Pharma Strategy Blog

Commentary on Pharma & Biotech Oncology / Hematology New Product Development

Fred Wilson in his excellent blog forum A VC posted this comment today, while commenting on Citibank in the New York Times:

"Old school companies sticking to old school approaches that don't work
anymore. All the while new companies with new approaches are succeeding
and even thriving."

The same thing is happening in the Pharma and Biotech world. 

Old school marketers waste money on DTC TV and print ads that no one notices anymore; it's big money down the drain, but powerful advertising agenies love the moolah it brings.  New school marketers step back and think out of the box then find ways to make the internet work by reaching out to doctors and consumers in more creative ways that also bring effective communication of their messages, better bang for bucks and more measurable ROI.

What online ideas do you love for Pharma marketing campaigns?

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9 Responses to “Is Pharma marketing changing?”

  1. Fred

    i think email marketing is still very powerful, particularly in markets that have not overused it

  2. Sally Church

    Good point, Fred.
    We used to buy email lists from the physician bodies and were amazed at how many doctors used their personal email address. This meant that we could target them for online educational programs and avoid institution spam filters.

  3. Lawrence Sherman

    I have to agree with my CME colleague Fred Wilson! In CME we incorporate newer technologies for promoting activities in addition to traditional measures. For instance, even though email has been around for years, it is still considered secondary to mailing invitations. Now outside of CME (basically the rest of the known universe) email has taken over from or at least supplanted mail. In CME we haven’t completely let go, but we are using email, blog postings, microblogging, advertising on online megasites, satellite radio, cable television, and other media to promote our activities. And yes, even the old facsimile machine is still being used by some…
    Our balance of new technology and old methods is leaning towards new tech, but many haven’t gotten there yet!

  4. Jeremy Dent

    Email marketing is still a fundamental tool but data management is vital. The use of mobiles for email has actually given it a shot in the arm.
    Pharma has its own unique promotional limitations but, from a public relations point of view, the principles of digital PR are the same. Many practitioners don’t ‘get’ the digital dimension — that all content developed must be written for human eyeballs as well as search engine visibility, ie with semantic mark-up.
    Buzz and sentiment monitoring allows a marketing team to measure what’s being said about a company/drug and influencer analysis, a step beyond sentiment monitoring, maps individual influencers (like Sally!) and offers actionable digital communications strategies.

  5. Sally Church

    Have you ever compared the different methods for effectiveness, Lawrence?
    Would different physician types respond to different methods of communication?

  6. Sally Church

    The biggest challenges I found with direct mail were actually getting it past the gatekeepers to the target doctors. Oddly, officious looking brown envelopes seemed to work rather well.
    Community doctors and primary care/general practitioners are generally easier to reach by email because they often use their personal email accounts, which are less likely to get caught compared to hospital and institution spam filters.

  7. Sally Church

    As an aside, what about reaching out to the Pharma and Biotech professionals with emarketing campaigns?
    How effective are they and do they tend to end up in people’s spam/junk boxes never to be seen again?

  8. Michael Frick

    I am on the Consumer side and the comment “Old school companies with Old school approaches” is sadly true. At Kosmix/RightHealth we try to get the clients to focus their dollars on the rifle shot approach of Targeting, not the shotgun appraoch of Run of Site, which is where most of the dollars go. Getting the agencies to adopt this is coming along, but everyone is scared of DDMAC and what trying a new approach will yeild.
    We are looking at products that Target specific therapuetic areas, link directly to information clients want/need users to receive, and make the info available based on the relevancy of the query. Further, we are pricing these types of programs on a CPC basis. It is far more efficient that CPM pricing, and again gives clients the targeting they need at the same time keeping udgets in line with an ROI model they can understand.
    Pharma needs to move away from TV and Print, and look at new technologies online for a better ROI.

  9. Sally Church

    Good points, Mike. I’m finding clients surprisingly receptive to the idea of social media to track consumer sentiments. We should talk buddy!

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