Marketing & Engagement Summit Canada

Nov 10, 2014 - Nov 11, 2014, Toronto

Pharma marketing is like a puzzle…

Poll Shows Growing Satisfaction with Pharma's use of Social Media

A recent survey indicates that those clinging to the argument that pharma are behind in the digital space, may be beginning to fall behind themselves...

A recently released WEGO Health/Digital Health Coalition survey suggests that pharma companies may finally be warming up to social media. The recently-conducted survey of 356 health activists showed that 81% believed pharma used social media 'to provide their communities with important updates on products or services'. The amount of people who subscribed to the above viewpoint went up 9% from last year’s survey findings.

When participants were asked to name a pharma company that stood out from the rest in its use of social media, Pfizer took the top spot with 32 mentions, ahead of Janssen with 14, Novartis with 13, and Sanofi with 10. Those surveyed also gave examples of best practices in the industry, with comments such as: 'Novartis does the best job - you see Novartis pretty much everywhere - particularly in cancer discussions', and 'Sanofi-Aventis is actively trying to involve the diabetes community through a fantastic social media manager.'

For the companies that came out on top in this survey, it will mean both welcome publicity and a vindication that their strategy on social media is on the right track. Companies' involvement in social media is still fraught with uncertainties, which stem in part from the FDA's refusal to issue comprehensive guidelines on this type of customer interaction. 66% of those surveyed showed support for the regulation of content placed on social media sites if it had been paid for by pharma companies, and 80% believed pharma should be held responsible for comments made in social media, although not when these comments are made by other consumers.

As Andrew Tolve suggests, the way for pharma firms to get the most out of online forums is to listen to what people are saying, instead of using the discussion as an advertising platform. When companies do use social media to provide information, it should be based on what is helpful to the members of that community; Bob Brooks, Executive Vice President of WEGO Health, stated that 'healthcare companies have an obligation to the community to debunk misinformation by contributing accurate content about their products. Activists are growing impatient with non-participating companies'. Another survey participant defined social media as 'a vital connection between patients and the companies that serve them', warning that 'patients recognize this and feel left out when companies remain silent'.

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Marketing & Engagement Summit Canada

Nov 10, 2014 - Nov 11, 2014, Toronto

Pharma marketing is like a puzzle…