The Digital Maturity Curve – where is your brand? #efp reflections Part 1

There were three themes that emerged for me from this year’s eyeforpharma (#efp) eMarketing Europe in Munich in early March and I’ll write about them in my next 3 posts.

First, there was a sense of “where are we on the digital journey”, what can we learn from where we’ve been and how do we get to the “next level”, whatever that is.

Second, there was looking to the future; the core content of our own Complete Digital presentation, but also featuring heavily in lots of others’.

Third, the angst that surrounds changing company culture. How can we get the behaviour change across our organisation that we need to make that future happen? Not just in marketing, but throughout?

First of all then, let’s look at the digital journey. Several commentators referred to this at eyeforpharma and Peter Hinssen (@Hinssen) in his opening address, The New Normal, asked “are we nearly there yet?” Meredith Ressi (@MeredithRessi) of Manhattan had a nice curve of development over time from “physician-led medicine” to “participatory medicine”.

For the purpose of discussion here I’m going to use my own Digital Maturity Curve. You might like to consider where your brand or business is on the curve:

Digital Maturity Curve

The first step, that we all went through in the 1990s, is “Visibility” – recognising the potential of digital and sticking up a brochure-ware (in those days) website. In those days we were still in the “push” mindset and these websites did not offer much interaction – the days when the most of the home page of was a picture of the front cover of the BMJ magazine. 

The BMJ has moved a long way since then, but Jens Monsees of Google challenged us in the pharma industry on this point – many of those old, out-of-date and frankly poor-quality websites are still out there. We should “eat our own dogfood” he said, spend some time reading your own website and see what kind of experience you have…. Even in 2011 “information seeking” is still the most important online activity for healthcare consumers and physicans alike (@MeredithRessi) and I ask you – if your customers are looking for information, what are you doing to provide it in an easily accessible place and relevant format?

We soon figured out that in this medium we can of course “Interact” – buy, sell, recruit, play, ask questions and get answers. For pharma this means the opportunity to offer higher-quality interactive experiences such as eDetailing , eLearning, video and games, interesting content on demand when customers want it. For example, at #efp Mark Petersen showed how gaming can engage people in serious subjects such as the FAS’s Immune Attack game:

The next big leap on the Maturity Curve is to “Personalise” – if we are interacting we can learn more about our customers and offer a more tailored service, Amazon-style. Gareth Thomas of described how they carefully segment physicians on speciality, sub-speciality, seniority, location, medical school (and year of graduation), clinical interests, and, further, on their behaviours in the community.

Supporting our point about information, the top services for are “Email” and “Education” with the Forums coming in close third, but each member will be offered services tailored to his or her preferences.

On to our next big leap – “Multichannel Relationships” – recognising that the person on the website is the same person using the app and having the face-to-face interaction. Tesco, the UK supermarket did a great job of this – merging their “in store points/favourites” with “online points/favourites” first, and now have an iPhone app to update your shopping with. In all cases I am the same consumer with the same profile and Tesco “knows” me. In pharma we often refer to this as “closed loop marketing” – connecting the rep interaction, with subsequent digital follow-up.   At #efp Fonny Schenck showed how AZ in the US is supporting Nexium with a combination of self-service digital capabilities from eSampling to eDetailing, combined with customer service helpdesk and telephone account managers, providing a seamless multichannel service to physicians.

The next big leap, of course is social media and networking. At #efp we heard about how Citibank has developed an internal social network for employees, a great way to help people learn how to use these channels effectively (and something we’ve employed here at Complete, too). We heard the term “Chief Listening Officer” from Lucien Engelen of Radboud University (first time I’ve heard the term outside FMCG) and saw a couple of great examples of UGC, such as Janssen’s excellent Living with ADHD YouTube channel (  ), that allows comments from anyone about this controversial condition, and is moderated but only to remove comments constrained by regulation or the law, not those critical of the condition or company.

Interestingly at eyeforpharma, a digital-savvy audience you might think, a straw poll showed only 15% of the audience were regular Tweeters and a further 15% had “no interest” in Twitter at all.

You might ask where is Mobile on the Digital Maturity Curve?  At #efp repeated speakers warned against “app for apps’ sake” projects given that most smartphone users use just 7 apps frequently and the rest hardly at all.  Good apps, like good websites, meet a defined user need, are interactive, engaging, informative and fun to use.

Mobile is, of course, throughout the Curve, which is not really about technology but about behaviour – how we use the different platforms that are available to us.  Twitter and facebook can be used as visibility tools at one level. So can mobile – creating your website so it has a user-friendly smartphone version is probably the most important thing you can do right now, since as Manhattan told us that most of the growth in internet use is mobile based – and physicians are now spending 14 hours a week online.

So there it is, the Digital Maturity Curve.   You can see my #efp description of it here:

What happens next – at the top of the Digital Maturity Curve – what is the next big leap? The picture shows a fairly woolly “Web 3.0” but does not define it clearly.  To answer this question, we leapt off the top of the curve and into the year 2016 to see what “Healthcare 3.0” might look like….that is the subject of my next post.

Congleton Town Councillor for the Women's Equality Party. CEO of Kanga Health Ltd - practical digital transformation of healthcare.

Posted in CRM, Marketing, Search, Social Media, Websites
2 comments on “The Digital Maturity Curve – where is your brand? #efp reflections Part 1
  1. Andrew Spong says:

    Nice post, Kay. Thanks for adding value to this excellent summary. 🙂

    Did you know you can add Twitter and Facebook share buttons to now? I’d like to have shared this post with my Facebook community.


  2. Kay Wesley says:

    Thanks Andrew, I think I’ve done it now!

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by Kay Wesley of Kanga Health Ltd

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