Josh Weinstein is president of jwEinstein Strategic Messaging. He is a longstanding member
of PE’s editorial advisory board and has also served as a senior executive at three major pharmaceutical companies.
DTC ads may increase short-term patient requests. But it does little to dissuade
consumers that pharma has more money than they know what to do with-and is not good for brands or industry in the long run.
Proper form and technique are important in sports because they allow players to get the maximum output from their muscles as they control their racquets, bats, balls, and other sporting equipment. Form, technique, and relaxed but purposeful muscle movements are also important in working with computers, but most executives use those business tools without giving it much thought.
Twenty years after Robert DeNiro uttered his famous line in Taxi Driver, talk has taken on a whole new meaning with people yakking on cell phones everywhere they go. The devices have become indispensable to pharma executives as well. But confusion about these tiny electronic marvels and their attendant features and service plans can be down right frustrating.
Three major technological advances are about to allow executives to use their cellular phones to write messages, draw maps, and rapidly interact on the internet without struggling to use those tiny cell phone buttons. Expected to be on the market within the next year, V-Pen, Anoto, and Fastap devices promise to transform wireless phones into "connected" versions of pens and keyboards.
Corporate communications executives-and the key pharma managers and PR firms that work with them-can now use desktop or laptop PCs to directly receive broadcast news or play recordings of recent business periodicals and books. The two services, RealNetworks.com's RealOne and Audible.com's Audible Listener, are state-of-the-art technologies that provide timely access to information using the ordinary high-speed lines found at most pharma companies and upscale hotel chains such as Hilton and Marriott. Both services use proprietary "streaming" technology that so compactly compresses video and audio files that their internet transmissions are at a level of quality that rivals TV and radio
Executives can put more sparkle in their presentations and clarify their strategic communications with the aid of a small but carefully chosen deskside library. With current cost-cutting trends and policies that allow only one PDR and one Webster's dictionary per work group, executives will likely have to buy these selections themselves. But the spell-checkers in word processors don't include medical terms, let alone allow the extensive perusal of synonyms found in a good dictionary or thesaurus. To do the job right, you need the right resources.
Exciting times are on the way for cell phone users. With VoiceStream Wireless leading the way, the nation's cellular service providers are expected to have their new 2.5 generation (2.5G) systems in place soon, giving pharma executives access to a slew of efficient, new high-speed data transmission capabilities. Beyond instant two-way messaging, switching to 2.5G will enable high-speed document transmission over cell phones, as well as real internet service-not those pokey so-called "wireless" web services we have today.
Computer use offers our industry a good opportunity to practice what we preach. As executives in an industry that produces disease-fighting and -preventing products, pharma companies should take a serious look at the potentially unhealthy situation that's sitting right on their employees' desktops.