Testing the water – Social Media and the Pharma industry
March 14, 2008 3 Comments
While I am waiting for my flight back to Amsterdam, I might as well share the experience I had today in Berlin. I was invited by a pharmaceutical company to help them understand Social Media. I gave a presentation to the European Marketing Managers explaining what Social Media is and how to use it. As one of the participants mentioned to me at the end of my presentation: “Of all the industries, I feel that banks and pharmaceutical companies are the most cautious businesses in getting involved in this new phenomenon”. And he is right. Big Pharma, heavily regulated as it is, is indeed very, very careful. On one hand understandable, as their hands are tight when it comes to open and direct communication about their (prescription) products. They are simply not allowed to do so. But on the other hand, just realize what great opportunities lay ahead of them. Let’s face it, what is more precious to people and their love ones? Exactly, their health!
I shared best and worst practice examples of New Media and social computing of both FMCG as well as pharma. Some of the big pharma boys are testing the water, some even quite successfully. From blogs and podcasts to viral marketing. And similar to the responses of the community to the famous Dove evolution commercial, we see exactley the same response to some pharma products, in this case in the USA (click for pharma commercial and parody).
Therefore, my message is: get involved, test the water, learn to understand the power of new media and experiment. Reach out and try to locate your community and listen to what they have to say.what they tell you. And if you dare, talk with them. Yes it is scary, and yes there are risks involved, but the benefits can be tremendous, if applied in the right way. And no matter what, they will talk about you anyway, so you’d better be involved.
It was a great afternoon, with a very enthusiastic audience that was open and willing to investigate the opportunities of social networking further.
And, of course, another Amazing Moment, together with the Berlin Bear