Pharmaceutical Executive Europe - October 2007 - (Page 12)

INTERNATIONAL HEALTHCARE MARKETING The Online Consumer The online community has come of age and can no longer be treated as a fad or fashion — this is particularly true in healthcare, where interested parties ignore the online community at their peril, says Catherine Devaney. here is no policing of pharmaceutical or healthcare websites for medical accuracy or geographical relevance. The quality of healthcare information that can be accessed online can, therefore, vary; the pharmaceutical industry should, at the very least, monitor and be aware of what is said about its drugs. Internet users no longer simply consume content passively, and have become contributors — 44% of UK Internet users post on blogs, discussion boards or engage in other social media outlets; there are now more than 100 million myspace accounts. YouTube is thought to be replacing TV consumption; in its first year people spent more than 9000 1 years in time on YouTube! We believe that as many consumers look online for advice and opinions as look to family and friends; according to an Intelliseek CGM (consumer generated media)2 study conducted at the beginning of the year, healthcare is a huge ‘seeker’ category, ranking T top with female online users. Whilst it may be no surprise that women are interested in health, it also scored highly with men, traditionally a hardto-reach audience. Stakeholders from diverse demographics and geographies post tens of millions of comments about all aspects of their health and healthcare experiences on the Internet. Consumer-to-consumer conversations routinely precede consumers trying, purchasing or accepting regimes for any healthcare product, and this dialogue is not exclusive to a certain type of consumer — healthcare professionals, patients and partners, regardless of gender, age or socioeconomic demographics, are all involved online. With nearly 25000 new blogs created every day, there is a vast amount of online dialogue taking place — largely without the contribution of the pharmaceutical industry. So how do we in healthcare communications deal with such a mass of information and the threats and opportunities that they pose, particularly in a market as heavily regulated as healthcare? Transparency and honesty are critical in engaging effectively with the social media space. Frauds are discovered rapidly and uncovered loudly. However, online activity offers a tremendous opportunity to drive positive influence and advocacy, as well as to deepen marketers’ knowledge of what is being said about their brand and brand messages outside of the traditional marketing space. Ability to understand CGM is critical. Only when we have this understanding can we inform and improve marketing communications; respond to negative issues, reducing their impact; embrace positive influence, increasing its effectiveness; measure and respond to brand threat; and influence product development. By using marketing intelligence, including competitive analysis, client companies can see how brand 12 OCTOBER 2007 PHARMACEUTICAL EXECUTIVE EUROPE

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pharmaceutical Executive Europe - October 2007

The Brand Exchange
Focused and Flexible
Making A Global Vision Work
Leading the Way
The OnlineConsumer
Wired to the Future
Co-ordinate Your Communications
In the Public Interest
Seek First to Understand

Pharmaceutical Executive Europe - October 2007