How to integrate social into your existing campaigns

It’s easiest to think of social as an opportunity to be a trusted voice in a very crowded and not always well informed room.  But the very first step you need to take is to make sure you are being heard.

Here is a checklist for you to use to make sure you’re grabbing the low hanging fruit:

  • Add the appropriate logo and user name to all printed pieces so patients know where to find you
  • Add social follow buttons to your website so it’s as easy as possible for patients to follow you
  • Be very active in the networks you use, and don’t forget to use hashtags
  • Make sure you are consistent in the hashtags you use and that they will help you be found
  • Don’t be afraid to share other peoples relevant content
  • Get out there and join the conversation!  It’s already happening with or without you

And remember, we are always available to provide some advice on how to navigate the social space, sell in the program or even conduct a Social for Pharma class for you and your extended team.

Thanks for letting us share!

Jared Shechtman

Senior Director, Digital Extrovert

Your branding is missing something

Sound. Do you know what your brand sounds like?

Article after article encourages marketers to get visual. But in many cases sound goes hand in hand with visuals.

Consider the following uses of sound:

▪   Sound as confirmation of functionality: Think of the camera click that occurs when you take a screenshot on an Apple computer, or the swoosh sound that confirms your e-mail has been sent

▪   Sound as a product experience: You know that satisfying crunching sound you get when you’re eating potato chips? According to my friends at CORD, a sonic branding company, 80% of a person’s perception of that crunchiness is the result of sound rather than mouth feel.

▪   Sound as a reinforcement of brand attributes: Consider the sound of an electric toothbrush. When one manufacturer redesigned the buzzing sound of its toothbrushes to more closely communicate “clean, gentle, and white,” sales jumped.

It is surprising that sound and music have been missing in the healthcare marketer’s toolkit. Consider music therapy, defined by the American Music Therapy Association as, “An established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.” Included among music therapy’s uses are alleviating pain, counteracting depression, inducing sleep, and promoting movement for physical rehabilitation. Clearly, sound has a relevant place in healthcare.

And the need for sound may be even more critical as one of the most prevalent sounds, namely the Pharmaceutical Reps voice, is declining in the healthcare arena. According to Industry figures, the number of pharmaceutical representatives in the US has declined 40% in the last 8 years. So how can you fill the sonic void? Here are three thought-starters:

  1. Incorporate music into your relationship marketing programs. What if your e-mails came with different sound elements corresponding to the different time-points in the patient journey? For example, you could embed an encouraging 4-note tune in e-mails that are meant to buoy patients at tough points in their treatment. Or, use a song that helps convey a “You did it!” message once they’ve successfully completed treatment
  2. Use sound to brand a video series, whether it’s product- or condition-related. Video is an increasingly important venue for healthcare communication. Work towards having a consistent look, feel, and sound to your videos
  3. Think about the sounds associated with a disease state, say coughing or heartbeats: What could be a sonic signal of improvement? Can certain sounds be associated with progress?

So, when it comes to incorporating sonic branding into your branding, do any of these ideas ring your bell?

Permission to speak – How to sell in social now that the floodgates are open

The FDA has opened the door, but we still need to walk through it.  In order for your brand to step into the social space you’re still going to need to sell it in internally.

Easier said than done, right?  Medical/Legal is NEVER going to go for this, you are going to need to demonstrate ROI and also layout a process where you will be able to communicate in REAL TIME (or close to it) with the patients.

This may sound like it’s going to be an exhausting process, but it doesn’t have to be.  And in the end you will come out one step ahead of the competition.

Here are a few steps to get you started:

  1. Involve all stakeholders early on in the discussion
    1. Social is about having a conversation, something you’re already doing via nurse hotlines and KOL discussions
  2. Remind them that the patients are already in the social space, what they crave is an informed/trusted participant in the conversation
  3. Social can be tracked in many different ways.  Agree on your KPIs upfront and set realistic objectives
    1. Likes, followers and clickthroughs are only scratching the surface.  You may want to consider periodic studies on sentiment
  4. Start with appropriate exercises to determine the tone of your social media voice
    1. This is a great opportunity to include all of the internal stakeholders
  5. Have an open and honest discussion about content, and which types of responses need approval, and what that process will look like given the nature of social
    1. Strongly consider a list of pre-approved messages that will come up on a regular basis (ie. @patient – Thank you for your response, for more information on that please visit or @patient – For a detailed response please DM us with your phone number and a nurse will be in touch shortly)

In the immediate future it may be easier to take a disease education approach to social until everyone has had a chance to accept social as part of the pharma marketing landscape.

Make sure to check back in for our third post in this series on social:

  • Starting simple – how to integrate social into your existing campaigns

Thanks for letting us share!

Jared Shechtman

Senior Director, Digital Extrovert

Why your Point-of-Care strategy is half-baked

Conferences and vendor consortiums abound on point-of-care marketing. Yet many solutions miss an important point-of-care marketing opportunity: helping physicians extend care beyond the office.

The idea was first suggested to me by one of the most patient centric physicians that I have ever met, Dr. Frank Spinelli.  Dr. Spinelli challenged the audience at a pharmaceutical marketing conference to help HCPs extend the impact of the patient visit using technology, helping merge the online and offline experiences.

Pharma companies that help healthcare providers extend their patient care will find themselves welcomed in the doctor’s office. Why? Follow the dollar: physician payments are increasingly linked to quality of patient care and outcomes.

So how can marketers plan to extend their point of care tactics outside the office? Begin by reimaging the planning process. Rather than the siloed Patient-Physician-Payer approach to planning, charge an integrated team with a mission to:

  • Help prepare both the physician and patient for a productive office visit
  • Enable the patient to easily obtain any required medicine
  • Support and monitor the patient, after the visit

Rather than rush to the conclusion that “there’s an app for that,” take a step back. New ideas often start with new questions. Here are seven questions to prompt your team’s thinking about extending your point of care strategy beyond the office:

  1. What are the critical activities and information exchanges that must take place during the office visit?
  2. Would any activities or information exchanges prior to the appointment help improve the quality or efficiency of the in office experience?
  3. What are the barriers for different patient types to actually paying for and obtaining the prescribed medicine? How should patients and HCPs be talking about costs?
  4. Are there any other healthcare stakeholders—such as nurses, pharma reps, support groups, or associations—who could play a role before, during, or after the office visit?
  5. What can the physician uniquely contribute to the visit? Is it knowledge? Imparting a sense of caring or delivering peace of mind? Providing a solution?
  6. Are there different sort of “in-the-field” support people that could be provided? For example, clinical nurse educators or lay health workers?
  7. What follow-up activities would help ensure the physician treatment plan is monitored and adhered to? Is there any room for the new wearable technology?

Throwing a bunch of tactics together and hoping for the best will result in a mishmash of results. Answering these questions on the other hand, is a good recipe for an integrated point of care strategy, one that helps physicians extend the care they provide.

Making the most of your social investments

Social is coming!….Said the industry who cried wolf.  It seems that we have been saying “This is the year for social in pharma!” for the last 3-4 years, but this time we mean it.  Seriously we do this time!

With FDA releasing guidelines marketers will be looking at a slew of new channel options that they will be able to sell up the ladder.  The only question now is which social platforms to invest in?

CPG brands and others have been leveraging the power of social and experimenting in a lot of ways that pharma could not, and for that we should thank them.

These brands have already been to the cutting edge of social and not all of their investments have borne fruit.  Social networks are fickle creatures, and not all of them deliver on their initial promise (I’m looking at you Google+).

So how does a pharma marketer make the most out of an already stretched budget and a newly expanded playing field?

  1. Analyze which networks your target is already on
  2. Subtract those that won’t work within the framework laid out by FDA and your regulatory team
  3. Focus only on the one or two networks that will provide the most impact

Remember, just because we can now use Vine doesn’t mean we should.

Also, engage the regulatory team very early on, this will certainly alleviate some pain points down the line.

Lastly, social is more than just a new megaphone to use to broadcast your message, when properly integrated across a campaign it can be the thread that binds your campaign together.  But we’ll dive deeper into this another time.

In our coming posts on social we will examine the following topics:

  • Permission to speak – how to sell in the idea of using social media
  • Starting simple – how to integrate social into your existing campaigns

Thanks for letting us share!

Jared Shechtman

Senior Director, Digital Extrovert