Future of e-marketing in focus in Philadelphia

Pharmaceutical e-marketing experts called for more innovation in online efforts as the Web enters its second and third incarnations. “We need to add what is changing to our planning process,” said Paul Ivans, president, Evolution Road Consulting. “Strategic and tactical planning must include innovation.” Ivans was among a number of online experts to address 250 e-marketers at IIR's 6th Annual ePharma Summit in Philadelphia yesterday. Topics of discussion included the rise of the empowered consumer, growth of user generated content and new ways to drive ROI. Jack Barrette, category development officer - lifestyles, health & medicine, Yahoo!, said marketers need to think outside the banner when devising their ad strategies. “Creative strategy needs to be much more than banner ads” Barrette said. “We need to engage folks in advertising differently.” However, Thomas Mangano, assistant VP, consumer communications & e-business at Wyeth, warned e-marketers not be too hasty to hop on the Web 2.0 bandwagon simply for technology's sake. “Pharmaceutical marketing does not necessarily have to be on the leading edge. These are not lifestyle products we are selling." According to Mangano, pharma's audiences tend to be older and later adopters of technology, unlike target audiences of beverage companies and automakers. “We need to facilitate to the right audience at the right time…not just be online and doing things.” Monday afternoon's closing session featured a thought leader panel discussion including e-marketers from Genentech, Novartis, Lilly and Wyeth. The panel discussed some of the ways e-marketers can enhance the consumer experience in their e-marketing efforts to help them further drive ROI. “A great Web site user experience will result in the holy grail of better patient outcomes and high ROI," said Frank Visconti, associate director, marketing, at Novartis. Ben Lei, senior manager, e-marketing at Genentech said that information needs to be easier for consumers to find. “We need to remove the clutter,” Lei said. Amy Chafin, specialty therapeutic area marketing manager at Lilly said her firm is working on finding the right marketing mix through an integration of “sales force, e-detailing, mobile technology and word-of-mouth marketing.”