How WebMD can be relevant again

KEY TAKEAWAY: WebMD needs pharma and medical device companies, but pharma doesn’t need WebMD.  Here’s how WebMD can get its mojo back.

Those SOS calls you hear are from WebMD which, again, maybe looking for a buyer.  Even though WebMD is the top health portal on the web turning traffic into revenue is hard to do as a lot of websites have found out.  There are opportunities, but WebMD has to act fast.  Here is what I would do to rescue the brand:

1ne: Draw a clear line between ads and integrated content on WebMD and ROI and present to both pharma clients and agencies.  There’s a drain of digital marketing talent within pharma and this is a great time for WebMD to throw DTC marketers a life preserver by both making them look good and smart.

2wo: Attend and present case studies at EVERY pharma conference.

3hree: Forge an alliance with Manhattan Research and present findings at conferences, on the news and via industry white papers.

4our: Install a CEO who is a leader. The moral at WebMD is not great.  The people there need someone who believes that WebMD can be a force on the web.

5ive: Make users part of the solution.  Ask permission of WebMD users to follow them via a click stream analysis, and reward them for contacting them later to ask if they got an Rx as a result of  coming to the website.

6ix: Conduct large qualitative and quantitative research with users to constantly improve the experience.

7even: Better metrics.  How many people come back to the site on a weekly and monthly basis? How many registered people come to the site on a weekly and monthly basis and why?

8ight: Make WebMD the authority on health news.  There is so much health news, breaking everyday, but who can people trust to give them the bottom line?  WebMD should be recruiting some of the best and brightest medical writers to help patients sort thru real and fake news.

It may already be too late for WebMD to become relevant again to pharma, but if they want to be get back to top of mind with pharma marketers they have to get back to basics.