Wednesday, March 16, 2016

ePharma Summit Recap on Customer-Centricity, Social Listening and Storytelling

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With the growth of social media, social listening for pharma is being more and more integrated in a marketing strategy. This year at the ePharma Summit many speakers couldn’t emphasize enough the importance of monitoring the conversations that take place online. Here are just a few reasons why social media listening is important for pharma: 

Why do you “listen”? 

Reshema Kemps-Polanco, Global Marketing Leader, GU Oncology Franchise at Johnson & Johnson:

“We do social media listening to understand our product, competitors, and our patients. We listen to the conversations to have a better idea on what the industry looks like at the moment [to help build empathetic brand.]”

Christophe Trappe, the Chief Storyteller, The Authentic Storytelling Project (@CTrappe):

"When you share the story, there's always a different perspective. Make sure you pass the message that was intended to be passed." 

Grace Soyao, Founder & CEO, Self Care Catalysts Inc.(@gracesoyao) started her session ‘Patient’s Digital Life Driving New Business Intelligence, Insights and Decisions’ from quizzing the audience: 

“Are you changing with the patients?” Approximately 50% of the room extended their hands. “Good, because once patients go out, they start going digital. They go online, research their medical conditions and address their questions in an online communities. And if you only rely on the traditional marketing, you won't know their (patients') stories.”

Be smart about doing social media listening 

ePharma Summit. Edlynne Laryea "Listening to Learn - How to Generate Insights from Social Data" slide
Social listening is extremely important but there's so much data being generated that it turns into noise. It’s becoming harder and harder to scan the internet for insights, so you have to know what you are looking for. 

Edlynne Laryea, Social Media Lead, Worldwide Digital Center of Excellence at Johnson & Johnson (@edlynne) during her talk on ‘Listening to Learn – How To Generate Insights From Social Data’ suggested: 

In order to evaluate the data driven through social listening, you need to ask yourself (and your team) the following questions: 

• What will this data tell me?
• Is it something new?
• Can I use this data?
• If my competitors had this data, how would they use it against me?
• Does someone else care for this information? And how can I make them care? 

But also:

• Can we use the insights to get better? How can we optimize our campaign after it has been launched?

Social listening and Content Marketing

How patients search on your brand online? They don't

ePharma Summit. Presentation slides

Being just a silent observer is not enough. It is really important to listen, but then you have to engage.

“Why do you think content marketing matters?” Trish Nettleship, UCB, Inc. (@trishnet) asked the audience during the ‘How to Move from Product Talk to Content Driven Experiences’ panel at the ePharma Summit.

“It's about changing the focus of us as a brand and shifting it to our customers (patient experience.) Go online! How patients search on your brand? The answer is - They don't! Patients are looking for their symptoms and diseases.” 

Nettleship stressed on the importance of understanding the audience, their wants and needs. “Once this is established,” she followed, “the pharma businesses can start figuring out how to match the patients’ needs with the business objectives. Not the other way around.” 

In the age of patient-centricity, it is crucial to deliver relevant content; content that speaks to the consumers. But how do we know what content works? Some experts suggest to go over the patients’ houses and speak to them in person, some – to conduct focus groups and extract value from there, and others hint on social listening. There’s no right or wrong answer. We need to optimize and focus our messaging – the value proposition as we go on with a campaign. Because it's about building a long-term relationship with the audience. 

Sandra Valez, Content Strategy Leader, Customer Engagement COE, Merck couldn't have said it better:
“It is really important for you to understand What Does Your Customer Really Want in order for you to start building your patient-centric content marketing strategy.” 

Have some thoughts and would you like to share them on Twitter?

Don’t forget to mention @epharma and #ePharma16! 

About the author: Ksenia Newton, a Digital Marketing Assistant at Informa, Knowledge and Networking, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at or @ksenia_newton.
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