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In real estate, it's “location, location, location.” And for pharma marketers looking for ways to increase their advertising with a measurable ROI, the word of the moment appears to be “research, research, research.” Never was this more evident than during the recent ePharma Summit. Conference chairman, Paul Ivans of Evolution Road Consulting, set the tone for the conference with some industry trend slides indicating that 80%of the US is online and half of these people search the web for health info. Ivans noted that one-third of these healthcare seekers routinely use social media as part of their information gathering.

While most of the presenters and attendees agreed that pharma marketers are not investing online in proportion to the results they are getting, Microsoft's Peter

Neupert arrived at some interesting conclusions on this subject during his presentation. Neupert is convinced that pharma isn't spending enough on

e-research. And once the research is done, a better process needs to be found to invest marketing funds to achieve the kind of ROI they are seeking.

Rex Briggs of Marketing Evolution and author of the book, What Sticks, indicated that those companies that have spent the money on researching how the web improves the marketing mix are already making adjustments to their media mix. Companies that participated in cross media optimization studies have invested much more heavily in online tactics after seeing the results. 

Brad Aronson of Avenue A | Razorfish noted that there are more consumer Rx decisions influenced by peers than by health portals. He told the audience that over 54 million adults have connected online to others or the content created by others about their disease or condition.

Dan McKillen is president and CEO of the HealthDay news service

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