10 Classic Mistakes and how to avoid them - Pharmaceutical Executive


10 Classic Mistakes and how to avoid them
Interactive marketing has been around since 1994, yet pharma marketers still make the same mistakes when executing online tactics.

Pharmaceutical Executive

Remedy: The most powerful cure for poor coordination is also one of the simplest: a series of strategic integration sessions with all the brand's players. The brand manager should begin by presenting the entire strategy, followed by presentations of subcomponents from each of the core groups. That may sound like a lot of PowerPoint slides to sit through, but in the long run, the return on investment is worth it.

For instance, if the web developer knows that the PR firm is planning a major outreach campaign in conjunction with a major non-profit's fundraiser, that presents a perfect opportunity to offer a powerful online component such as a pharma-sponsored webcast of the event. All too often the web developer finds out about such plans too late, and the chance to generate significant name exposure and good will is lost. But brand managers should be cautious: Some agencies are extremely jealous of their "turf" and don't want to share ideas with anyone but the client. When that happens, brand managers should insist that everyone work together.

Mistake #10: Cut "interactive" out of the internet. Marketers who don't harness the interactive power of the internet are missing major opportunities. As web technology improves, they can make the online experience much richer and more engaging than typical flat HTML pages. Companies have the chance to differentiate new websites from their competitors' older sites and take advantage of more effective interactive techniques such as flash animations, videos, and webcasts.

Remedy: Today, 52 percent of US web users have broadband access, so rich media features are now a practical way to distinguish a product site from its competitors, especially if marketers are targeting a high income group. (Patients' income is a good indicator of whether they have broadband.) Depending on the audience demographics, product managers should consider such powerful tools as flash-based patient education modules, mechanism-of-action videos, and webcasts.

Executives should also include simple, low-bandwidth interactive tools like surveys, quizzes, and polls. Traffic reports consistently show that even basic interactive features receive more traffic than pages with static content. And it's not hard to understand why-visitors enjoy getting a response from a website because it makes them feel that the site is "listening" to them.

The unifying theme to all those mistakes is that pharma marketers still aren't as comfortable with the internet as they are with traditional media, which means they leave the consumers' medium of choice dramatically underexploited. It may be a while yet before most pharma companies expand their comfort zones to include the strategic use of the online channel. In the meantime, savvier marketers can turn their competitors' discomfort into a competitive advantage.


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