Beautiful communication via Faisal Ahmed of Life Healthcare Communications… fascinating stats about how people use digital in relation to healthcare. It’s interesting to see all this compelling information, but pharmaceutical companies have yet to make an impact in this field.
Regulatory issues have a part to play in pharma companies’ reticence to embracing digital media. It’s a significant part, but there are other reasons. The advertising industry has found many successful ways to make digital work for their clients. One major reason for that success is that ad agencies have long understood the strategic benefits to having a thorough understanding of their audiences. In my experience, pharmas have rarely seen the value of audience research and analysis. Generally speaking the pharma industry ignores the fact that the majority of patients don’t see themselves as being defined by their conditions. In fact, sometimes those people that pharmas define as patients, aren’t even patients! Does a woman receiving fertility treatment see herself as a patient? Or just a woman trying to have a baby? Digital solutions have to be tailored to the person you’re communicating with. And I choose my words carefully when I say “communicating with”. Web 2.0, or social media means people can answer back. And that’s probably the scariest part for the pharmas, which returns to the regulatory pitfalls and the ability to control information. But there’s also the question of choice. There is so much information on the web, and no time to read it all. People find ways to filter out the stuff that doesn’t speak to them. Now, more than ever, successful marketing communication relies on not just knowing who the audience is, but what will make them take notice.