Digital Pharma Europe kicks off

Conveniently settled in Bayer’s Headquarters in Berlin the second Digital Pharma Europe kicks off tomorrow. As one of the sponsors we are looking forward to an exciting event with many interesting speakers and subjects. Just to name a few:

  • Social Media Bootcamp
  • PR, Marketing and Web 2.0: Integrating Functions to Communicate with One Voice
  • Exploring the Benefits and Challenges of Utilizing Different Social Media Channels to Communicate With Roche’s Diverse Stakeholders
  • The Two Way Relationship Behind Social Media is Rooted in Listening

We will be participating as panelist in the last one, so stay tuned for more information.

The tweetup of this evening already spurred some interesting discussions about how to leverage social media in pharma, so let’s have a look what EXL’s Digital Pharma has in stock.

SXSW 2010: Brian Solis – Organizations need to socialize

Social Media has changed the communication landscape and also the world of business has noticed that. But a Facebook group or a Twitter account is no guarantee for successful participation in the communities of your customers. To achieve that you need to do more. “You need to engage”, according to Brian Solis, Prinicpal at Futureworks and one of the prominent thought leaders in social media.

“As a company or as a brand you need to participate in the conversations in such manner that your not only of added value, but that you also involve your customers in your marketing and service activities.” Because of that social media will have an enormous impact in the organsational structure of a company. “Any division within an organization that is effected by outside influence is goiung to have to socialize”.  Eventually social media instruments will become aminstream as email is today, but before that organisations will need to go through a process of cultural change.

Brian was at SXSW to promote his latest book ‘Engage’, in his words the book that starts where the current scial media books stop. “There is not a single book that goes into this depth, that tells you how to apply social media to your job, how to get resources, how to measure it and how to get support.” We spoke with Brian about his book, about cultural change and about SXSW 2010.

SXSW 2010 – Tweet, tweet..eh..yamyam

Now half the world is on Twitter (that’s how it feels anyway) corporate can’t stay behind. In previous blogposts we wrote about Enterprise 2.0 and we talked about the tools available for businesses. But the corporate world still find these tools a challenge. Especially Twitter. Can it benefit the company? Or can it hurt it?

Fortunately one can start internally with Yammer, a Twitter-like service (although they prefer themselves to be compared with Facebook) which make you send short messages to your colleagues. Within the firewall of course, and one can only access with a corporate e-mail address. No need to think that you can receive yams (=tweets from Yammer) from other businesses. But Yammer has more. Recently they introduced Yammer Communities, a way to use Yammer also outside the firewall, with customers of suppliers for example.

On SXSW 2010 we spoke with Steve Apfelberg, Vice President of Marketing and Matt Knopp, Lead Developer at Yammer. About the benefits of microblogging, safety, integration with existing software platforms and why Dutch people like Yammer so much.

It’s that time a year again

Springtime is coming. And besides some brave flowers starting to push through the soil there’s something else in the air. Yes, springtime is congress time. For some reason spring and autumn are famous for congress organizations to do their stuff. Also this year we’ll be Sponge Bobbin’ on several inspiring congresses.

First off is our annual trip to the US. “Huh? Didn’t you guys just get back from this place?”. Correct. But since we need to re-evaluate the seemingly endless offerings on new media congresses in the States we decided to head over to the biggest one on this continent: South by Southwest.

“The South by Southwest Conference Festivals offer the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies. Fostering creative and professional growth alike, SXSW is the premier destination for discovery”, according to their website. We’ll be focussing on the emerging technologies (although the independent films and music sound tantalizing as well). For sure the program looks pretty overwhelming and with so many speakers it will give us a hard time choosing. The event wil take place in Austin, texas from March 12 to 16.

One day prior to South by Southwest our friend Shwen Gwee is organizing ‘Social Health 2010‘, the social pharma unconference. This year Shwen had the idea to bring all those pharma marketeers a bit closer to the ‘real’ social media space. So after the ‘serious’ stuff of pharma and social media they can all head over to South by Southwest to be inspired by cases which do not involve FDA regulations. Brilliant. We’ll be sponsoring the event and doing video shoots and interviews. Register here.

One week after our return to the Netherlands it’s flying off again, this time to Berlin where EXL is holding their annual Digital Pharma Europe event. This time they got Bayer Healthcare on board for organizing the congress in their impressive headquarters. Good luck, Len. DigiRedo is again sponsor of this event and as we speak we are finalizing details. For sure it’s going to be an inspiring two days, full of networking and new insights. As spearheaded in the US, EXL is now also bringing the ‘unconference’ method to Europe:

Digital Pharma is leading the way in the industry by incorporating “Unconference” ideas into the framework of the event. The traditional format of having speakers talk “At” the audience for 40 minutes followed by an uninspired, brief Q&A is over. People simply do not communicate that way anymore. Openness, collaboration, free flowing, listening before talking—attendees will learn how to bring these concepts into their communications in both theory and practice—by learning from the best practices of peers and by sharing and listening within this new format.”

For those of you who are interested, please register and use the discount code P621SOC.

Next up is the Mobile Convention in Amsterdam, the event for mobile marketing and business on April 1st. With about 15 confirmed speakers it offers a “platform for vision, information, discussion and new contacts”. We’ll have to see. It’s the first time they organize such a convention and due to the strategic focus we have on mobile it is worthwhile checking out.

April 6 and 7 we’re moving to Paris where we join the Health 2.0 Europe congress. After 5 successful years in the US (San Francisco, New York) the organization is now trying out the European market for health 2.0. According to the website it will provide answers to questions like:

  • How does specialized Search relate to Health 2.0? Is there life beyond Google in Europe?
  • Are online patient communities different in Europe and across European countries?
  • Have European doctors gone 2.0?
  • Are personal health records being adopted by health care systems in Europe?
  • How do European hospitals, payors and governments relate to Health 2.0?
  • What opportunities exist for Pharma to play a bigger role in Health 2.0?

Health 2.0 is the umbrella concept for many things we are currently active in. Mobile, video, communities, etcetera. It’s very broad, very interesting and it’s good to see that this movement is also coming to Europe. I’m most keen to learn how far we are here.

On April 26 we get in the plane to London, to the DevDay for iPhone. Although we’re not developers (yet) this space is intruiging us. With the aarival of teh iPad we believe so much is going to change. On the DevDay for iPhone we’re gonna “join for a dedicated and interactive one day event for software developers and business professionals who want to learn how to successfully build and market iPhone applications.”. Sounds good…

For the final conference we’ll go back to home soil again, Amsterdam. From April 27 to 29 The Next Web will be holding their yearly conference on all things Web 2.0. Last year we were not able to participate and regretted in immediately after a friend told us the performance of Gary Vaynerchuck. Hopefully they’ll have something similar up their sleeve this year.

We’ll, what a better time spent on a Sunday than to pack my suitcase. I might need it soon, for a long time…

The need for sharing content – a survey

Throughout the year we visit a lot of conferences, seminar and the like, varying from big and top-end meetings like Blogworld and New Media Expo and SXSW in the Social Media space to more industry specialized events like Digital Pharma, Digital Pharma Europe and DigiPharm for the pharma industry. But we’re still surprized how little of the content is actually being shared. Sure, if you’re there, you can experience it live: great speakers with sometimes even greater stories. But a recap of what has been said when you’re back home? Or what if you weren’t able to attend but still are very intrested to that specific story of Mr X? If you’re lucky, you’ll get the powerpoint slides, but a good Powerpoint presentation doesn’t give you the heart of the story. If a congress organizer offers the content in audio or video, it’s most of the time all or nothing. Against a premium price. And what if there are parallel sessions, where two of my favorite speakers are performing at the same time? How do I get both stories?

What’s your opinion? Please join our survey where  we’re interested in your need for obtaining conference material (either pdf, poweroint, audio, video) after a conference or of conferences that you were not able to attend. As a token of appreciation we will give away 10 Amazon gift cards of $25 in a drawing for all completed surveys. Please fill in your email address in order to participate in this drawing. Completing the survey will cost you less than 10 minutes. Here you can find the survey.

Thank you very much for your participation.

Twitter in Pharma – Interview with John Pugh (Boehringer)

At the last DigiPharm congress we spoke to John Pugh, Director Corporate and External Communications at Boehringer Ingelheim. John is well known for bringing Boehringer into the Twittersphere, and has quiet some success with that initiative. Using Twitter to communicate with journalists -his primary target in his role as External Communicator- he “can establish a dialogue with them”, according to John himself.

John started in the new/social media space about ten years ago, the time that websites were still written in Comic Sans. You could call John a real internet veteran, in that respect. During DigiPharm 2009 he shared his vision of the future of pharma, and the role new media will have.

In our interview John talks about his passion for new media and the challenges pharma is facing when deploying new media into their communication mix. John is a firm believer of new media and focusses in the opportunities rather than the threats, like we see way too often around us. We need more johns….

 

Mixed feelings about Blogworld’s first conference day

Today the Blogworld and New Media Expo 2009 took off in Las Vegas. Our first time at Blogworld but our third time at the New Media Expo and first for all of us at the combination of the two. What striked me immediately after entering the event is the size of it. More participants, more speakers, more tracks and more lectures than ever. And some very interesting and promising keynote speakers, such as Chris Brogan, Guy Kawasaki and Anthony Edwards (you know, Goose from Top Gun)

The opening keynote came from Laura Fitton (@Pistachio). Laura shared with us how she came completely hooked on Twitter and how it can change people’s lives. Absolutely convinced by its power she recently started her own consultancy on Twitter for Business, PistacioConsulting.com. In addition she wrote Twitter for Dummies. After her energetic talk I don’t think that anyone disagrees with her when it comes to the unique value of Twitter. That said, she spoke to the already converted.

It was packed, people were sitting on the floor as there were not enough chairs available. After the keynote the audience spread out to the several parallel track sessions only to come back together to the next keynote half way the morning and during the lunch break. The latter was maybe not the best chosen way of offering a keynote. When having lunch, I prefer to network and meet people, share ideas and experiences. But no, we had to silently consume our lunch, while listening to a discussion on stage which was hard to follow due to bad quality sound. Not surprizing people started chatting again.

Overall, the track sessions were disappointing. That is the sessions I attended. I had great expectations of the Medblogging track. But I did not really get any new information. Yes, individual bloggers like doctors, patients and nurses can generate their own community and yes some of these communities (especially of patients) can be of great help to the individual patient in managing his/her disease. But what’s new? Interesting question to me is: how can we truly make a difference in healthcare with Social Media? How do we get all stakeholders involved? Where is Big Pharma? Insurance companies? Governmental institutions? Hospitals? Do they blog? Or any other kind of Social Media activity? Do they care? Those parties need to get involved or at least approached and brought into the discussion in order to get a true sense of the impact of Social Media in Healthcare.

We still write. We still make notes. Electronically that is. Most participants carry their laptop around. Either to make their private notes, summarize what’s being said in their blog or share the quotes of the day through tweets. But not later than after lunch. Because all batteries ran out. And there were hardly any power plugs. How can you organize a conference for Bloggers and Social Media geeks without providing the life essence of their existence: electricity! Please give us more power tomorrow….

Blogworld audience2

Was it all misery? No, I’ve titled this post ‘Mixed feelings…’. Cause the best thing of the day still had to come. Or two things to be exact (three that is…we had a great dinner with friends we met at previous editions of the New Media Expo). The last track session I attended was a panel about Social Media and crisis management. With Dallas Lawrence (Levick Strategic Communications), Maggie Fox (Social Media Group) and Shel Holtz (Holtz Communication + Technology). With the latter we had an interview last year. Social Media can truly help organizations to manage a crisis situation. transparency and authenticity are keywords here. And be prepared because a crisis always knocks on your door unannounced. Prepared meaning: have a strategy ready how to deal with a crisis and be present in the online space (and that does not mean only with a website!). Shel referred to the damage done to United Airlines by an erroneaous publication by Bloomberg that UA was close to bankrupcy. By the time UA had corrected this error, it had lost 70% of its stock value. Their response was through the traditional media channels. Had they had a blog, their response would have been much faster and less damage would have been done on UA.

Chris Brogan closed the day with a remarkable keynote. Why we are in Social Media, what do we want with it and where do we go from here. It’s nice, being at a conference like this, with all like minded friends. While we should get out there and convince others. And all this in sentences of not more than 140 characters. The tweet fountain in the back could not keep up with all the tweets that were produced. A few of his oneliners (of less than 140 characters):

– If you’re a bad person, get good or get offline – quickly

– Your community will fall on a sword for you, your audience will watch you fall on it.

– Listen to Master Yoda: do or do not, there is no try

– Social Media is the new nervous system of your organization.

And that closed the day. With inspiration. Now I’m curious what tomorrow will bring. Because overall it has to do better than today. Otherwise Blogworld and New Media Expo 2010 has to do without me.

Cruisin’ in SanFran

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Stuck in San Francisco Airport due to long delays of departures it’s time to reflect on what has been an amazing 4 days in the ‘Bay Area’. Without turning this blog intro a Traveller’s Guide to the West Coast I can honestly say that this part of the US struck me because of it’s laid-back culture, European-style architecture and nice climate. Although the latter can not be confirmed by myself because during our stay the biggest tropical storm of the last 50 years hit SanFran. Yes, it was raining, yes there was storm. But nothing like we sometimes experience in the Netherlands. Finally we found something bigger and better in our country.

The Bay Area obviously is known for the cradle of technological advancement in modern human history. It was here where the first computers were ‘born’, where small garage-startup companies became the heggemoths of nowadays modern computer technology. The first wave in the 80s. Think Apple, think HP. The second wave in the 90s. Think eBay, think Google. And now the third wave with the thousands of Web 2.0 companies, making the internet really revolutionize the way we work and live. And we were here, in the breeding ground of collective binairy intelligence, making this digital era happen: Silicon Valley (now, if that doesn’t sound apocalyptic, I don’t know what does…)

So off we went to our Final Destination, the Mother of all Motherships: Cupertino, headquarters of Apple Inc. In our newly rented convertable Mitshubishi Eclipse (BMW Z4’s were all rented out…) we drove 35 miles south passing by places of which the names have earned a permanent place in the modern fairy tale about the Rise of the Machines. Palo Alto (HP, Facebook), Berkeley University, San Jose (‘Capital of Silicon Valley’)

SANY0295Cupertino, for that matter, is a place you don’t want to end up living. Sure, working in Cupertino is from yet another dimension (only in case your employer’s HQ is on Infinite Loop One) but the town itself is next to nothing. Apple has found a nice and quite place to settle down, and with an inmense complex of various buildings it determines the landscape of this little town. No other computer companies I know of have a Company Store where you can buy Apple goodies, mocks, T-shirts, pens, all with the world famous Apple logo embossed. Just to keep the brand experience alive. And they succeeded in that because from far, far away Apple fanboys (and girls!) travel to this sacred place to buy an exclusive and tangible artifact of the brand. Their brand. I even heard some guys from Holland visited the Company Store.

In reality of course, driving around Silicon Valley sounds more romantic than it really is. Sure, large buildings with huge signs of well known computer-related brands remember us where we are: Symantec, Yahoo, McAfee, Intel… It’s exiting if you realize the background of this area, but apart from that, these are just buildings. No rainbows of forever promising wealth, no cool dudes inSANY0320 convertables shouting out that they just invented the Next Big Thing in Cloud Computing, or frenzy VC’s (Venture Capitalists) scouting for the Next Big Thing in Cloud Computing. But that was all going to change the next day.

Jack Porter is a serial entrepreneur, as they call that in the Valley. Seven times CEO, Angel investor in tens of startups, multimillionaire and a well-known person in the Valley with a network our friend Shwen looks like an amateur. Jack has a friend, Randy, who has created the world largest community of Angels (Angel = person who invests in startups using their own money). And these Angels have collectively invested more than $200 million in about 200 companies. Many Web 2.0 companies would not exist without the financial injections these people provide. We had a meeting with Jack, and with Randy, to discuss one of our projects. Not to get funding, but to get advice how this business is run.

Jack and Randy know the game well, and enthusiastically they explain how the valley works. How you should set up your legal entity of your company, what you should do with your options, how many options you should submit and much, much more. It slowly became clear that we were very, very inexperienced in this Valley-talk, and we had to put our minds in the highest gear just to keep up with all the jargon throwed at us. “Do you know how Angels and VC’s determine the value of your company?”, Jack asked retorically. “They take the number of software developers inside your company, multiply that by $500,000. Then they take the number of sales people, multiply that by $250,000 and substract that.” OK, we got the message: nerds are important. The more nerds, the higher value your company has. “Make sure you have your CTO inside your company, that’s important. Without a CTO Angels would not even take you seriously…”. Thanks Jack, for the advice. Now let’s first figure out who will be the CEO, before getting into details.

Honestly said, Jack knew what he was talking about. And I don’t say that because he finds our idea “very valuable”, and that “this is the way the industry is moving towards”. Of course that will help in our confidence to go ahead, in whatever construction we’ll come up with. Jack has been in the investing-bizniz for more than 20 years and has a tremendous attention to detail. It was inspiring and exciting at the same time to be able to discuss you plans with Silicon Valley incrowd. Now being Dutch as we are, we need to stay realistic as well. Conceptually our idea has got a green light from the experts, now we still need to implement it.

But first we’re heading to Vegas. Tomorrow the BlogWorld and New Media Expo will kick-off and we’re excited to attend for the third time. Let’s see if the landscape of New Media is changing. We’ll keep you posted.

DigiPharm 2009 – Interview with Jamie Heywood (PatientsLikeMe)

As promised hereby our first video interview we made on DigiPharm 2009. In this episode we talk to Jamie Heywood, Co-Founder and Chairman of the impressive community PatientsLikeMe. About his motivations, the community, the relationship with Big Pharma and much more.

Pharma on the Move – DigiPharm 2009

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Rules, Compliance, Regulatory Affairs… There are many reasons why Big Pharma should not engage in Social Media. But apparently the Web 2.0 fever has hit hard in Pharma Marketing as well, since most, if not all congresses deal with this subject. And rightly so, since the change in behavioral patterns of patients and Health Care Professionals (HCP) are profound and can not be neglected anymore.

DigiPharm 2009 was such a congress, organized by Health Network Communications in London, from September 22 till 25. We were invited to present as well, so off we went to the capital of Great Britain. The event started on Tuesday with an interactive preconference workshop (“European Regulatory Strategies for Digital Marketing”), followed by the two day congress and finished off with a postconference workshop (“Strategies for Successful Marketing to the Digital Healthcare Community”). The workshops were attended by about 20 people, the conference approx. 85 people (excluding 15 speakers). A pretty high number I must say, given the time we’re in now (and also related to the various -rather aggressive- phone calls I got to participate in congresses). In this blogpost I will focus on the conference itself.

Digital Media, Social Media and Regulations
With more than 20 sessions it was a full program. It’s important thought to realize that one should make a clear distinction between Digital Media Marketing and Social Media Marketing. The latter, in our view, is about a dialogue, being transparent and authentic, and let the customer (be it a patient or HCP) in the driver’s seat. Digital Media could be an eDetailing without any ‘social stuff’ around it. It’s more a one way communication, rather than a dialogue. Although the importance of Social Media is now fully recognized, still Digital Media plays an important role in the communication strategy of many companies. Four years ago on a similar congress we concluded that Pharma is by far not ready yet because all presentations were about Digital Media (eDetailing, nice Flash sites). This time, at least half of the presentations were dealing with Social Media aspects within the communication mix.

The congress kicked-off by a presentation of Isabel Silva, Director Global eMarketing from Merck, who took us through the landscape of digital media and the new reality pharma is facing. She was focussing on the opportunities rather than the threats and stated that a “Digital environment could be the way that Pharma business can reinvent itself….to create an open dialogue with customers”. Easier said than done, was the common denominator in the audience. And what about regulations? Don’t they stop us at every digital initiative we deploy? “Not true”, said Heather Simmonds, Director of the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA, making ‘the Code’). “Of course there are rules to follow, like there have always been, and will be. But within those rules there is a lot possible. Clause 24 deals with the internet and in our Code of Practice Review Number 53 we even have an article about blogging for example”. “Let us know what you want and we’ll come back with a position”, she advised the audience. She went through a whole list of social/new/digital media tools and elaborated on the fly. She even discussed Wikipedia, which she had personally visited only once….

Hey! Somebody is interviewing US - for a change...

Hey! WE are being interviewed - for a change...

Multi-Channel
So if their are possibilities, we might consider using a multi-channel approach towards pharma marketing. Paul Dixey from BlueLight Partners states very clearly in one of his slides: “The Push Model doesn’t work anymore”, according to Paul. Too many changes which result in a more informed person on the other end of the deal. He identifies 5 main areas to deal with when implementing new channel approaches: Speed (pharma is not known for its speed), Knowledge (which company will have the best, up-to-date knowledge), Processes (can you handle to change your processes?), Resources (will you have sufficient resources to implement new and innovative channel approaches?) and finally Culture (is your culture open to change?). Paul suggests Multi-Channel Directors as a new function within pharma, preferably “empowered” according to Steve Jadhav from Astellas, who gave a presentation on team efforts in relation to successful campaign management.

Communities in pharma

Communities are no doubt one of the hottest things since Kotler came up with his 4 P’s, but most companies have trouble either

Yep, that's me, speednetworking

Yep, that's me, speednetworking

understanding, building or monetizing them (or all three). The same goes for Big Pharma, where legislation offers yet another potential deal breaker. So are there any success stories? May be there are. Hospira, a global specialty pharma and medication delivery company developed ‘Haemanet.com‘, a platform for hematologists to share knowledge on their profession and thus improving treatment in all hematological-related diseases. “For hematologists, the current communication methods are not ideal”, says Joseph Talanges Jr, Marketing Director at Hospira EMEA. “Journals reach a wide audience but yet the response to comments is slow, sometimes a few months. E-mail is quick, but it’s limited to what you know and is mostly a one to one communication. Congresses happen only ever so often and their only a few websites available”. I would say this is not only the case for hematologists, by the way. Haemanet jumps into this gap by offering a global, 24/7 expert platform. So far so good, because since June they have about 233 registered users from 55 different nationalities. Mind you, this is an expert community, so the absolute numbers are low.

A community from a different type and size is PatientsLikeMe. This patient-driven community collects and shares experiences of patients with certain life-changing diseases (ALS, fybromyalgia, HIV/AIDS, MS, Parkinson, etc). “The first real patient-centered management system”, in the words of co-founder Jamie Heywood who gave a vivid presentation at DigiPharm. “The ability to connect with others, the ability to understand the impact of treatments of the disease is an insight which was surprisingly absent

Jamie Heywood - from PatienstLikeMe

Jamie Heywood - from PatienstLikeMe

in online healthcare”, he continued in our interview we had with him. He started together with his brother and an old friend from MIT in 2004, after his other brother was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). “We had so much advantage in managing his disease because all the people we knew, we wanted to hand that over to other people”, Jamie said. And it certainly is an advantage, given the 50,000 members and 10% monthly growth of the platform. Growth which didn’t go unnoticed by pharma companies, such as UCB Pharma which recently partnered with PatientsLikeMe. So what’s in it for them? Jamie: “For them it’s a way to truly understanding the disease (epilepsy – EZ) and giving patients a tool that reflects their commitment”. Interestingly Jamie was clear in his message to the audience: “Patients who’s life is at stake want to hear from the pharma industry. They feel better knowing that Big Pharma is listening to them, working on their disease”.

Let’s tweet!
A clear message from Jamie, and pharma companies are looking for tools to open up these communication possibilities with patients. Take Twitter, for example. The ‘Social Media Darling’ of 2009. With a stunning growth of 1,382% earlier this year Twitter seems to be unstoppable as the new tool for some forms of communication. I say ‘some forms’, because 140 characters

Tweeting away!

Tweeting away!

seems to be a bit short for your company’s brochure or CEO’s shareholders preso (though in many cases the latter one would be better if it would fit 140 characters). Although used in many conference (such as this one, see the Twitter feed here) more and more pharma companies starting to explore the possibilities of this platform. “Novartis, Boehringer and J&J belong to the top 3”, according to John Pugh, PR responsible for social media at Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH and together with Shwen Gwee crowned ‘Twitter kings of pharma’. So what do they tweet? “Headlines linking to approved press releases, links to digital resources and relevant media articles, dialogues, questions and answers”. And there it becomes tricky. What can you say in your answer, and what can you certainly not say?

Since it was time to get some answers from the audience, we decided to do just that during our 30 Minutes of Fame. No presentation, just debating on 4 statements. See our previous blogpost for more information. In the near future we will be diving much deeper into the outcome of our little survey.

In conclusion
Overall we went home with a positive feeling. Of course, still many things to do in order to go home with an absolute Wow-feeling (for example, don’t let the conference just fade-out but end with a big bang, a presenter which people won’t forget) but I think DigiPharm 2009 was worthwhile attending. Good venue, good program, professionally organized and great line-up of speakers (duh! ;-)). We see a clear shift in the audience towards a more open and transparent way of communicating with their customers. Also authorities seem to understand the changing landscape, although I have the feeling that a lot of education still needs to take place. Not only at the level of the authorities, but also within the pharma companies. “We are preaching to the converted” was said many times during the congres. And in a way true, I guess. Despite some great initiatives shown to us by the various speakers, how many of us went back to the office, switched on their computers (IE6, no doubt), made their traveling report and dove into the hundreds of e-mails awaiting? Before you know it DigiPharm has become a nice memory, with hopefully some LinkedIn and/or Facebook connections. Who is going to make a difference? How are we going to organize ourselves to take pharma marketing into the 21st century?

We have interviewed Paul Dixey, Jamie Heywood and John Pugh. Stay tuned for these video interviews. Also, once the organization of DigiPharm has released the video of our presentation we will of course share this.

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