Alternative Media: RSS Revolution - Pharmaceutical Executive


Alternative Media: RSS Revolution
This new technology can help pharma reach and educate its target audiences.

Pharmaceutical Executive

RSS marketing can also improve relationships with key constituents, namely healthcare professionals, key opinion leaders, and advisory panels, by providing them with up-to-date product news, new indications, or new research. Recipients can receive the information instantly and opt to read what they find most relevant.

To provide users with even more access to relevant information and to leverage the work of third parties, pharma marketers can integrate RSS feeds from other Web sites, such as medical portals, associations, non-profits or disease-state sites. For example, a pharma marketer could include the feeds from WebMD that provide the most relevant information to their target audiences.

Another benefit is that effective RSS-based marketing solutions can improve a Web site's search-engine rankings. Search engines typically give higher rankings to Web sites that include regular content refreshers, and adding RSS feeds provides this capability. Also, the greater the number of incoming links to a Web site, the higher the ranking. RSS feeds are often syndicated on other sites, but the host site receives the incoming links, often resulting in improved rankings.

RSS also circumvents many of the obstacles—such as spam, undeliverable e-mails, and e-mail overload in users' in-boxes—inherent in e-mail marketing. The proliferation of spam has made many consumers reluctant to provide their e-mail addresses, regardless of the marketer's reputation or perceived value exchange. Since no personally identifiable information is required to receive RSS feeds, RSS provides a perfect alternative for those otherwise unreachable consumers.

Content Strategy

Ultimately, consumers are looking for more control of their electronic media consumption. RSS allows them this control because users only receive RSS feeds that they sign up for, and they can cancel them at any time.

As with e-mail use, it's important for pharma marketers to understand their audience, their communication preferences, and the type of information they want to receive.

When users view RSS content, they are in a different mindset than when they read Web content. While Web surfers typically read only short headlines, RSS users tend to be interested in more substantive articles. Creating catchy but accurate headlines and summaries that link to new, insightful content is a strong approach.

Marketers must also be wary of the kinds of content that will be distributed on RSS feeds and at what intervals. Because of the lengthy internal review and approval process required for many pharma-sponsored patient and healthcare professional communications, pharma marketers often struggle to distribute valuable content monthly, much less daily or weekly, as is currently expected with RSS feeds.

The content strategy must also be compelling because it's easy for users to opt out or ignore the RSS feeds.


Successful implementation requires understanding the appropriate uses for RSS, how to integrate it with e-mail and other marketing efforts, and how to measure the effectiveness of RSS.

It's important to study the metrics of your RSS implementation. As in any marketing campaign, obtaining detailed metrics, including information on the number of subscribers, feed recipients, open rate, and click-through rates, is crucial.

Marc Blumberg is senior vice president of imc2. He can be reached at

Hensley Evans is vice president of imc2's pharmaceutical practice. She can be reached at


Cornelia Kamp
SCIREX appointed James Ottinger as senior vice president of regulatory affairs, Cornelia Kamp as executive officer of clinical site operations, and Robert R. Allen as executive officer of science and medicine in the clinical site operations division. Pascal King joined etrials Worldwide as president of its European subsidiary.

Accounts has teamed up with Global CINRG to provide them with monitors for their clinical trials. Daiichi selected SAS Drug Development to provide a host of clinical trial software. Elsevier MDL and Spotfire have linked up to bring together MDL's Isentris technology platform and the Spotfire DecisionSite for Lead Discovery application.


SLACK Incorporated's OSN SuperSite won a bronze award from the American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors in the online category for overall Web publication. includes daily news updates.


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