Archive for August 29, 2011

Another take on social media by today’s medical marketers

In the last post, we discussed how social media is gaining momentum among medical marketers, fast becoming a key facet of a complete and effective marketing mix. But only days later I encountered a story about one industry that is moving the opposite direction.

National Public Radio recently reported that due to some recent development many in the pharmaceutical industry are electing to abandon Facebook. Until recently, Facebook allowed these companies to exclude public comments. The recent announcement that that exception will end has led some to shutter their pages.

According to the story, “Take On Depression” disappeared, as did “ADHD Moms” and “Epilepsy Advocate.” The concern among the drug makers is that they are not sufficiently able to police comments to ensure that the information being shared about prescription drugs is accurate. These same companies must also comply with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “fair balance” requirements.

But the reality is that FDA hasn’t reprimanded a single drug company due to public comments. And many of the community benefits enjoyed by independent social media sites are being lost. Perhaps it’s only fitting that established industries like pharma are still trying to determine if and how to use emerging communication tools. It’s the job of experienced medical marketers to help provide guide them.

Till next time,
Steve
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New survey of online tools provides insight to medical marketers

Talk to a marketer these days and chances are good that the issue of social media will come up. Tools like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube continue to change the way we communicate. Some have even compared the transformative nature of these technologies to that of the Gutenberg printing press.

Not surprisingly, medical marketers have also turned to these new technologies as a means for connecting with their specific patient populations. What is not always clear is which of these vehicles is most effective and why.

A recent Acsys Interactive survey sought to provide some insight on those questions, and the results were revealing. Consider, for example, that about 33 percent of the 101 participants from hospitals and healthcare systems see online videos as being a very effective means of achieving their marketing objectives. But barely half that number can say the same for Twitter.

According to the survey, among large hospital respondents some 15 percent of communications is currently conducted via online tools. But that is a number those same respondents expect to grow to 40 percent by 2013. For small and medium-sized hospitals (fewer than 401 beds) the numbers were 3 percent and 28 percent, respectively, both sizable jumps.

The growth of such tools seems unavoidable, and their potential benefits only limited by one’s imagination. The challenge is finding the right mix for your organization and then developing a strategy for your audiences based not on guesses, but on a sound, clear understanding of their preferences and behavior.

Till next time,
Steve
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