KEY TAKEAWAY: Pharma digital marketers have a lot to digest from the latest digital marketing conference, but some of the ideas presented were not well thought out when so many pharma websites lack the basics of excellent online branding.
There is no doubt that the world of online health is going through a transformation due in large part to a health care system that ignores the human aspect of health. As I have said before, a lot of the presentation at Digital Pharma Easet were health care marketing 101 but there were also some things that should have opened your eyes. The problem is that once you get back to the office you’re still going to run up against a culture that puts a price tag on everything that ignores basic patient needs.
There were a lot of empty seats at the conference and that should be a warning to agencies and vendors that pharma still is having trouble making the adjustment to digital patient marketing. Hiring a couple of outsiders with consumer experience is not going to transform a culture that is rooted in sales and focuses on Wall Street more than patients.
I have, on several occasions, presented research and data to executives that concluded that more digital initiatives were needed to increase the effectiveness of their marketing, but in the end the money was not there, instead it was allocated to TV.
Let’s also be clear about digital marketing; to do it right requires a budget that includes research and usability studies. Again and again I have seen these parts of the process cut because the money wasn’t there. This inevitably leads to the call “our website isn’t performing well and we need help to find out why?”. While I will take the work it always comes down to building a website as an afterthought rather than a strategic part of your marketing.
Pharma has lost too many excellent digital marketers while holding onto people who change jobs and titles rather than having a resume built on solid accomplishment s. I do the job because I love it and I have heard too many patients in research asking for help. It’s not about me, title or money,; it’s about success as a digital marketer.