Highlights from Digital Pharma East Conference 2016

 

digital-marketing-1527799_1280

Very interesting and intriguing tweet from Digital Pharma East Conference 2016. What will pharmaceutical digital marketing look like in 10 years?

Will pharma still be discussing the same things over and over again? Or will they be a true disruptor and move away from the status quo/ business as usual model?

I followed the Digital Pharma East Conference on twitter and I would like to share what I believe to be important take aways for the future of digital pharma.

 

 

1.) The patient

Pharma still continues to throw around terms such as “the patient”, the need to be “patient centric, mapping the “patient journey”. The key take away, for me, is “Be what people are interested in”.

Pharma needs to stop pushing their message, and listen but really listen to what people are talking about. This is where social listening becomes a very important component to understanding the patient journey and to the digital strategy roadmap.

 

 

2.) Trust

The Epipen pricing controversy (or #epigate), along with Turing Pharmaceuticals’ Daraprim pricing scandal (beginning of 2015) and the Theranos’ scandal (earlier 2016), have eroded any trust within the pharmaceutical sector. Even if a company was not directly involved, the scandals did have a domino effect on the entire sector.  Pharmaceutical companies, today more than ever, have a social role. By this I mean they need to be companies that develop high quality drugs at a reasonable price.

 

 

3.) Content marketing

Yes! Finally content marketing is being talked about at a digital pharmaceutical conference. Traditional marketing is making way for content marketing.

Content Marketing Institute has defined content marketing as:

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

Pharma is still very far behind in content marketing. Instead of the traditional “push” mode of information, pharma needs to provide relevant and useful content and be engaging to their customers.

 

 

4.) Multi channel

I see this still being thrown around within pharmaceutical companies, and most pharmaceutical companies are still struggling to launch successful campaigns. This is due still the siloed organization within pharmaceutical. (Please read my post on “Which department owns social media in a pharmaceutical organization?” ) For true success you need more integration.

 

 

5.) Learning from other sectors

Pharmaceutical sector, like the healthcare sector in general, have what I call the “I am different” attitude. We live in digital-first world and it is very sad to see 3% of global pharma promotional budget going to digital.

Yes, each industry sector may be different, but there are learning experiences (both good and bad) that one can learn from other sectors. (Please read my post on “ Silicon Valley versus Wall Street” )

 

 

Below you can find my curated transcript of the Digital Pharma East Conference 2016 .

Virtual support groups

Haythornthwaite and Kendall (2010) state “People are using the Internet in ways that are driving change in communities – specifically, where and how they are constituted – and creating transformative effects on how we define, attach to, and retain communal identity across online and offline venue”. Whether online (via the internet) or offline (face to face) support groups are where people can share experiences, information, challenges and seek emotional or moral support. Moving from what was once listservs or support groups via emails to online Twitter or Facebook support groups. If you want to be patient centric, then you need to participate or listen in to online support groups.

1). What are online support groups? And what do patients gain in participating in online support groups?

Preece, Maloney-Krichmar and Abras (2003) define online communities as a group of people who interact in a virtual environment with a purpose, supported by technology and guided by norms and policies. Basically the social interactions take place online.

Patients and caregivers gain the following from online support groups:

  • Health related information
  • Emotional / social support
  • Access to individuals 24 hours
  • Global connections / reach
  • Sharing of experiences
  • Ability to ask questions
  • Possibility to meet and talk with others that have their same shared experience
  • Overcoming geographical location

2). How are online support groups organized?

Online support groups form around topics of interest and like minded others. Value of an online support group is provided by the ability to answer questions and concerns. On Twitter they form around tweet chats or hashtags. On Facebook they form around groups. These support groups are all open to the public, which allow for greater participation.  Closed communities such as mail lists, closed forums and closed chat rooms are not discussed here.

In 2012 Yasi, Taylor, Wells, Howell, and Raphael stated that social networking sites on Facebook provide a “psychological first aid as a support to community resilience building”, “Overwhelmingly people reported feeling a sense of connectedness and usefulness, felt supported by others and felt encouraged by the help and support being given to people. To a lesser extent people reported feeling hopeful about the future, actively involved and less worried”

3). How are online different to offline support groups?

All support groups offer informational as well as emotional support, whether online or offline. However, online support groups may help especially those that have difficulty in participating in face to face groups due to geographical location or may have a disability therefore not allowing for participation.

4). Good online support groups, what to look for?

  • A skilled moderator
  • Meets online at regular times or posts regularly
  • Has a proper hashtag
  • Tweet chat or hashtag is listed on symplur.com
  • Has doctor participation
  • Focus is on learning and on sharing of experiences and stays positive.
  • Stay away from bashing in general (doctor, hospital, pharmaceutical)
  • Stay away from data mining and spamming

5). Can pharmaceutical companies work with online support groups?

Below is one example of pharmaceutical company, @JanssenUS, working with #IBDSC online support group.

August 31, 2016 #ibdsc tweetchatibdsc-1ibdsc-2

What seems to have worked in this tweet chat:

  • Disclaimer was upfront @JanssenUS sponsored tweet chat and no talking of product was allowed and no sharing of personal information

What can be done better in this tweet chat:

  • Pharma working at arms length. If you can’t join in the discussion then thank the participants for a great tweet chat.
  • I hour and 1/2 can be pretty long, especially if you do not have a lot of participants. Tweet chats usually last 1 hour.
  • Keep the conversation going in between tweet chats you will build a larger following, which adds to the strength of the online community
  • Register the hashtag and tweet chat on symplur.com so that others interested can find and participate

Check out previous #IBDSC tweet chats:

April 2016 (https://storify.com/Sara_Ringer/dudes-with-ibd-recap-ibdsc?utm_content=bufferfdafd&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer0

Previous one in 2015 (https://storify.com/Sara_Ringer/teen-life-with-ibd-chat-hosted-by-sara-ringer-dan-?utm_content=buffer4ee38&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer)

Resources

Online Social Engagement by Cancer Patients: A clinic-based patient survey. Lawrence C. An, MD et al. JMIR  Cancer August 19, 106 in Vol 2, No 2 (2016): Jul – Dec

Finding healthcare support in online communities: an exploration of the evolution and efficacy of virtual support groups. Donna Z. Davis and Willemien Calitz. Journal of Virtual Worlds Research. Volume 7, Number 3 Lantern (2), August, 2014.

Pharma and health hashtags

blog-970723_1280

Health hashtags are transforming healthcare research online, are encouraging collaborations and can bring like minded thoughts together and turn tweets into conversations. Let’s take a look at how pharma is using healthcare hashtags in their online engagement.

1) Is pharma using health hashtags?

I have selected some random tweets from pharmaceutical companies and below each tweet you can find my comments on health hashtags.

amgen

I would have added a specific oncology hashtag.

az-nami

I would have added psychology / mental health hashtags and also NAMI twitter handle.

gilead-science

If you can’t find a specific hashtag then submit one to Symplur.

az-fit2me

I would have added some diabetes hashtags.

Overall, I truly believe pharma can do a better job in using health hashtags.

2) How can pharma benefit in using healthcare hashtags?

It is an excellent way of getting your brand seen and heard

It is an excellent way of getting relevant information to the right audience

It is an excellent way to get clinician perspectives, since clinicians use hashtags

It is an excellent way of discovering important voices in healthcare

It is an excellent way to put lay people in touch with recent research & researchers with people with lived experience

It is an excellent way to encourage collaborations, especially around health care topics

It is an excellent way to identify topics of discussion

It is an excellent way to help collaborators identify each other.

3) Getting the right hashtag?

Sometimes hashtags can be overly specific and too generic making them hard to find and hard to collaborate on specific topics. I have come across hashtags that only have one or a few tweets. The Symplur Healthcare Hashtag Project is free platform for patients, caregivers, advocates, doctors and other providers that connects them to relevant conversations and communities. Can’t find a specific health hashtag, you can also add a hashtag on Symplur.

symplur-homepage

4) So how can pharma adapt to health hash tagging effectively?

First and foremost be sure to research a health hashtag before using it. If it’s rarely used it won’t reach a large audience. Do some social listening to identify health hashtags and topics of discussion. Sometimes pharma companies create their own specific hashtags, but it’s hard to develop a following. The best approach would be to have brand teams include in their campaigns popular health hashtags.

5) What are some of the most common health hashtags?

Symplur is your go to resource. On their website you can identify Tweetchat hashtags, Conference related hashtags, Disease hashtags and health hashtags that are regularly used.

symplur-healthcare-hashtag-project

Resource:

Symplur: http://www.symplur.com

Self forming groups the new form of patient advocacy

team-386673_1280

Pharma working with traditional patient groups may look like old school or so yesterday.  Inspiration for this blog post comes from  the New York Times article by Tara Parker-Pope, How parents harnessed the power of social media to challenge Epipen prices (August 25, 2016). Today self forming groups is the new form of patient advocacy.

Q1: What is the difference between self forming patient/consumer groups and traditional patient/advocacy groups?

With the advent of internet and social media, self forming groups have been coming together to organise online. They tend to quickly organise themselves around a certain cause or issue, driven be a passion and motivation and tend to generally be short lived. Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell referred to these consumers and their voice as Citizen Marketers. Traditional structured patient advocate groups on the other hand can be defined as “an individual or an organization, often, though not always, concerned with one specific group of disorders. Typical advocacy activities may include: patient rights, matters of privacy, confidentiality or informed consent, patient representation, awareness building, support and education of patients, survivors and their carers”.

Q2: How are they different in driving patient advocacy?

Traditional patient groups, which are built as traditional hierarchical organisational structure, which in todays internet world can slow decisions. Membership, plays a key role in sustaining these patient organisations and as political clout. Also fundraising is a cornerstone to sustainability and several, if not all, are bound to pharmaceutical sponsorship. Whereas self forming groups come together when there is a need, have no internal reporting and no binds to sponsorship. In fast paced world of internet and social media they are free and more quick to respond to consumer needs.

Q3: Should pharma pay attention to these groups?

They are a force with which pharmaceutical companies must learn to contend with. The self forming groups have the ability to gain momentum very rapidly and have the potential to bring about change. Through crowdsourcing, broadcasting or making our opinions concerns heard across the internet or through social media can come about very easily. Crowdsourcing can be defined as:  the process of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, especially an online community, rather than from employees or suppliers. Each person’s contribution combines with those of others to achieve a cumulative result.

Q4: How could pharmaceutical companies work with these new groundswell groups?

Usually these groups are initiated by one influencer which has the capacity to bring together a crowd, through crowdsourcing. One way pharma could approach these groups would be to identify and build a relationship the influencer. Responding or engaging, which pharma is still trying to figure out, to the online discussion would also be vital. I also believe there is a possibility to work in both real and virtual spaces.

Q5: Do self forming groups have success?

Yes. Just take a look at the recent #epigate. A perfect catalyst for change initiated by one influencer, who had strong feeling of rage and anger, created a kick ass hashtag, and through crowdsourcing, was able to raise awareness and challenge epipen prices.

Resources:

How parents harnessed the power of social media to challenge Epipen prices. Tara Parker-Pope. New York Times August 25, 2016.

Citizen Marketers, a book by Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell

Which department owns social media in a pharmaceutical organization?

whiteboard-849810_1280

Probably one of hardest and most often asked questions I get is “who owns or where should social media sit within an internal organization of a pharmaceutical company”?

Q1: So where should social media sit in an organization or who should own the responsibility of social media?

Social media across the years has come to play an important role in business. No longer is it just a nice to have, but rather it is an essential and integral part of any organization. In the same right social media has become a very sophisticated art and science that requires expertise, knowledge and the proper skill sets.

Therefore that is why today we speak of a “social media community management” that sits within an organization. Social media experts within pharmaceutical company should know social media platforms and audience best and what works and does not.

I believe that social media is not the responsibility of a sole team. Instead I see social media effecting the entire organization.

Owyang (2010) describes five different models in which organizations can organize internal for social media management . Dots represent those using social tools within an organization.

screen-shot-2016-08-24-at-10-28-41-pm

Most pharmaceutical companies appear to be, in my opinion, in the “Organic” structure. Why? From the outside it appears that messages are not really coordinated and branch offices are doing their own things. There does not appear to be coordination of company message, but more of isolated initiatives. HR is using social media for hiring. Communications is just an extension of the PR arm pushing press releases via different channels  or communicating corporate messages / corporate reputation. Whereas, marketing, is using social media an arm’s length away by delegating to PR agencies, still need to work on how to use social media campaigns and product launches. Pharmaceutical is a very regulated industry, then even more so to have a more coordinated structure or multiple hub & spoke in place.

Q2: Should you be making your organization more social?

So how do you go about by making your organization more social. Start by building your expertise in house.  Giving social media the priority it deserves within a product team. Start by identifying employees within your organization that are using social media and understand it. Get them on board since they will understand how social media works. This will give you the competitive advantage and knowledge.

Q3: What kind of model works bets in coordinating a response in a crisis?

Many departments will have a role in a crisis management. This is further evidence why social media should sit across the entire company and not to a sole team or department. In a crisis situation all teams and departments will want to act swiftly and messages must be coordinated. Each department and/or product team knows their product and responsibilities best.

Best way to manage this would be to a have dedicated social media person on the team that would know how to respond.

crisis-social-media

Q4: Who is the content expert and department expertise?

Content expert is the product team. Usually cross functional. But social media always is an expertise in it’s own. Departments are usually built around a certain function or supporting function that are experts with legal regulations and company policies and standard operating procedures.

Q5: What role does social maturity play in all this?

Social maturity plays a very important role in having in place an organization that incorporates social media. In my honest opinion I believe that pharmaceutical companies are still in the early stages of social maturity. They are aware that social media is changing our way of doing business. But there is lack of coordination. The marketing team has some agency Tweeting a conference. HR looking for potential recruits. PR posts a video or has blog about their corporate reputation. There is still doubt within the organization about the value of social media and what impact it can play in business.

modified-gartner-social-maturity-model

                                                                                                    

Resources:

Framework and matrix: the five ways companies organize for social business. Jeremiah Owyang. April 15, 2010.

http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2010/04/15/framework-and-matrix-the-five-ways-companies-organize-for-social-business/

Where does your social media department sit in your organization? By Alan Cronin November 3, 2015

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/where-does-your-social-media-department-sit-alan-cronin-

The evolving social media department: a new approach to maximizing social ROI. By David Rush. Uly 24, 2014

https://earshotinc.com/evolving-social-media-blog-html/

Who “owns” social media data at your company? By Kevin Shively. July 26, 2016

http://simplymeasured.com/blog/who-owns-social-media-data-at-your-company/#sm.00000sqejtztd4ctxx4tydnulmz8z

Where should social media sit in an organization? By Will Bond. May 14, 2014

http://www.emoderation.com/where-should-social-media-sit-in-an-organisation/

Blurred lines: who owns social media in the enterprise? By Sam Fiorello January 15, 2014

http://www.senseimarketing.com/blurred-lines-who-owns-social-media-in-the-enterprise/

Why it doesn’t matter who “own” social media. By Jade Mangahis. January 28, 2015

http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/Why_it_doesnt_matter_who_owns_social_media_17991.aspx

Who should own social media? By Karima Catherine March 12, 2013

http://3angelsmarketing.com/2013/03/who-should-own-social-media/

Disclaimers don’t work @PfizerCongress

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 8.30.57 PM

@PfizerCongress describes it’s Twitter handle as “tweets are for European-based healthcare professionals only” and then goes on to explain “house rules”. Sorry @PfizerCongress welcome to Twitter world where the rules are those of engagement.  Twitter has it’s set of house rules also.

Pharmaceutical companies feel that they can protect themselves from harm by putting out disclaimers such this. I have seen many of these kinds of disclaimers around on social media, but from all the articles I have been reading it appears that they meaningless.

Q1: Do disclaimers, such as in the @PfizerCongress, provide any real protection?

Pharmaceutical companies are working in a very regulated industry environment, I get that. FDA in the US and EMA in the EU.  The fundamentals of social media are don’t say something that you should not be saying.

Q2: How are you going to protect or monitor responses to your tweets or re-tweets and who is following?

Disclaimers such as these do not protect you in this case either. I take it that the reason you are on Twitter in the first place is to share information with your audience. If people retweet and comment then you are engaging, which is even better. So @PfizerCongress you have to make sure the information you share is accurate and is according to policy set forth by the pharmaceutical regulatory agency in your jurisdiction. No matter what you will always be accountable.

Q3: How do people or professionals view them?

I just happened to see this in my twitter feed. But many of your followers may not see your disclaimer tweet at all. You will have to tweet several times a day for followers to see and take note. On top of everything this is not reality and followers will just steer away. This is sad because you may be sharing important medical updates from conferences that could interest many of your followers.

You are also not very transparent. I had to click on the link under your Twitter profile in order to get to the your house rules.

Pfizer at EuCongress with red circle

Q4: How does this impact or reflect your organization and reputation?

Not very good. It tells me you do not understand social media. It also makes me think that you could be doing a sloppy job in branding. Your information should be correct and according to pharmaceutical regulatory policies and if your job is done right then there is no need for disclaimers. This in the long will reflect on you as a company and your brand reputation.

Q5: Why are disclaimers useless?

It’s all on record, so always think before you post.

Resources:

Disclaimer “these views are my own”. By Koka Sexton. March 31, 2015

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/disclaimer-views-my-own-koka-sexton

Whose opinions are these now? Fix your brand and we won’t wonder. The Schumin Web jpnuary 5, 2014

https://www.schuminweb.com/2014/01/05/whose-opinions-are-these-now-fix-your-brand-and-we-wont-wonder/

With twitter Disclaimer, you can still get fired. By Brett Snider, Esq. On June 18, 2013

http://blogs.findlaw.com/law_and_life/2013/06/with-twitter-disclaimer-you-can-still-get-fired.html

Why you should drop your twitter disclaimer. By Stuart Bruce March 11, 2014

http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/Why_you_should_drop_your_Twitter_disclaimer_16221.aspx

The problem with adding “thoughts are my own” to your Twitter bio. By Claire deBell. January 29, 2013

http://sproutsocial.com/insights/my-thoughts-are-my-own-twitter/

Social media doesn’t sleep, so why should you? By Josephine Borrillo February 1, 2016

https://josephineborrillo.com/social-media-doesnt-sleep-so-why-should-you/

Why pharma should put social media influencers on their roadmap

woman-1527670_1280

The internet has brought about many changes in the way we exchange, share and seek information. The internet has also created social media influencers. Who are these influencers?  Should pharmaceutical companies and healthcare start to have an influencer marketing plan and ditch the celebrity testimonial?

1)Who is the social media influencer?

Altimeter Group defines an influencer as follows:

“An influencer is defined as someone of notable status and focus within a community who possesses the ability to cause effect or change behavior among those to whom they’re connected”

In other words the social media influencer leverages his/her social capitol.

The Altimeter Group then goes on to describe the three pillars of influence: reach, resonance and relevance. Reach is built on popularity, proximity (geo location) and goodwill. When we speak of relevance, we are referring to subject matter expertise such as authority, trust and affinity. Resonance on the other hand refers to how many people see a post and for how long that conversation continues in time: frequency, period and amplitude.

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 9.35.48 PM

2) Is there a way of measuring the social media influencer?

As a society we love numbers and numbers guide us in our decision processes. If we go back a just few years ago it seemed like everyone was looking at their Klout number. Klout, an online platform measuring social media influence software, could calculate how “influential” one was online. Today we have moved beyond Klout and just relying on a number is not enough.

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 11.14.22 AM

The social media influencer has become more of a polished and refined profession. The social media influencer today picks and chooses the platforms or a platform that seems to works best for them and their business. In other words you can still be influential and only be on one platform.

The number of followers is still important, but it is not the only indicator of influencer since it can be misleading. In order to have an effect on others we must look at the engagement level of our social media influencer.

3) So how do you find influencers?

You can find influencers on any social media platform. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn. Each platform is different and engagement levels and audiences are very different.

4)Should pharma have an influencer roadmap?

Yes. First, start identifying where your social media influencers are and which social media platforms they are using.  Start by just listening, what they taking about? Who is their audience (that is their outreach)? How do they engage with their audience?

Everything in pharma is more complicated because of it being a highly regulated industry.  As a case study I think what comes to everyone’s mind is the Kim Kardarsian post on Instagram regarding a drug for the treatment of morning sickness. The post was immediately pulled after FDA sent a warning letter to the drug manufacturer.

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 10.36.22 AM

As people in pharma know very well, guidance in the US is given by the FDA. However, it would be of interest to also take a look at the FTC guidelines. The guidelines updated in June 2015 and focuses primarily on how brands should work with testimonials and endorsements. The aim of the FTC is to make sure that the consumers can clearly distinguish between a paid-endorsement and an independent third party review. The bottom line is always be transparent.

5)Why should pharma consider social media influencers in their thinking process?

As mentioned in the opening lines, the internet has brought many changes and todays’ consumer has fundamentally changed. To be in line with these changes pharmaceutical marketers need to start incorporating digital influencers in their thinking process.  In my opinion, it feels like DTC is so “yesterday”. I truly believe, the future could see a switch from celebrity testimonials to online influencers. Many factors point in this direction. Social media is becoming the more widely used source of information for patient information, you can reach a wider audience and it is way cheaper.

Resources:

Influencer marketing is the next big thing – just don’t make the same mistakes as some pharma companies by David Zaritsky, January 5, 2016

https://www.pm360online.com/influencer-marketing-is-the-next-big-thing-just-dont-make-the-same-mistakes-as-some-pharma-companies/

The rise of influencer marketing and the opportunity for marketers in 2016. By Nicolas Chabot December 10, 2015.

http://digitalmarketingmagazine.co.uk/digital-marketing-features/the-rise-of-influencer-marketing-and-the-opportunity-for-marketers-in-2016/2974

Getting a sharper picture of social media’s influence. By Jacques Bughin. McKinsey Quarterly. July 2015.

http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/getting-a-sharper-picture-of-social-medias-influence

The rise of digital influence. A “how -to” guide for businesses to spark desirable effects and outcomes through social media influence. By Brian Solis. March 21, 2012. Altimeter Group.

http://www.slideshare.net/Altimeter/the-rise-of-digital-influence