What's the right way to go digital?

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Social media and pharma are finding their way without clear FDA guidance. How can pharma marketers strategically and safely use digital to reach customers?

Mark Bard
Co-founder, Digital Health Coalition

The FDA is attempting to issue guidance documents that are broad enough so they are not obsolete when they are published, yet specific enough so that companies can implement them.That is a difficult balance. Innovative companies are not waiting for a guidance that will raise as many questions as it answers. They are formulating strategy based on a balance of the spirit of current regulations and the letter of the law—written without the Internet in mind. Pharma marketers must know what they want to achieve using technology and then engage internal and external regulators in conversation. Does social help you achieve your company objectives? Does it further patient education? Help you provide customer service? If you are waiting for the FDA to give you a framework for why you should use social media, you will be sitting on the sidelines as the innovators forge ahead.

Leslie Laredo
President, Laredo Group

Pharma marketers have to be extremely attuned to the nuances of digital channels. It is essential to understand how and when the target spends time in different media, their mode, and what activities are performed.  This requires a re-mapping of the purchase decision funnel and assigning the appropriate messaging and creative to each part.  

Safety issues require that, if the marketer is relying on content or audience as the main decision factor for placement of ad messages, the site quality and relationship with the sales rep are essential to ensure proper placement.  For audience-driven media, how audience segments are formed and data is collected are essential factors.  It is then crucial to align the creative, and correct campaign metrics and KPIs, with campaign objectives.

Got a forum question or comment? E-mail us at kevin.mccaffrey@haymarketmedia.com.

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