Top tips from Pharma's Digital thought leadersDigital thought leaders Ben Tilly of GSK and Dave Pinnington from Pfizer convened with the PM Society's Digital Interest Group lead Carwyn Jones at the 9th PM Society Digital Breakfast on Thursday, 27 June 2013. Prompted by discussion from a live online audience of over 125, we've summed up some of our 'talking heads' top tips for digital pharma success:

  • Understand the granularity of digital
    Seek insight and understanding by looking to examples outside industry, then realign them to respect the Code.
  • Don't miss the opportunity to get your agencies in early at strategic planning stages
    Agencies can give you insight into what is achievable.
  • Forget the latest technological advance that you or your agency admires
    Choose strategy over seduction and look to your end objectives in anything you do.
  • Understand who your audience/customer is
    For example, patients are looking to engage and pharma often misses a trick in this. Consider where the Code does allow engagement so you don't use it as an excuse not to engage. However, make sure there is provision long term, even when a medicine goes off patent; those patients still need support. 
  • Consider whether your ideas will truly add value to your audience 
    If you don't have the value proposition right it risks becoming a vanity project. Apps can be a good example of this – unless you are going to make something new happen or update regularly, it's going to be deleted. Think long term in your planning and investment. 
  • Think about the user and user experience
    Don't just try to replicate old models such as replacing a sales call with a website – when was the last time you went through any company's website to look through a sales presentation? Never! Be creative.
  • Don't cut corners
    For example, make sure any website is responsive for smart phones – it's chicken and egg – you won't get the smart phone use if the site ready!
  • Cutting edge can work in industry – but bring in the medics and legal upfront.
    Work as a team so that everyone understands the objectives and desired outcomes. Legal should be part of the solution, not the problem, and it should never be used as an excuse not to innovate

Social media – it's all about engagement

  • Actively engaging may be difficult and pharmacovigilance may be a significant barrier
    Consider the effort and resources and plan, but social media is really all about engagement. You could:
    • Look at passive engagement with delayed modified response
    • Understand where your channel might fit. E.g. Twitter could work for a rare disease area where you have a finite group of followers or consider channels such as YouTube to engage your customers around a topic in a central area
    • Gain inspiration from initiatives such as Man MOT from Pfizer and look at how it grabbed attention and conversation around different areas of managing men's health and integrated with wider elements of the campaign in more traditional channels.
  • Fish where the fish are 
    The first step is to start listening and understanding how your audience is engaging online. Then – rather like going to the pub – when you know what sorts of things people are talking about you can start engaging and chatting about similar things. Understanding the sentiment of words and what people are discussing can all be useful for informing brand marketing.  
  • Consider other ways that social media channels might be useful beyond being a 'push' channel
    For example managing customer services, recruitment and crowd-sourcing information or informing marketing strategy (all within the boundaries of the Code, of course).

You can view this Digital Breakfast again below or listen again to the entire archive on our Bright Talk page.