Gone Fishing!

Gone Fishing!

Not really fishing, but I will be enjoying plenty of sushi as I head to Japan next week for a Continua Health Alliance Summit. The first Continua certified product is now available and it is a very exciting time to head up the Marketing Work Group for Continua. The privilege is truly mine. So it will be quiet around here for a few days. Be back soon!

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Docs Keep Going Online!!

Docs Keep Going Online!!

Manhattan Research is a leading health care research firm and they have a preeminent annual study of physicians called Taking the Pulse now on version 8. I have been fortunate to be able to review this data for as many years as they have been releasing it and there is one trend that is consistent and now overwhelming. The fact that doctor's are going online to get medical and health related information.

In the early years the data was viewed more in a skeptical light and I think to a certain extent many doctor's didn't appreciate this Internet thing that people are going to to get information. It meant that they had to be prepared for this person armed with a stack of paper printed off from some health site and deal with the new found information or misinformation this person brought with them.

However, over the last 2-3 years I think that trend has slowly but surely been changing and you can see it changing not only in the US but Europe as well.

Via Clickz Some 60 percent of doctors in the United States use social networking sites for physicians, or are interested in joining them, and they write more prescriptions than medical colleagues who are not active in such sites.

Sermo and Medscape Physician Connect are the two largest physician-only online communities, and the chief subjects of "Taking the Pulse." In addition to interactive discussions, both offer continuing education credits, job boards, and access to medical journals. While their traffic is a blip next to sites like Facebook and MySpace -- both Sermo and the Medscape site claim to have attracted more than 100,000 physicians since launch -- they share the uncertainty facing all social networking sites as they attempt to monetize their audiences
This shift leads me to the fact Rx/Dx organizations are all trying to figure out how to be effective in B2C and B2B social media. I think the primary focus has been on the consumer, but I think it may be actually easier to implement with doctor's because it is much more controlled environment and there are fewer options to choose from.

Either way, Rx/Dx must confront how they can utilize social media in their marketing. It reflects the ongoing fragmentation of marketing and quite soon, there's not going to be "marketing" and "social media" marketing it's all going to be one thing (I actually think we're already there, but I'm being generous). So some marketing leaders are going to have to roll up their sleeves, take on some risk and figure out how they are going to deliver effective results or I guarantee you someone else will if given the opportunity. I know your competitors are.

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Follow Me: The Explosion of Twitter

Follow Me: The Explosion of Twitter

So everybody and their brother is joining Twitter these days. Literally, myself and my brother (@goodgrape) included. I have only been on for a few months. I have tried to explain to the people who say, "I don't get it" that they just have to try it. It of course helps if they understand social media first, but to me Twitter is as close as you can come to a virtual font of knowledge. Some of it is mundane, some profane, but a lot of it is very, very useful. I can't tell you how many new thoughts, perspectives and insights I have been exposed to since I joined. I recommend it regardless of active or not you choose to be. That's on a personal level. If you are a marketer how can you afford not to monitor what is being said or not said about your product? These days what is not being said is almost of equal importance as what is said. I don't think more people have clued into that insight quite yet.

For me, it comes down to this: If you could put yourself in a room of very smart people of your choosing for a free flowing, free wheeling conversation for anywhere from 1 minute to as long as you would like to listen, learn and go about your day, would you do it? If you answer yes join Twitter. If you answer no? Keep doing what you're doing. If you're a marketer, brush off the resume.

I like Sandeep's perspective.



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Twitter and Health 2.0

Twitter and Health 2.0

Interesting perspective. Realistic? Not any time soon in my view, but I love the vision and gumption.



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DTC and Interactive for Ortho: A New Approach

DTC and Interactive for Ortho: A New Approach


For all of the boomers who are aging and expect to keep active, getting a knee replacement can be a difficult decision. recovery can be daunting and it is not a cheap procedure. Costs can go up into the 30-40K range.

I have talked in this space in the past how Orthopedics are somewhat insulated against recessionary pressures because a large component is pain related and if people are in chronic pain they'll more often than not get the problem resolved. However, the decision making process can be long and I have advocated that orthopaedic companies could utilize DTC and interactive marketing to speed awareness and decision making versus the previous physician focus. I also need not remind everyone of the "consulting agreements." Depuy, in particular, has done this well as outlined previously.

Because I have Google Alerts set up for orthopedic manufacturers I had a Gmail ad appear for this Web site, www.kneesforme.com.

This is interesting to me on many fronts. First, is that if you read the site, it's promoting "brand" knee replacements from Zimmer, Depuy, Stryker, etc in India. It advertises much cheaper costs (10K) than US based knee replacements and promotes the all-inclusive vacation to India.

I have seen this type of thing before for plastic surgery, etc. but this knee replacement targets a completely different kind of online information seeker. Someone seeking a specific solution to a specific problem. I'm very curious to understand how effective this marketing is for the practice in India. I wonder if the manufacturers silently endorse this because a Zimmer knee is a Zimmer knee regardless of where it gets put in?

I am not up on all insurance issues, but my primary question is are people that price sensitive? Are they targeting medicaid recipients, non-insured? I guess with Web design and hosting being cheap in India that any more than one knee replacement would pay for the marketing, but beyond the adventuresome who want to go to India and happen to have a bum wheel? Who would go?

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting approach and one that may increase if we stay in a deep recession and people are in chronic pain. Insurers may become more prudent in approving claims and chronic pain is very subjective.

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See You Later, We've Gone Digital

See You Later, We've Gone Digital

An interesting article on CQ.com, the Congressional Quarterly, about Pharma marketing going digital. First, I think it's fascinating the CQ is talking about this. A sign that the times are a changing. Change could take a couple of different permutations. Either tightening regulations against DTC and/or a greater emphasis on measurable digital activities. I think it will likely be a little of both given the pro-business and subsequent lax regulations that marked the Bush Administration, but also the tsunami known as interactive marketing is an immovable force. I love to read articles about more investment going online. I've been advocating and talking about this for literally years dating back to 2001. Yes, 8 years. It has been the slowest moving "trend" I have ever seen in a particular industry.

The issue for the lag with most Rx/Dx organizations is simply that it takes time for eduction, knowledge and understanding to make its way to marketing decision makers desks. So until you have a pioneer and other pioneers in other organizations willing to take risks or be given the latitude to take risks you're going to have bland, proven, middling ROI marketing campaigns. Turn on the 6:00 news and you can see this everyday in action across a broad spectrum of drugs.

What is needed to turn the corner? It very well may be the current recession we're in. When budgets tighten, pressure increases and you're forced to deliver results with static or reduced investments, online begins to make a lot more sense. Or at least people are more open to new things. Be more targeted? Online. Need to have better measurement? Online. Want to be a part of the conversation? Online. Need to show how you're cutting edge? Online.

So the irony of all of this is that interactive will continue to grow, likely at reduced rates relative to forecasts made before the recession, but it will continue to grow and not because it is the most widely available marketing channel where you can target, measure and provide the best experience for a potential customer, but because it's cheaper to execute when times are tough.

That's my take, what's yours?

I've touched on this in the past here.

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Remote Patient Monitoring--Visual

Remote Patient Monitoring--Visual

A pretty good visual from Fast company about what the future of remote monitoring looks like.

A decent plug for the Continua Health Alliance as well.

AT&T isn't alone in exploring telemedicine technology, and the good news is that firms in this growing niche are banding together. AT&T is a member of the Continua Health Alliance -- the group also includes Bayer, Cisco, GE, IBM, and Novartis -- which is working to make medical-monitoring devices interoperable.

Interesting that the article focuses on AT&T and big name companies only though. I think AT&T has some delivery issues with their U-Verse and there are many small companies that are really working hard to carve out this space.

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The White House

The White House

A friend tipped me off to the fact that the www.whitehouse.gov is also enjoying an update as President Barack Obama takes over. I'm not sure when it went live but interesting that it is updated so quickly versus just a new splash page and an update in 6 weeks. It is clear that Obama, among other firsts, is going to be the first technology President. We know about his fireside chats via YouTube and he's carried over the blog from his campaign as well. The transparency will be a welcome change from the past 8 years and hopefully will be reflective of the future.

I am confident that at the end of his time in Washington that as a collective we will be far advanced when it comes to health care and technology--he's already made the first serve on eHR as a cost reduction measure. If you are someone like me who is interested in technology and health care you have to look forward to what is before us. It is sure to be an exciting time.



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Kraft's iPhone App

Kraft's iPhone App

Via AdAge Kraft foods has developed a top 100 app for the iPhone.

iFood Assistant is now one of the device's 100 most popular paid apps, and No. 2 in the lifestyle category. With its endeavor, Kraft is pulling off a rare trick: getting consumers to pay a one-time 99-cent fee for the app and also sit through ads on it. And in the process, it's collecting useful data for targeting them more closely.
The lesson: When a marketer creates something that's actually useful, consumers don't really see it as straight marketing, or they're at least willing to accept advertising as the payoff.
This demonstrates the value of apps for consumers. It clearly outlines the winning game plan for creating an app and that is making it extremely useful (can you get to the essence of the brand and provide value?) and if possible make it fun and show some brand personality.

As mobile computing matures, I think you'll begin to see more and more of this type of brand app development and less of throw-away apps (c'mon, iFart?).

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About Jim Lefevere

About Jim Lefevere


Jim Lefevere is an award-winning marketing leader and innovative global marketing professional in consumer goods, health care, and medical devices. He combines senior marketing experience with a pioneering entrepreneurial vision. Recently named one of the Top Forty business professionals under 40 by the Indianapolis Business Journal, He has lead marketing efforts for Fortune 100 organizations and fast growth start-ups. A respected expert on interactive marketing and connected health care, his focus is on creating digital strategies that connect, engage and make a difference. He currently heads global digital marketing for a division of the world’s largest bio-tech company and a leader in research driven health care.
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What is Social Media

What is Social Media

Interesting take from Caroline McCarty at CNET regarding the bursting bubble of social media. I would argued and have argued that the bubble isn't bursting per se on social media, but the bloom is off the rose. You have applications pretending to be businesses and what we're seeing is a very natural evolution.

However, the real juiciness of the story is revealed in this Gartner estimate:

Research firm Gartner estimated last fall that a full half of companies' "social media campaigns" will be unsuccessful, pouring some cold water on the hype surrounding buzzwords like "app-vertising" and "engagement ads." The problem, analyst Adam Sarner said at the time, is that too many companies fail to keep the interests of the community in mind.
First, I have to agree. Second it is because of one key word used--CAMPAIGN. By its very definition a campaign has a beginning and an end. SM should be wrapped into an overall strategy and be a part a full customer experience. If that is done, I think you have a very viable, participatory, engaged method of reaching your audience.

I am not sure if Adam Sarner used the word "campaign" or if that was Caroline the author's, maybe this will get picked up by his Google Alerts and he can let me know.

You can click here and here where I've touched on this in the past.

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Could This Happen in the US?

Could This Happen in the US?

So I'll admit that I saw this via perezhilton.com. The first question that came to mind is could this ever be done in the US? Could you start with 10 planted people dancing and have it turn into 100+?

Sadly, I have to say no. What's the saying, "love like you'll never be hurt and dance like no one is watching." Genius commercial. Love it.










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2009 Trends

2009 Trends

Year of Mobile? It may be coming but I don't know if people will pony up for $300 phones and additional data plans if the economy doesn't make an improvement. Long term though, no doubt.

Cha-Cha-Changes

Cha-Cha-Changes

With a new year comes new beginnings. So you'll start to see some changes here in the next couple of weeks including a look/feel update. I am also noodling some content distribution changes so those may creep in as well.

Thanks for your patience and I hope you like the changes.


Jim





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