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Digital intelligence blog

Pharma insight on digital marketing, social media, mobile apps, online video, websites and interactive healthcare tools

Digital marketing: same rules, different tools

But companies considering social media monitoring should move to 'listening with intent', meeting hears

Pharmaceutical marketers should not view digital marketing as a separate discipline, according to Anand Sharma.

Formerly a global healthcare director at Reckitt Benckiser, Sharma said the important thing to remember is that “digital is still marketing, it just uses a different tool”.

“If you can do marketing, possibly you can do digital marketing, but we should ensure that the tool does not become the master – it's about brand building and innovation,” he told Pharmiweb's Digital Breakfast seminar last week.

“You need to bring a mindset of innovation to digital … otherwise you will end up with a website that nobody visits,” he warned.

Sharma spent 15 years at Reckitt Benckiser as a global category director for healthcare, managing heavyweight OTC brands like Lemsip and Gaviscon, and last month set up his own marketing consultancy, Growth Angle

He said pharma should look at the digital media it uses as either being owned (its own websites, for example), bought (through advertising) or earned (via social media interactions).

“The core and heart of your strategy should be on the owned media and then you should leverage this through the bought and earned media.”

But this, Sharma cautioned, requires an integrated strategy and must be adequately resourced internal – “this,” he said, cannot be an afterthought.”

Social media monitoring for pharma
The Digital Breakfast seminar also heard from Duncan Arbour, head of strategy at consultants Blue Latitude, who poured cold water on the idea that social media monitoring is a universal panacea for pharma's digital market research.

“Screw monitoring, you want to be 'listening with intent',” he said. “Do have a purpose, do have a point to prove and don't try to 'boil the ocean'.”

When it came to who to concentrate on, Arbour was clear that for pharma it should be payers – “the most important figure for your future growth and profitability”.

Pharma should look at what payers need, he said, pointing to the health outcomes data that is increasingly available through services such as PatientsLikeMe, Health Unlocked and MediGuard. “Your customers want you to be useful,” he concluded.

5th March 2012

From: Marketing

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