story, such as the headline, key benefits, the offer, and the call to action. Based upon prospect response, you learn what resonates and what falls flat. Based upon the insights you gain, you adjust your story strategy.
This is the focus and discipline part of your story strategy. You use constant micro-strategies. You gain big insights. You make rapid iterations. This process doesn’t end. You can always improve your story.

Follow this 5 step process to use your story to GRAB attention, BUILD relationships with your potential buyers, and EARN trust. Story strategy is the way to break through the noise and win clients in today’s online fueled world.

Want to learn more about Story Strategy and the power of Story in Marketing and Sales?
Grab the FREE Guide: Tell Stories.Drive Sales.

Need more on storytelling and content market? New to ePharma West: A full day dedicated to content marketing. Check it out here


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 out some of the scenes from the 2014 edition- 

Check us out on Twitter: @ePharma

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Everyone Wins when Pharma Includes Guest Bloggers

Pin It Now!
Guest blogging is powerful. It's especially powerful in the pharma industry.

As the founder and president of a Social Media agency called Woodhouse, I often talk with clients about the importance of blogging for pharma. My company is passionate about this topic. Asking for and receiving content from people actively blogging in your therapeutic areas, but not involved in your organization, results in several key benefits: increased trust for the pharma company; new exposure for the guest blogger; and an authentic experience for the community. For these reasons, thought leaders need to be active in the conversation.

Donna Sullivan, Director of Community Management at Woodhouse Agency has led the Community Management and Content efforts for large scale pharma and life science Social Media efforts over the last five years—about as long as social media marketing has been relevant.

I posed five questions to Donna, and she provided five answers.

1) Who should pharma companies ask to guest blog? How do you find people that will provide value to the target audience?
Hands down, guest blogging is one of the most effective ways to identify, capture and share information, issues and talking points that are important to your community. There are so many important stakeholders to reach out to, ranging from physicians, patients, caregivers, medical staff, researchers, advocacy groups, etc.  Each can offer a uniquely different perspective. However, it is important to evaluate potential bloggers carefully to make sure that they also are good communicators who can offer value, and understand any specific guidelines or industry regulations that need to be adhered to. Honest communication and transparency are critical to building trust with your community, and most people can see through content that has been white-washed.

2) How does guest blogging add value to pharma Social Media and digital marketing efforts?
 It is one thing to talk about medical conditions, disease symptoms and quality of life issues - it is another thing to live it.  Sharing daily life and work challenges, or perhaps talking about symptom strategies that you offer to your patients is an authentic way to demonstrate understanding. Guest bloggers can help pharma to better support and educate the community in a more personalized and often more useful way. Guest bloggers are people. They put a face on the topics and issues that matter. They are relatable, but even more importantly, they can add value by sharing their take or lessons they have learned along the way. Personal experience is a great conversation starter and can often be an effective way to gain insights, gauge sentiment or obtain feedback.

3) Can you provide examples of both success and mistakes from your history of working with guest bloggers as a community manager for pharma companies?
How much time do you have? LOL! This is a bit of a loaded question, because it depends on your measure for success.  I can tell you that some companies do a great job recruiting the high profile, in some cases “professional patient bloggers” in their specific disease or therapeutic category. They are out there. Patients who play more professional role as advocates, consultants, or writers, versed in pharma guidelines and practices. These bloggers have often already established themselves online and offer instant credibility with the community. Then you have other companies that work with maybe younger or less experienced bloggers. Often, these guest bloggers bring a fresh voice, interesting insights and new angles, but may require additional editorial assistance or guidance. In my mind, the most successful efforts are the ones that strive to develop unique, honest and energetic content. Some examples of unsuccessful efforts that I have seen include bloggers who do not understand cultural differences, who dive too deep into their own personal issues or vent without offering useful learnings, or who come off as generic because they do not offer that balance between personal information to engage you and useful information that could help you.

4) How do you draw a line with relationships that are formed through guest blogging?
Like any business relationship, there is often a need for boundaries. The very essence of blogging is somewhat intimate as it often involves sharing personal information, so these lines can be slightly blurred when it comes to pharma. If you are working with patient bloggers, for example, who are living with degenerative or terminal conditions, the emotion and the human element is clearly part of it. Blogger toolkits can help establish guidelines, and it is important to maintain professionalism, but at the end of the day, it is the responsibility of the pharma employees to use discretion and manage the relationships accordingly.

5) What advice do you have for pharma companies and the people in charge of community management for pharma efforts?  
Do not operate in a bubble. Pharma has a tremendous amount of research and useful information to offer, but it is important to maintain honest dialogue with members of your community to make sure you are genuinely meeting their needs in the best way possible. “Think like the patient” can only get you so far.  You have to talk to them and be willing to accept their feedback in a non-defensive way.

Editor’s Note: This post was created by Greg Wood and Donna Sullivan 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.

Get more pharma specific strategies for your business at ePharma West this year. 


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

Thursday, April 17, 2014

5 Tips for Pharma Content

Pin It Now!
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.

New addition to this year's ePharma West 2014: A full day dedicated to content marketing. What it is, how to match it to specific channels and how to re-purpose what you already have.  We've got more information here.

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

Pin It Now!
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

Pin It Now!
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

Pin It Now!
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.

Pin It Now!
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?

New to ePharma West: A full day of content marketing. Get the latest strategies for fitting social and content marketing fit into your plans. Now you can save $100 on registration. Use code XP1956BLOG

ePharma 2015 | February 24-26, 2015 | New York, NY
Register now, SAVE $100. Use discount code XP1956BLOG

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

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Are You Ready for Pharma Marketing 3.0?

Pin It Now!
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
SAVE $100. Use discount code: XP1956BLOG

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