Ten pharma digital marketing facts

QUICK READ: A reporter for a leading business magazine recently reached out to me and asked “what are Pharma product websites so bad?”. OK, maybe not all of them are that bad but I would bet that 80% are really poor. There is a lot of blame to go around but these facts are still relevant today.

1ne: There is a direct correlation between time on site and asking for/about your product.

I have done extensive data mining and even used statistical validation on the above statement. People who spent more than two minutes on your sire were 10X more likely to ask about/for your product.

2wo: The biggest reason for pharma product high bounce rates is bad homepage design.

Within 5 seconds of coming to your homepage, online health seekers make a decision on whether they are going to stay or leave. The biggest reason for high bounce rates is that your homepage looks more like a medical journal ad than talking to online health seekers. Regulatory and legal people share in this responsibility.

3hree: Biggest complaint about pharma websites is “too hard to understand” followed by “it didn’t have the information I was looking for”.

Repurposing brochure language is dated. You’re investing a website but you’re not willing to hire a writer who can write in terms like a conversation. It’s like buying a car without an interior.

4our: Every website visitor should be considered a “lead”.

These are people that took time out of their day to say “I want to know more”. You need a dynamic website with multiple homepages and for goodness sakes stop with the stock are and use real people.

5ive: The biggest obstacle, I have observed, to innovative pharma digital marketing is the lack of talent.

Each brand should have a dedicated eMarketing team. They should be integrated fully with the brand especially when it comes to market research findings. There are too many recirculating digital marketing people who go from company to company with really accomplishing anything except enhancing their own brand and getting a speaking gig at a pharma conference.

6ix: Online health seekers have become savvier and are checking your claims via social media.

I was surprised, as were our clients when late last year a number of people said they read that the side effects of a new diabetes medication were “terrible”. When probed they all offered posted personal experiences on social media. You can’t ignore social media and need to be proactive to quantify threats and respond in Internet time.

7even: Despite improved metric capabilities too many DTC marketers still use total visits as a metric in digital marketing.

Ssssh! But total visitors don’t mean a damn thing.

8ight: Pharma digital agencies have increased in size and as a result now need new business to pay overhead, even if it means producing lousy digital marketing.

The days of the small, responsive digital agencies are all but gone. Now they’re paying new hires big bucks to bring in more money. I’m sorry but if a client is going to shoot down all your recommendations and launch a poor site you should resign the account.

9ine: The most successful pharma digital teams are people who act as consultants within the company.

They know the company and its people and can often get a lot done by reaching out to key influencers.

10en: Not enough recognition of disrupters, who get things done, and too much recognition of people who “stay in the political mainstream”.

Pharma people love patting themselves on the back even if their accomplishments are simple ones. Trade magazines continue to kiss ass with bogus awards that make people feel good. It’s time to call it what it is: bullshit.