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pharma

Playing it safe

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LinkedIn is one of the fastest growing professional social networks. According to statista LinkedIn today has 433 million users.

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LinkedIn distinguishes itself, from the other social media channels as being a social network that brings professionals together. Historically, this is where recruiters go to find and recruit talent and where individuals can connect for business purposes. However, today it is becoming more and more a mainstream channel to promote your brand and company messages.

1) Ok so we all know by now that LinkedIn is well known for recruiting talent. How do the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors rank on representation when compared to other industry sectors in attracting talent?

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By looking at the chart, I guess we could say pharmaceutical along with healthcare are one of the least represented industries among top attractors on LinkedIn. A sought after employer not only brings a competitive edge for the company, but also value and good reputation.

2)So what can pharmaceutical companies gain by becoming more active on LinkedIn?

First, it is probably the “safest” social media channel.  If you want to start in social media, start with LinkedIn. Since the network is built on professional network, many of the comments and material or content shared tends to “stay” professional. In stark contrast to content shared in other social media channels such as FaceBook and Twitter.

Second, many modern day CEOs today are on at least one social media channel.  So if a Fortune 500 CEO has to start on a social media channel, LinkedIn would be the place to get your feet wet.  Ian Read Pfizer CEO was among the early pharmaceutical CEOs to join LinkedIn influencer program when it broadened its’ program.

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3)What other features does LinkedIn provide?

Besides building reputation and getting your feet wet. LinkedIn launched its InMail service in February 2015 as part of its’ Marketing Solutions portfolio. Features of InMail include 1) real time dynamic delivery of sponsored emails / updates / campaigns to a target audience; 2) mobile-optimized templates making it easier to view on any mobile device, 3) rich targeting capabilities ( industry, job function for example).  These all become part or should be a part of marketing strategy. LinkedIn also is a way of by bypassing open comment possibilities. This is where the safer concept comes in play.

4)Pharma LinkedIn Influencers?

The LinkedIn Influencer program launched in February 2014. This may explain why we see a more diverse set of influencers, beyond, Barak Obama and Bill Gates. Some Healthcare & Pharmaceutical CEOs that are part of the Influencer program include

Pfizer Ian Read (120,370 followers)(accessed July 28, 2016)

Abbott Laboratories Miles White (113,524 followers) (accessed July 28, 2016)

Cardinal Health George Barrett (15,823 followers) (accessed July 28, 2016)

According to social CEO report 2015 “Highly regarded companies are more than three times as likely as those with weak reputations to have a CEO who participates in social media.”

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Younger CEOs are on more social media channels and they understand the benefits they can achieve from social media engagement. The advantages of being part of the influencer program allows a CEO to be able to think like a business leader, which the professional community looks up to. Pharmaceutical industry needs to learn that it must define itself externally above and beyond the brands and this is where the Influencer program can play a pivotal role. An Influencer can also help the audience understand the pharmaceutical process of bringing meds to market. CEOs engaged in social media channels can contribute to the companies ROI by bringing in reputation rewards.

5)How about leveraging all your employees?

Pharmaceutical companies can leverage one of their greatest asset, its’ employees, colleagues and associates. This is one of fastest and easiest way of broadening and reaching a greater network with your company message.

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As we can see from the chart above the bigger the company the wider the reach to build up your followers.

My insights & takeaways: How pharma can win in a digital world

How can pharma stay ahead in the digital revolution?

How is pharma transforming itself in order to stay competitive?

Pharma companies must recognize the new decision-making power of the consumer and develop better ways to engage with them and deliver a new customer experience. Today’s consumer has higher expectations and pharmaceutical companies will need to meet these new demands. Patients / consumers are on number of digital channels, pharma will need to identify and pilot different approaches in order to reach these patients / consumers.

I fully agree with Dr. Todd Johnson, CEO of Noble.MD statement: “Apps that face the patient but are designed to solve pharma-company business needs should never exist.”

In the future patients’ brand loyalty will decrease and cost consciousness will increase.

Carefully designed clinical trial data will no longer be the sole source of outcome data and therefore pharma will lose control over it’s value stories.

Pharma companies will need to identify and understand which digital / technology solution will provide the most value for their business. A fundamental question to confront will be choosing between developing digital solutions in-house or through partnerships and third parties.

Reference: How pharma can win in a digital world. McKinsey and Company. December 2015 by David Champagne, Amy Hung, and Olivier Leclerc

My insights & takeaways: Connecting the Dots

As the Millennial workforce moves in, what role will they play in helping pharma adopt social media. Can they accelerate the change &/ or participation?

Pharma’s audience has always been the physician. On social media doctors are not the only audience.

Having more twitter accounts allows for pharma to focus more on specific niche markets. This may build a stronger and more focused community.

Reference: Ogilvy Healthworld. April 2015.  Connecting the Dots