Chris Dixon recently had some prescient thoughts on VC investing and early stage companies. He suggested that:
"Real value is created when you invest in great people and innovate around technology, not finance."
This is equally true of biotechnology and Pharma companies and drugs rather than the bean counters driving the balance sheets and demanding to know ROI of every strategy and tactic implemented. Sometimes you can't measure ROI and the exercise becomes something bigger than that, ie a leap of faith based on knowledge, gut feel and intuition.
Image by Will Lion via Flickr
Real value for me is created when people are aware of your product because you can't convert someone if they're not even aware of the brand. Awareness is therefore priceless.
That's also the beauty of social media – it's a great tool for driving and increasing awareness of companies, their brands and their clinical data etc.
Without awareness, you have absolutely nothing to play with from a marketing standpoint.
This is also why I've always liked solid strong PR campaigns around a product and it's data, because as more doctors, patients, caregivers become knowledgeable about your brand, the more likely you are to drive usage or uptake in the long run. This is also why women are so important in health care because they undertake much of the online research and decisions around a family's health needs.
Used wisely, social media can be a modern extension of PR in driving a company or brand's awareness. The beauty of social media as a channel, though, is that you can do it in house and it needn't cost anything, especially if done well by some enlightened and enthusiastic people internally.
Two things that would be very important to me in a Pharma marketing mix would therefore be PR and social media – the big question strategically is what form would these take?
Well, that depends on the the market, your product, stage of development and budget. The smart marketers, however, are starting to realise that they can experiment with both and find new approaches of integrating them in a way that creates a synergistic, rather than antagonistic, effect.