Continuing on from my post the other day about Thinkers and Doers in Pharma, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of emails received and the offline debates that ensued, so a big thank you for all of you who engaged in the conversation, your perspectives and thoughts were much appreciated.

This morning, several thoughts drifted my way during the Healthcare Social Media in Europe tweetup on Twitter, which you can find by searching for the #hcsmeu hashtag.  One of the questions covered by the organisers, @andrewspong and @whydotpharma was what are he differences between the EU and US in this space? 

Perhaps rather than polarise things by region, I was thinking laterally about what is the difference between Pharma companies doing well with social media and those who are not?  Sometimes it comes down to that old chestnut:

Strategy vs. Tactics.

You see, the danger with social media is that digital agencies will start pushing it as yet another new channel for isolated tactics such as a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a YouTube video etc etc.

What Pharma really needs to do is stop and think for a minute.

Firstly, let's focus on strategy – what are the brand/company objectives?  How do any tactics relate to those objectives and how will they be measured?  Strategy is about delivering results, tactics are executional and can be as easy as posting a YouTube video, mission accomplished, never mind it might be dry and boring as @sammielw presciently pointed out in the #hcsmeu chat:

 Tactics vs. strategy in Pharma 

Developing smart and effective strategies is about putting your head on the block and being judged by the fruits of those labours – it takes time to get right and isn't easy as Seth Godin pointed out:

"Most of us are afraid of strategy, because we don't feel confident
outlining one unless we're sure it's going to work. And the 'work' part
is all tactical, so we focus on that. (Tactics are easy to outline,
because we say, "I'm going to post this." If we post it, we succeed.
Strategy is scary to outline, because we describe results, not actions,
and that means opportunity for failure.)"

Of course, it is possible to be able think strategically and execute tactics, that's what great marketers do, but all too often you get a real disconnect between the Thinkers and Doers and ne'er the twain shall meet.

The link between strategy and tactics, thinkers and doers is insights, as shown by this little interaction between @philbaumann and @whydotpharma in the #hcsmeu discussion this morning:

 Tactics vs. strategy in Pharma

Personally, I couldn't agree more with their sentiments – ultimately, insights drive smart strategies and tactics.

 Tactics vs. strategy in Pharma