The Future of Mobile: Dial in the Experts

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The industry continues to figure out how to successfully integrate and optimize mobile platforms. Five experts offer some insight

Jim Dayton
Director of emerging media,
InTouch Solutions

What are the challenges for drawing pharma investment to mobile?
For our pharma clients, mobile—as well as social media—tends to be a little more mainstream, but they're still emerging media. For all emerging media, we have somewhat struggled with finding the perfect ROI model. Still, a lot of websites and brands are moving toward a more robust mobile strategy, which I think is very smart. Even if it's not something that pays off with huge dividends this year, it's a future long-tail investment.

How can mobile be integrated effectively into a multichannel marketing campaign?
The differentiator for pharma and any other industry out there is: What do you want to do in mobile? Who's your audience? What type of technology do they have—feature phone, smartphone or super-phone—and what are they doing with it? That's really the trick of it. Then, optimize for mobile. If you have a website, most people will be viewing it on their mobile.

What's next? Where do future opportunities lie for pharma?
Mobile is going to continue to grow and be a huge part of peoples' lives. Manufacturers should keep moving toward smartphones. Two years ago, you got a Motorola Razr when you signed up for an account. More and more, you will get a smartphone when you sign up with a carrier. Not being on those devices, or having some sort of presence in the mobile space, just doesn't make sense.


Bill Drummy
CEO,
Heartbeat Digital


What are the challenges for drawing pharma investment to mobile?
The primary challenge is the relatively low awareness of how rapidly smartphones are re-shaping the computing landscape. I say computing landscape because smartphones need to be understood as powerful handheld computers that just happen to make phone calls. The iPhone is the fastest-growing consumer electronics product in history. It has caught pharma marketers a bit flat-footed. People are only now beginning to see the enormous potential in front of them.

How can mobile be integrated effectively into a multichannel marketing campaign?
You need to think about mobile not in terms of a data repository (you have your website and print materials for that) but as being about “action in motion.” Understand the “trigger points” for your target audience and then offer value to help them at those specific points of need. So, for example, one app we developed allows patients to track symptoms at the very moments they are having them. Quickly, intuitively, easily. That's a powerful and appropriate role for mobile.

What's next? Where do future opportunities lie for pharma?
The greatest potential for mobile apps lies beyond mere marketing messaging—it's in using these handheld computers to actually improve patient care. They can be made (and are being made) into powerful monitoring and diagnostic tools. So, for a person with diabetes, the smartphone becomes a diabetes management machine. For the doctor or nurse, it becomes a sophisticated diagnostic tool. (“Just cough into my iPhone...”)



Brendan Gallagher
VP/GD emerging technology & channels,
Digitas Health

What are the challenges for drawing pharma investment to mobile?

The majority of the consumer challenges have to do with fair balance, use cases and demographics. Screen size limits real estate for ISI. Furthermore, there are limited scenarios in which patients use a mobile device to look up medical information (7.3% report accessing). And many pharma brands have older targets, with lower mobile internet adoption. A somewhat different set of challenges apply to physician mobile investment.

How can mobile be integrated effectively into a multichannel marketing campaign?
Consider the role of mobile in the campaign itself (Hint: It's not just another screen to display the same content from other channels.), and why the user would engage with the campaign on a mobile device in the first place. Mobile is a powerful tool for sharing, for location-based services and for real-time communication. But the campaign element must be simple, relevant to the channel and fast.

What's next? Where do future opportunities lie for pharma?
I think pharma will continue to use mobile to build better relationships with physicians. Obvious applications include clinical trial data collection and protocols, and answering questions regarding new products. As pharma integrates better enterprise-wide service platforms for physicians, mobile will be an important touchpoint. In advertising, I expect pharma to quickly leverage Apple's iAD platform, which could give them a presence in more popular third-party apps like Epocrates.


Geoff McCleary
VP, strategy,
imc2 Health & Wellness

What are the challenges for drawing pharma investment to mobile?

To provide a better valuation of participation in the mobile space, brands will need to routinely define clear KPI's for mobile, plan for the integration of mobile channel data with the existing stream, and transparently communicate the results so that teams can all learn and adapt as needed. With a clear, consistent valuation, companies will find ways to overcome the initial hurdles and get behind mobile investment.

How can mobile be integrated effectively into a multichannel marketing campaign?
We need to evolve to a point where we have effective strategies to decide what channels need to be in the initial mix. Then, we must establish clear criteria for adding new channels. Either way, when planning—or integrating mid-stream—we need to first define the target. What channels do they use? Should this channel be used for acquisition, trial, retention, etc? Answers to these questions help provide the framework for evaluating new technologies as they come along.

What's next? Where do future opportunities lie for pharma?
The decision to add mobile starts with the choice of how to implement. Should mobile be used as a tool to connect users to a richer experience somewhere else (brick/mortar, online), or should it exist as an on-demand transactional tool? The best opportunities may lie with the strategies and technologies that facilitate both. Some concepts in pharma that are already seeing success in other market verticals include: location & contextual-based experiences (check-ins, social media), acquisition tools and mobile video conferencing.


Sandeep Shah
President/ CEO, Skyscape;
Chief innovation officer, Physicians Interactive

What are the challenges for drawing pharma investment to mobile?

It's just like any new medium, there is a resistance, a “show me the money” type of thing. But I think right now we don't need to sell them on the fact that mobile marketing needs to be done, it's the “how” that is a problem. You need to put it into context, and you need to figure out how you get traffic and how you exchange value.

How can mobile be integrated effectively into a multichannel marketing campaign?

You start on the web and go into mobile. A good example is things like alerts that you get—you might be at home or using your desktop during the daytime, or your mobile. Our goal is to really have the same experience on our platform, on both sides, so you can look for your opportunities to do e-sampling, or any opportunities to do surveys here and there, or look for your needs for content.

What's next? Where do future opportunities lie for pharma?
In order to get the communication to physicians clearly, using mobile is a major opportunity because mobile has been trusted for being a companion, which is in pretty much all modalities. We need to side with physicians to support their informational needs. Physicians don't mind getting information in the context of their patient care.
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