KEY TAKEAWAY: There are a lot of good things being discussed at Digital Pharma East but one has to wonder why so may people are saying the right things but pharma’s digital initiatives are so lagging.
Earlier this year, after extensive research, we had a good idea of what our target audience wanted in new pharma product website. The research was conducted with our target audience across the country and we even had concepts they designed via white boards. However, when it came time to implement the site, we ran into a solid brick wall called “what’s the ROI?”. The result was a site that underperformed in all metrics.
There were some excellent presentations at Digital Pharma East on things like usability and empathy but if the presenters “get it” why doesn’t the audience? The answer is that pharma is too much of a business and less of resource for patients. There is too much of an attitude of “our patients need us more than we need them” attitude.
The other reason might be that so many excellent pharma eMarketing people have left the industry. Some had enough of being told “we can’t do that” or “we don’t have the budget” others were laid off because management didn’t see the value of eMarketing as a specialty.
Some pharma companies are taking the bull by the horns and trying new things such as apps to help patients manage their health or social media chats to talk to thought leaders, but there are still too many on the sidelines taking a “wait and see” attitude. With all this going on patients are moving on, forced to become engaged by a healthcare system that treats the masses rather than the individual. If the trend continues there will be too few examples of really innovative DTC digital marketing and thus DTC will become an “expense” that has no real value.
Awhile ago, while we were doing research with HCP’s, we asked what it would take to get them engaged with pharma companies online. Their answer was “provide value beyond the label” as they all complained they didn’t have enough online time as it is”. Value comes in many forms, but perhaps asking both patients and HCP’s what they see as value is a good first step. Time for action, not more presentations