Archive for the ‘Pharma’ tag
Yesterday I spoke at the 2012 Digital Pharma Seminar hosted by Princeton Digital and VIVA!Communications. The topic was “building a digital roadmap” … or more precisely, where to start with digital strategy for pharmaceutical companies.
In highly regulated and competitive industries like pharmaceuticals, there is, however, a greater level of attention paid to the area of “listening and monitoring”. And the Medicines Australia code of conduct, edition 16, explicitly addresses social media in section 12.9 as follows:
Information provided to the general public via any form of social media must comply with the provisions of Section 12.3, 12.4, 12.5, 12.6 and 12.7 of the Code.
The focus, essentially, is on the provision of accurate and scientifically reliable information – not promotion. So I thought it may be useful to modify my How to Listen Infographic specifically for pharma. It also includes a small selection of tools that can be used to support your monitoring efforts – including free sites like SocialMention.com and Google Alerts – as well as “for fee” and “freemium” platforms like Radian6, NetBase and HootSuite.
Be sure to let me know if you have improvements or other suggestions!
It is easier than ever for brands to be created or destroyed by social media. To demonstrate this quickly, I picked a brand at random and used Twitter’s new search tools to find out what people were saying about it. Because I know that pharmaceutical companies are generally behind in their use of social media tools, I chose Pfizer. Without expecting to, I opened a can of worms.
Sure enough: using Twitter alone, I found a trend among Pfizer tweets: a reference to a lawsuit major retailers had filed against the pharma giant for delaying the release of generic Lipitor. I found references to this story in English, Spanish, and Arabic –about 45 tweets in a quick scan.The same links were retweeted multiple times.
So what’s been happening in the world of healthcare comms this week? Here are a couple of stories which have caught our eye…
An interesting study by the IBM Institute for Business Value looks at the way pharma companies are using digital media, highlighting that most companies have started to use alternative channels such as the internet and social media, but are still tending to rely on push-marketing rather than engaging in a dialogue with the public.
This suggests that simply having a presence on social media platforms does not equate to using them. At the moment, pharma use of social media seems to be at a difficult crossroads, with companies who genuinely want a presence on a number of platforms, but an often cautious approach means that they are unable to realize the potential of the platforms and engage fully with their intended audience. There appears to be a lot of box-ticking when it comes to digital (Facebook page – tick, Twitter feed – tick…), but not so much actual engagement and dialogue.In other news, this is a great example of how digital is being used effectively in healthcare. A new online network of physicians in the US, reported in Mashable, is bringing real doctors back into online medical advice. Health Tap aims to counter the trend for people self-diagnosing using sites like WebMD, which as useful as they are, can sometimes lead to people drawing rather horrific conclusions about their health.
Health Tap has expanded since its launch a year ago to include an impressive 12,000 doctors in 112 specialties. HealthTap has apps on iPhone, iPad and Android, and while it has not yet reached the UK, it’s certainly another interesting development in the e-health revolution. Read more here .
Finally, physician and digital aficionado Bertalan Mesko has written an open letter to pharma companies urging them to employ ‘Wikipedia editors’ to ensure that “only evidence-based information is included in entries about your own products”. It comes at an interesting time as the CIPR has just published a definitive guide to what you can and can’t do as a PR on Wikipedia. Dr. Mesko’s letter is published in full here and you can find the CIPR Wikipedia Best Practice Guidance here.
Welcome to ‘An Apple a Day’, our Healthcare team’s new blog!
This week, we heard a lot about the new Google ‘Knowledge Graph’ via the Healthcare Social Media Forum #hcsmeu. Google are enhancing their search service to augment search results with sets of associated facts, showing a greater understanding of search queries. So for example, you type ‘Taj Mahal’ into Google, and along with the traditional results you also get a whole host of relevant answers down the right-hand side of the page (see below).
It’ll be interesting to see how this develops and it could potentially mean much less traffic for sites like Wikipedia. The implications for pharma and healthcare marketing could also be huge, as it could revolutionise the way both patients and doctors access health data online.
In other news, there’s been a pretty interesting development around adverse event reporting in the UK. The MHRA confirmed that pharma companies will not have to trawl through the internet or social media platforms to search for reports of adverse events, except on websites or pages that they control.
This comes ahead of a July deadline for new legislation in the area, expected to bring about the biggest change in pharmacovigilance in recent years.
Back in February, the EMA suggested that under the new legislation, pharma companies would have to “actively monitor” websites and social networks, which would have significantly increased their monitoring burden. It now looks however, as though this level of monitoring will not be needed in the UK.
For so long pharma companies have been cautious about digital, largely due to the adverse event reporting responsibilities that come with it and a lack of clarity around regulations. If this is a sign of things to come from the MHRA around all things digital, particularly in terms of the new legislation, then we could see a lot more companies engaging in the future. Watch this space.
Finally, this video about the “Social Media Revolution” provides an interesting look at how influential social media has become. Although not healthcare specific and probably not new to most of you, I think it’s a really powerful reminder that digital comms should no longer be viewed as an optional extra or a ‘nice-to-have’.
Until next time…
You see, I met Terry in our early days of blogging – probably 2008, at the famous Blogger Social ’08. Our friendship had little to do with my business at the time (which was and still is focused on pharma), but we were both blogging on marketing and business topics, and we hit it off.
In 2009, I made my only appearance at SXSW, mainly to chaperone my oldest son, who was interested in film (and, hey, what’s not to like about a father-son adventure to Austin?). Being disillusioned with a lot of the panels, I spent a fair amount of time in the Blogger Lounge, where, serendipitously, I ended up at the same table with Liz Strauss. We hit it off, too.
Terry and Liz insisted that I come to this rather small conference in Chicago called SOBCon the next year. It wasn’t in my pharma sweet spot, but I was still trying to find my place in the marketing/social media/entrepreneur world as well, and I liked the idea of a more intimate gathering of status-quo-breakers. So I went.
There I met Lisa Petrilli, also visible in my HootSuite columns today. And, Anthony Iannarino, Danielle Smith, Sean McGinnis, Angela Maiers – all visible front-and-center this morning on Twtiter, all met for the first time at a SOBCon event (2010 or 2011). Because LeadershipChat was born out of a collaboration between Lisa Petrilli and me that started at SOBCon, a whole other fleet of close connections has also been developed. And as I expand out of pharma into a new endeavor, it’s people like Carol Roth and Greg Hartle and Lou Imbriano and Jeannie Waters and Liz Marshall and Sara Goodman and Jesse Petersen and Becky McCray and Alli Worthington and Fred McClimans and Brandie McCallum and Sam Fiorella and Meghan Biro and Patty Azarello and Jeff Shuey and Phil Gerbyshak and many others who are my supporters, and cheerleaders, and brain trust.
All of this grew out of LeadershipChat and SOBCon.
Which grew out of becoming friends with Liz and Terry.
Which leads to the moral of the story. Make great quality connections, cultivate those relationships, and be ready.
It may seem a bit like a pinball game at times, but you cannot and will not lose when you make friends with great people!
Hire Steve Woodruff for Clarity Therapy
Recent posts on Connection Agent:
Help Remedies is always amusing. The pharma boutique, known for its strange and compelling advertising, can liven up even the most tedious of media communications—the new-product press release. "Help I'm Nauseous is not deviled egg flavored" was the subject line of the just-released release. See the whole thing after the jump. Unlike most PR missives, it won't leave you feeling queasy.
Help® Rescues Travelers from Motion Sickness
Independent Pharma brand launches help I'm nauseous
NEW YORK, NY (May 1, 2012) – Help® announces the launch of help I'm nauseous. Just in time for summer, help I'm nauseous saves you from stomach-churning perils of being sandwiched in the middle seat on airplanes, riding in the back of the station wagon cross country while your parents sing show tunes, sailing the seas on booze cruises, and sight-seeing on double decker buses. help I'm nauseous contains eight non-drowsy 25 mg Meclizine HCI tablets for relief of motion sickness in an easy to carry, portable package.
"Motion sickness is a common part of traveling and our product is small and easy to pack," said Richard Fine, Help's Co-Founder and CEO, "It's a great item to throw into your travel bag, whether you are traveling by air, sea, or street. "
help I'm nauseous prevents and treats nausea, vomiting, and dizziness, three things that people generally don't want to experience. The product contains a single ingredient (Meclizine HCI) and comes in earth-friendly paper pulp and bioplastic packaging.
"help I'm nauseous should be included with 3D glasses," said Nathan Frank, Co-Founder and Creative Director, "nothing ruins going to see summer blockbusters more than vomiting in your lap."
help I'm nauseous joins the Help Remedies® product line which includes help I have allergies, help I have a blister, and help I can't sleep. Available in Target stores nationwide and at helpineedhelp.com.
It took me 18 months to come up with the key analogy to explain my pharma consulting practice, but I’ve gotten more mileage out of that one statement than anything else I’ve used for marketing Impactiviti (my client-vendor “matchmaking” consultancy for pharmaceutical sales/training/marketing).
Why is an analogy so important? Because we all need a shortcut into the understanding and memory of our attention-overloaded prospective customers. And the analogy – appealing to something already understood in order to bridge a gap to something new – is the most powerful mechanism imaginable to spark recognition and recall.
You’re at a cocktail party, and someone asks what you do. “I’m a corporate content development specialist for a healthcare company.” STOP!!! See those eyes glaze over? Has comprehension occurred in that person’s mind? No – because you’ve not bridged the gap. And, perhaps, just as important – will that person be able to refer someone they meet the next day to you?
Rewind. Your answer this time? “My company helps people with rare diseases. I’m like an internal reporter – I get to tell people how we do it!” Boom!
Note the following:
1. Your company is now a lot more interesting, and probably will provoke a follow-up question or three.
2. Your role is now clear – you’re a reporter (but on the inside).
3. YOU are more interesting, because your role has an aspirational and positive element, not merely a technical description. And the listener gets it, immediately.
See how powerful a simple and vivid analogy is? And, the next day, when this person bumps into the CEO of another company that they know from the gym, who happens to be complaining about how ineffective their internal marketing is…guess who comes to mind?
eBay caught on very quickly, in part, because it was just like one big virtual yard sale. People could “get” that. If you attach your company and offering to something pre-existing, common, and positive, you save yourself a ton of grief trying to force comprehension through a blizzard of terms and bullet points.
This is the most challenging deliverable in a Clarity Therapy session. First, we map out your professional DNA by digging into your (personal or company) history, competencies, and aspirations. Then we settle on the core offering, the key message, and the compelling story. Finally, we cap it off with a memorable analogy, and you’re ready with a clear and unforgettable go-to-market approach. In a world swirling with information and noise, only the crystal clear will stand out. That should be you!
Hire Steve Woodruff for Clarity Therapy
Recent posts on Connection Agent:
>> Clarity, part 1: Your Distinguishing Offering
>> Clarity, part 2: Your Go-To Market Message (in 10 words or less)
>> Clarity, part 3: People Buy Your Story
Recently, I was sitting through a capabilities overview from an agency in my pharma network, and it was filled with all the usual elements – we do this, we do that, customer logos, etc., etc. There was actually one potentially distinguishing message buried in there, which was encouraging; but then, toward the end, mention was made that the company has been in business for 20+ years.
And…and…nothing. The ball was teed up, but the 3-wood remained in the golf bag. There was the chance to tell a story – the company story – and it was missed. Any company in business that long has a lot of success, a interesting pathway of evolution, and a great way to build a bridge with the listener by using corporate history to be memorable.
Some years ago, I was evaluating a training company’s marketing and website, and was seeing all the typical verbiage and bullet points – just like everyone else, we do this and this and this. But buried in the web copy was a key point – one of the principals of the company had long experience on the pharma client side of the fence. I told them that their story was the distinguishing message: “We’ve walked in your shoes.” Most of the competitor companies did not have that same story.
When people are evaluating potential providers, one of the distinguishing elements that they subconsciously want to know is the story – why you exist, how you got to where you are now, how you’ve succeeded and evolved. This isn’t just customer case studies – it’s your profile, neatly wrapped with a bow of purpose and progress. People forget bullet points. They remember compelling stories.
There is a story behind my business practice of Clarity Therapy: it is an “accidental” business. I was helping partner companies figure out their professional DNA and message for years as part of my pharma client-vendor matchmaking service (Impactiviti), and I finally came to realize that this analytical ability was a unique skill that met a vast market need. To lead people and companies to an epiphany of their identity in a few hours time? How valuable is that? Yet it came about organically, not as part of pre-planned strategy.
Three entrepreneurs whom I deeply respect (Anthony Iannarino, Lisa Petrilli, Greg Hartle) all have great business stories that happen to be woven in to remarkable medical histories. Carrie Wilkerson (The Barefoot Executive) masterfully weaves her life story into her constant “you can do it, too!” entrepreneurial message. This past weekend’s winner of the Master’s golf tournament, Bubba Watson (pictured above – emotion is a powerful element, no?) has a wonderful story – he’s never taken a golf lesson, but just does what he does as a self-taught athlete.
Apple, Dell, the 3-M Post-it Note, WD-40 – all have memorable stories behind them. And we like to buy into something bigger than ourselves, something that transcends the ordinary, something that is a non-commodity.
Do you have a personal or corporate story? You do – but you may be so close to it, you may take it so much for granted that you haven’t teased it out. It’s one of the first things I do when I sit down with a client to help them get clear about their message – I pull out the story and help them see it.
Yes, people buy what you’re offering. But they also buy the story behind it. Don’t deprive them (and yourself!) of one of your most powerful marketing tools!
Hire Steve Woodruff for Clarity Therapy
Recent posts on Connection Agent:
>> Part 1: Your Distinguishing Offering
The company will be welcomed into the Oracle Health Sciences Suite, where it will become a key part of the company’s comprehensive closed-loop clinical trial management offering, with features guiding the client from planning to payment.
To put it briefly and simply, clinical trials are those fun (and seemingly never-ending) periods of research and development for new medical drugs, devices, and procedures. ClearTrial is just software to help manage that process. Oracle aand ClearTrial reps say the software can speed up the planning process, improve budgeting accuracy, and give all parties involved transparency on how the trials went and timelines.
ClearTrial’s current portfolio of clients includes some of the biggest names in Big Pharma, such as Botox maker Allergan, Allegra and Ambien maker Sanofi, and AstraZeneca, the seventh-largest pharmaceutical company in the world. Research and clinical trials for products from companies like these can span many years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars; ClearTrial gets a microscopic piece of that pie, but it’s a huge pie to begin with.
Oracle already has pieces of the clinical trial-management puzzle in place. For example, Oracle LabPas helps researchers find volunteers (read: human guinea pigs) for studies, and Oracle IRT helps researchers manage stuff like patient randomization and patient diary data. ClearTrial’s intellectual property rounds out the whole clinical trial offering to include planning, sourcing, and tracking these R&D-type activities.
Oracle, founded in 1977, has disclosed the sale prices of around $2 billion worth of the companies it’s snapped up over the years. For many more deals, like this one with ClearTrial, the price remains unknown.
“Biopharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostic companies, as well as contract research organizations (CROs), are facing increasing pressure to deliver clinical development projects on time and within budget,” said Neil de Crescenzo, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Health Sciences, in a release. “Adding ClearTrial to the Oracle Health Sciences Cloud will help our customers streamline the clinical development process and help them bring therapies to market with greater predictability and at lower costs.”
Image courtesy of REDAV, Shutterstock
Index Ventures may be best known on these pages for its technology investments, but today it launched a new fund that points to how the company is willing to put its money into other examples of strong innovation. The life sciences fund will see Index put in $100 million of its own capital, and have it matched by $50 million each from big pharma leaders GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson.
Much like the new $400 million fund from Iris Capital, Orange and Publicis, this fund is all about bringing in major players into an environment where they can make more investments into the technologies and services that could well be the future of their industries, but have possibly been too difficult to track and engage with up to now. This time around, the focus is not tech per se, but promising, early-stage R&D innovation in health.
This is not the first time that Index has invested in biotech but it is the first time they have raised a fund dedicated specifically to it. Previous investments include Genmab A/S, PanGenetics B/V (acquired by Abbott Laboratories, Inc,), Aegerion, Inc., Addex Pharmaceuticals Ltd, ParAllele BioScience Inc. (acquired by Affymetrix), Molecular Partners AG and ProFibrix BV as well as several later-stage investments.
In this new fund, Index will take the lead on investment decisions, maintaining full decision-making rights, while GSK and J&J will participate in a “scientific advisory board” to share their expertise. Index has up to now focused largely on European and Israeli startups working on one or two projects; and this is likely to be the same aim with this new fund. Index says it will also consider opportunities in the U.S.
The fund is being led by Francesco De Rubertis, at Index, who noted that this kind of partnership between two would-be competitors, working together in a venture fund, is something of a first: “The fact that these two global pharmaceutical leaders are committing substantial resources to seek early-stage opportunities through a pure-play classic Venture Capital fund is a testament to the visionary leadership behind the companies,” he said in a statement.
The advisory board will have nine people on it: from GSK, Dr. Moncef Slaoui and Dr Paul-Peter Tak, Head of GSK’s Immunoinflammation Therapy Area Unit; from Janssen, Dr. Paul Stoffels and Dr. Bill Hait, Global Head, Research and Development; and five Index Ventures-appointed executives: Francesco De Rubertis, Kevin Johnson, Michele Ollier, Roman Fleck, and Remy Luthringer.
[image: SydneyUni on Flickr]