The Five "I"s of Internet Marketing - Pharmaceutical Executive


The Five "I"s of Internet Marketing

Pharmaceutical Executive

"Rich media apps are going to become more and more important, because they tie to how people really learn," says Peter Espo. "Not everyone learns from black and white text. We're going to see more video, more Flash, delivered in more compelling ways. The days of having just an image and text on a Web page are over."

"I think rich media approaches are extremely under-utilized," agrees Shire's Harrell. "We have the ability to use Webcasts from thought-leaders, patient testimonials, educational videos, and 3D animations. All of these techniques—if used properly—can make the user's experience much richer."

One of the most significant trends developing within both branded and non-branded sites is the surfacing of rich media elements to the home page. In the past, if a site contained a patient video, or a mechanism-of-action animation, it might be buried three levels deep on the site. But marketers are now realizing that these assets should be prominently displayed on the home page. "It's important that you quickly and effectively illustrate the value within the site," says Schneider of Forest Labs. "From glancing at the home page, the visitor should get a good idea that this is a site with real value for me."

That said, there's a limit to how far pharmaceutical companies should go in using rich media. "The question for me is how intrusive the rich media elements are and whether they are seen as useful—and not annoying—by our customers," says Harrell. "Does it serve a particularly valuable purpose? For example, demonstrating an MOA or a patient testimonial is probably of high value, but recycling the 30-second TV ad? Maybe not so much. The danger is people using it just because they can, not because they are serving a particular marketing goal or user need. There needs to be some reason other than, 'Hey, that's really neat.'"

"From a consumer perspective," says Wyeth's McGovern, "the surge in broadband gives us the opportunity to better educate about the condition, about various therapeutic options, and about compliance and persistence. It allows consumers to quickly find the information and education they need."


peter espo (former) biogen/idec
IRONIC, ISN'T IT? The Internet is the most inherently measurable medium ever invented (it is, after all, all running on those ultimate measurement machines called computers). Yet, e-business people are forever being asked "How do I prove my ROI?" Marketers have no reliable way of measuring the ROI of their TV commercials or print ads, yet somehow these media seem to be held to a less rigorous standard. Alas, being the new kid on the block, the Web has to prove itself again and again.

In response, plucky Internet experts have developed a number of techniques to demonstrate the value of their companies' Internet investments. The most advanced method, known as PBM Matchback, measures the rise in prescriptions among a sample group of Web site visitors. Here's how it works: Third-party companies track the online behavior of panelists who've agreed to have their online activity monitored. Those panelists who've visited a brand site can then be tied to prescribing behavior by means of a PBM match.

The panelist/PBM match technique can be quite effective, but it is also quite expensive. Studies can cost $100,000 or more, and when pharmaceutical companies are spending sometimes only a few hundred thousand dollars on their Web initiatives, it may be hard to justify investing six figures on measurement alone.

Besides, not everyone is convinced that such techniques are entirely reliable. Even with relatively large panels, the data are meaningful only if the brand Web site is receiving relatively high traffic. "It's still difficult to get to that definitive measurement point where you can say the site is driving X dollar volume to the brand," says Schneider.


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