With nearly 300 other pharma marketers and communicators I turned up in a chilly Berlin last week to attend eyeforpharma’s 5th Annual eMarketing Europe Summit. There was a cautiously optimistic mood about the place, a sense that we’ve moved from “should we?” to “how shall we?” on a number of fronts. There was a mixture of pharma company and vendor presentations of varying originality and interest, but all in all I learnt some stuff and met some very interesting people.
Here are my top 5 take-aways:
- Pharma companies are now (finally) serious about digital.
- Customer Service has arrived.
- The basics are still important
- Regulators don’t always say No
- Social media, vital and impossible?
I’ll post my five top take-aways over the next few days, as well as sharing some other bits and pieces from the event. Check out the Twitter hashtag #efp to see all the comments from the two days.
Take-away 1: Pharma companies are now (finally) serious – digital is a global strategic imperative.
Does anyone else feel a sense of déjà vu? In the late nineties/early 2000s many pharmaceutical companies recognised the potential of “eMarketing” and hired eMarketing leaders from “outside” and built central teams to rollout this new sales panacea. These leaders (yours truly included) did some pilots, demonstrated ROI (sometimes) put up some (good and bad) websites, moved to other jobs.
Times became tougher, eMarketing was not yet running through the veins of the organisation and these large central teams were ‘quick wins’ when cutbacks were required. We rationalised this by saying that eMarketing was part of all marketing now, we didn’t need specialised teams. Did we?
Then we watched our customers moving ahead without us, comfortable in their networked, hyperlinked world, with new channels emerging every day. Paralysed and without rules of engagement, we gradually lost control of the message, the channels, the conversation. We looked on in dismay, and then…
At eyeforpharma it was evident that in the last couple of years the forward-thinking companies have decided it is untenable for every brand in every country to work out this plethora of channels and conversations alone.
Two types of global organisation have emerged – the global digital strategy team, working across brands at a European or worldwide level, developing those rules of engagement, this time with the (apparent) support of a leadership that recognises that the game has changed.
The second is the global delivery team, what Garrett Dalton from Roche called his “in-house agency”, finding economies of scale in building best-practice delivery platforms, tools and templates, that can be used across brands and geographies. The way to get affiliates to use the central service? Make it very good: Garrett has 95% satisfaction ratings within the company.
Interestingly those that have a global strategy team, by and large, also have a global delivery team.
Pete West of Pfizer demonstrated how his regional eMarketing platform has created a presence for his brand Tygacil based on the needs of affiliates who did not have the means or expertise to build it themselves. He showed how integrating this with other customer touchpoints such as meetings, emails and rep visits created more interactions with his key messages, increasing intent-to-prescribe from 28 to 41%.
Real, strategic investment in platforms, capabilities and digital best practice – that’s more like it!
Soon, we might even soon stop asking if doctors are using the internet. As I commented in my own talk, can we get over it please? Doctors are people, aren’t they? They use the phone, they drive cars, they use the internet. Is it time for Manhattan to drop that “docs online” statistic from its otherwise-very-useful Taking the Pulse report? I think so. Let’s move on.
Tune in tomorrow for take-away 2.