Are Blogs Done?

Are Blogs Done?

Interesting perspective from the Pharma Marketing Blog on the demise of blogging. While I appreciate his point in that blogging has likely reached the tipping point towards a larger mass understanding and it is dominated by a few, I would argue that blogging is not done at all. It is simply moving on to its next iteration and is expanding into multi-channel distribution platform. I also think it will pay dividends for those who are in it for the long haul.

For pharma, medical device or other health care organizations I would caution them to brace for what's next versus figuring out whether to blog or not. As mentioned in previous posts here or here, I think it's all about engagement and that can manifest itself in many ways for marketers from immersive brand experiences, in-depth product focused micro sites, virtual reality, video, etc.

The more you can provide an experience for them the more likely they will slide into your funnel--regardless of what you're selling.

I Want An "Experience"

I Want An "Experience"

Here is a good article from Ad Age regarding Web site development and creating a brand experience. Great brands create an experience, often an unforgettable experience to immerse you in the heritage and value of the brand. Their are many examples cited in the article and Heineken comes to my mind. I had the chance to visit their aptly named Heineken Experience in Amsterdam last fall and it embodied what Heineken stands for.

For health care marketers, developing the brand experience is likely to be a little more difficult, but not impossible. In an effort to differentiate and provide engaging experiences, I think you'll see health care organizations push the brand further online and develop engaging stories, videos, testimonials and product experiences especially tailored to consumers and physicians.Publish Post
No More One-Way Streets

No More One-Way Streets

Here is a link to a video via Logic + Emotion about a little company called Adaptive Path. I am familiar with the organization via DiabetesMine.com who last year in a bold and creative move and a real sign of social media being a conversation, issued a challenge to Steve Jobs from Apple to design a blood glucose meter. While Steve Jobs didn't take up the challenge, Adaptive Path did and came up with a compelling design idea.

It is a strong signal that consumers can influence design and to me, a further sign that organizations of all kinds need to incorporate the voice of the customer into their product design. The product driven organizations who are steeped in R&D and don't elect to or choose to ignore the voice of their customer will do so at there own peril. The companies that are marketing driven and actively listen to their customers will in the end succeed.

For most health care organizations that means jumping on the bandwagon ASAP to at least understand what is being said. I've referred to a few ways in the past here.

With the rapid rise of bloggers in specific disease states I see companies partnering with them to develop consumer driven Key Opinion Leader (KOL) forums. This is common for health care organizations to work closely with physicians for consulting, research and influence. So, if there two spheres of influence are consumers and HCPs, it only makes sense that organizations will begin to embrace the consumer more in their product development and planning.

Embracing this consumer driven approach makes sense on many levels, however it will remain to be seen whether this is taken up. I would hazard to guess that consumer driven health related products and organizations will be doing this very soon. It makes for better products, better marketing opportunities and mitigates risk because you can have consumer input early on in the product development process and you develop loyal customers who leverage word of mouth to help with marketing. Win, Win, Win.


Hyper Connected

Hyper Connected

Saw this at Web Worker Daily and as I enter my 13 hour online today, I think I know where I fall.

  • They cluster in the banking and high tech industries.
  • 60% are under 35 years old, and only 7% over 55.
  • 63% have WiFi at home.
  • They listen to more MP3s and play more networked games than others.
  • They’d take their laptop before their wallet if they had to leave the house for 24 hours.
Gen-Xers

Gen-Xers

I came across this interesting article about Gen-X in the work place. Being firmly rooted in the Gen-X generation and a consumer of notable Gen-X related material from Douglas Coupland to Reality Bites, I find the list to be absolutely rooted in truth from the impatience in the work place to juggling home and work.
Storytellers

Storytellers

Whether sitting by a camp fire, in a bar drinking a beer with friends or listening to music, stories are engaging if told in the right way and to the right audience. This notion has been moving online for some time as a way to engage users and provide an interactive and connective experience.

Broadband penetration, technology, and social media all contribute to the ability to engage in long form engagement and storytelling.

You can see it in a huge experiential brand site that immerse in all things Nike such as Nike Golf.

So, I'm not sure how to react when Michael Eisner declares that stories are the next wave. Is that a sign of mass acceptance?
What Next?

What Next?

In a sign that the apocalypse may be upon us, Grand Marnier is launching a user driven ad campaign. This is either extremely ingenious as they try to skew younger or someone got the green light on a "me too" ill conceived effort to get younger. I am not quite sure yet, but given that I fit squarely in the demo that they are trying to target, I am going to speculate that that they may be missing the mark.

Liquor is affected by trends (Red Bull and Grey Goose anyone?) and while I don't have quantitative data, I would argue that Gen X and Gen Y is largely a beer and wine crowd. I did try Bud Light Lime recently and enjoyed it, although I don't know that it will persuade me from a Corona given the choice.

Speaking of beer and wine, check out GoodGrape.com for in-depth and insightful wine industry coverage.




I Present Thee...Google Health

I Present Thee...Google Health

Via the WSJ blog, Google Health has finally made its debut. While it's definitely too early to tell how well it will do, it will be going head to head with Microsoft's HealthVault. As I mentioned earlier here, there it is an uphill battle into the near distance with adoption, privacy concerns and stiff competition. The jury is out and we'll continue to monitor the situation.


And then there is this....




When All You Have is  Hammer...

When All You Have is Hammer...

Everything looks like a nail.

I love that saying and it is true and applicable in so many instances.

Jeremiah over at the Web-Strategist.com had a good post about too many people focusing on the tools of Web strategy versus taking a holistic view. It is a good point and one I've confronted recently with the help of his organization, Forrester.

You have to understand your customers and deliver on what they tell you they want and not what you think they want or what you can get done. There is something to be said for simplicity and quality over quantity.
Seth Godin + TED

Seth Godin + TED

20 minutes well spent.

Buzz + Blogging

Buzz + Blogging

I am in love with slideshare.net. Not only has it inspired my thinking for this blog, but it has helped me in my work. Here are a few that piqued my interest.




Cool Site
Attract, Acquire and Retain..

Attract, Acquire and Retain..

The standard the model of Web site development and marketing has been some variant of attract, acquire and retain.

For marketers sites such as Ning and Google's new Friend Connect could prove to be a very powerful tool to allow organizations to create a community in a way that doesn't hit customers over the head with a brand message. I see very relevant applications for building community among customers, customer service and capturing information from customers as insight into product development, custom focus groups and message and ad testing.

An excellent breakdown of Friend Connect can be found here.

As discussed previously this functionality could easily serve as a spoke in the hub and spoke model and be one channel for allowing customers to interact in the way that they want. YOu have to be open to some candid commentary though.
Dipity Do-Da

Dipity Do-Da

Very cool site to create interactive time lines for content and an excellent mash-up for video.
Trends + Internet

Trends + Internet

As I was cruising through my feed reader this blog stopped me for more than a few seconds. I am always interested in trends and connecting disparate dots together to see how it may be applicable to my work, life or interests, and it lead me to this site and this site and ultimately to this report.


Update: found this site coolspotters.



I love the Internet.
Breaking News: Video Consumption Increases Again

Breaking News: Video Consumption Increases Again


It should come as no surprise to anyone that video consumption is up again.

That health care organization that can harness the best and safest of the social media, which would include an integrated approach, video, engaging content, perhaps a micro site and a viral component will be on the road to a successful marketing effort.
C-Level Executive Media Consumption

C-Level Executive Media Consumption


If there was ever a time to question self-reported data it is this.

While I have no doubt social media usage is increasing in the C suite, I would say that this is very likely skewed a bit.
Bubbles + Perspective

Bubbles + Perspective

A couple of posts here and here that I found interesting. Having some history under my belt it is interesting to read these articles about Google's growth stagnating and talent leaving. It very reminiscent of the late 90s when Microsoft and others were bleeding talent to the dot-com start-ups. Some of those start-ups will get acquired, most will fail and in the end a few will become standard bearers.

The sky is not falling, but there will have to be some consolidation...
Ask Questions + Do No Harm

Ask Questions + Do No Harm

Here is a recent article about the American Medical Association calling for limits on DTC advertising.

There are a few interesting excerpts:

A moratorium should be placed on ads for newly approved drugs until doctors are educated and regulators have signed off on the messages, the medical association, said yesterday at a House subcommittee hearing on drug advertising. Representative Bart Stupak said Congress should consider new restrictions on ads.
And this:

"Congress needs to decide whether the US should continue to be one of two countries in the world that allow DTC ads, and if we continue to allow such advertising, whether any further limits to DTC ads should be required," said Stupak, a Michigan Democrat and head of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on oversight and investigations. "It appears that we need to enforce significant restrictions on DTC ads."
Hmm, okay. I do think there may need to be tighter control and more emphasis on disclaimer information, but a full restriction or a moratorium until all doctor's are educated? Right. I am not holding my breath.

This does beg the question as to why doctor's are pushing for more regulation when NO ONE forces them to prescribe ANY drug to ANY patient.

The good news from an interactive perspective is that the Internet obviously lends itself to being able to use longer form vehicles and and engage consumers in conversation AND also display disclaimer information appropriately.

Here is a quick rant from Rush Limbaugh referencing the issue and Rep. Bart Stupak. I am no ditto head, but he may have a point.



Ad Agency Awards + Orthopedics

Ad Agency Awards + Orthopedics

I had to laugh when I came across this press release. Sent out by the agency Abelson Taylor touting their work for a DTC campaign for Zimmer an orthopedic device manufacturer based in Warsaw, In.

It is stunningly self-serving. However, it doesn't mention if it actually increased awareness or sales. I don't know about you, but that is usually a key metric that I track when dropping a few million on a DTC campaign. But hey, you won the highly coveted DTC award.

But wait, there's more. It must not have worked that well. It was announced on May 9th that Zimmer's Chief Marketing Officer is stepping down in a restructuring and a not so carefully worded press release. What is not mentioned is she is a born and raised Warsaw, IN native and also the Group President.

It sounds like someone had to fall on the sword for the recent troubles with the DOJ and product recalls. The ortho manufacturers have a long way to go as they move out of the "consultant agreements" model of marketing to DTC.
Thought of The Day for May 11, 2008

Thought of The Day for May 11, 2008

The thought of the day comes courtesy of my go-to for something thought provoking Seth Godin

What Every Good Marketer Knows:

  • Anticipated, personal and relevant advertising always does better than unsolicited junk.
  • Making promises and keeping them is a great way to build a brand.
  • Your best customers are worth far more than your average customers.
  • Share of wallet is easier, more profitable and ultimately more effective a measure than share of market.
  • Marketing begins before the product is created.
  • Advertising is just a symptom, a tactic. Marketing is about far more than that.
  • Low price is a great way to sell a commodity. That’s not marketing, though, that’s efficiency.
  • Conversations among the members of your marketplace happen whether you like it or not. Good marketing encourages the right sort of conversations.
  • Products that are remarkable get talked about.
Find the rest of the list here.

My favorite? Conversations among members of your marketplace happen whether you like it or note. Good marketing encourages the right conversations.
Boomers and Health Care

Boomers and Health Care

The first annual Senior Health Index by the American System for Advancing Senior Health (ASASH) conducted by Zogby recently released results of a nationwide poll. Among the highlights is the fact that Seniors feel that there are not getting enough specialized care. I'll leave the quality of Medicare discussion to others far better versed than I, but the other interesting piece of information to emerge is where the 55+ crowd is turning to get information.


It shouldn't surprise by now that the Internet is serving as significant influence for health information.

"We are seeing the Baby Boomers use the Internet to take a much more activist role in almost every aspect of their lives," said Pollster John Zogby. "We have had a dramatic increase in their participation in online polling, for instance, and they tell us that the Internet is playing an important role in getting the latest information about everything from health care to politics to travel, leisure, money management, and just about every other subject."
For savvy health care marketers, there is and will continue to be a ripe opportunity to engage and develop relationships with Seniors who may be managing a chronic condition or somewhere in the decision cycle for some form of health care.

From prostate cancer to menopause to knee replacement to high cholesterol there is an opportunity to provide the right message at the right time. An integrated approach that focuses on interactive, engaging content and the online channel is a great place to start to begin to reach these folks.
Leadership

Leadership

This is definitely worth a few minutes.

Digital and Social Media Ad Growth

Digital and Social Media Ad Growth

Accenture completed a global study recently polling executives on advertising growth.

The executives also say the advertising driving the media is going to be digital. Over half (52%) said that digital ads will replace traditional advertising within five years. Not surprisingly, then, 68% of the executives said that social media was a high-growth area, with 56% saying they were already involved with social media "in some capacity."
Those estimates seem a little bullish to me based on internal and external factors facing many pharma/med device organizations, but I see a slight, but steady shift beginning to occur.

You only have to go to YouTube and do a search for the pharmaceutical of choice to see its influence.

Ted: Ideas Worth Watching

Ted: Ideas Worth Watching

Chris Anderson of Wired and The Long Tail fame became curator of Ted |Ideas Worth Spreading. It is a site inspired by the greatest thinkers and doers.

As a marketer with an above average thirst for knowledge and inspiration this site is close to nirvana. There are some great videos, such as the one below from Malcolm Gladwell, who wrote the seminal books The Tipping Point and Blink.

Social Media Profiling: 'Rise of the Grays'

Social Media Profiling: 'Rise of the Grays'

Ad Age has an article today profiling those who use Social Media. Certainly the "Upscale Grays" are appealing to most marketers and especially health care marketers.

This gentlemen seems rather savvy about the "Internets."

Micro Interactions

Micro Interactions

David Armano is absolutely dialed in.

Engagement-->Relationships--> Loyalty

Consumers and Physicians Online....

Consumers and Physicians Online....

Sure, it could construed as self-serving, if it weren't all true. It will take a bold move or a daring marketer to break the current grip on health care organizations. It is simply too easy to place that ad in Health magazine....

Above the Din...

Above the Din...


I've been thinking for some time about the "value" of large brand Web sites and what it takes to rise above the din. It seems for product manufacturers who lived and in many cases thrived in the old model of building a Web site and trying to drive "traffic," get "eyeballs" and create "stickiness." These site owners are also likely still reporting (if they are doing any reporting at all) on click-through and page views.

I am a ardent believer that the model has shifted and most in health care organizations are just beginning to get their heads around that change. Especially interesting in a time when most people in the organization are just realizing that they should embrace online--except that it took them years to understand an old marketing model.

Those brand Web site owners who think that simply building a Web site, adding some content periodically and having an agency run a display and SEM campaign have fulfilled their expectations are off the mark.

I think there are two trends officially percolating related to content and Web site design. First, is that engagement is the new metric. Forrester Research analyst Brian Haven discusses this here:

Secondly, I'd like to officially call for the death the old destination Web site model. The notion of building large brand Web sites and continually trying to keep it fresh with new content is dead. I have first hand experience and knowledge that keeping a site fresh in a regulated product environment is nearly impossible. People aren't coming to manufacturer Web site to learn about health, diet and exercise, so why do you think it's beneficial to spend time, money and effort to create it? They will go to WebMD, Revolution Health or any number of sites with better, more in-depth content.

Rather, I think the model that will begin to take hold is similar more of a hub and spoke model. Create a dynamic, interactive brand experience (hub) with enough information and content to fulfill on critical business goals. Drive product awareness, interactive product demonstrations, video testimonials, create a positive brand experience, state who you are and what you stand for as a brand, provide enough related content to satisfy and be a place for exemplary customer service.

The kicker and where the spokes come in is to provide your content in ways that people want to receive it, email, RSS feeds, widgets, video, and create for multiple distribution points for your branded content versus driving people back to your destination.

Same goal, much, much different approach.
Pharma Online Spending Going Up?

Pharma Online Spending Going Up?





















US direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical marketers say they plan to increase their online marketing spending this year and decrease spending on traditional media, according to a March 2008 Cegedim Dendrite study. Respondents generally said they planned to spend more this year on Web sites, search and e-mail marketing, and less on TV and radio.

Cegedim said that while respondents said they wanted to see more focus on emerging and targeted channels, and less on general mass media tactics, the industry seemed reluctant to actually reallocate budgets to make it happen.

My Take: Pharma, medical device and health care organizations are under increasing pressure and are finding it harder to reach consumers and health care professionals. I personally see a slight increase in understanding of the value of interactive but that hasn't necessarily translated to an increased budget. There is a natural and consistent movement to delivering more interactive and online marketing, but it's not what I would consider anything close critical mass.

Most of Pharma is not participating in rich experiential marketing online. The money for that will not likely be incremental to current DTC efforts due to business pressures. There are efficiency and effectiveness gains to found and any incremental gain will likely come out of a decrease in TV and other traditional forms of media like print in trade publications. In the near future will there be a TV commercial playing ad nauseum about waiting for your Cialis moment during prime time television or will it play when you’re on WebMD or Google searching for ED?

I think the jury is still out whether the money will flow online in the short term, but I know this: That's where the consumers are and they are looking to be engaged and are having conversations with or without you.



Social Media Visualization

Social Media Visualization


How do you explain fragmentation in marketing and the rise of social media and its impact on targeting, segmenting and engaging customers? It is no doubt difficult. Here are a few blogs I read with some relevant imagery...



Logic+Emotion

Digital Influencing Mapping Project

MIT
Work Smarter, Not Harder

Work Smarter, Not Harder

A couple of links related to working harder and not smarter...

Seth Godin


Fortune

Getting Things Done