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Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

First, a provocative thought, just to get you in the mood:

Right?

Anyway, last week, I attended the 6th annual Digital Pharma East conference, put on by the fine folks at ExLPharma.

I think I’ve been to all of them – maybe I missed one? – but it’s pretty interesting to reflect back on what the event looked like a few short years ago. In the earliest years, I decided to live-blog the event, which was unheard-of in the industry. Would my laptop and I get arrested for real-time pharma updates?? Now, just about everyone has a tablet or laptop, and we’re increasingly living this digitally-connected reality that once we were only talking about.

Refreshingly, we finally seem to be past yammering over our Phase 1 Problems (P1P) – whether or not we even should participate in social media; what to do about off-label discussions; can (or should) we even be on Twitter; etc. This year, discussions were more focused on practical doing, and less on regulatory hand-wringing. That’s refreshing.

The event was attended by over 600+ folks – a pretty stellar attendance number – and it ran over 4 days. The first day was pre-event workshops; the next 2 days were the main event; and Thursday was Mobile Day. Chairing the event were two pharma digital veterans, Batman and Robin Shwen Gwee and Marc Monseau (each formerly worked inside pharma companies, both now on the agency side).

I like to give high-level summaries of events like this, so here is my string of thoughts and observations:

1. Digital Pharma East was well-planned and well-run. Bryon, Jayson, Jason, Warren, and the whole team did a solid job organizing, and were constantly circulating to make sure things stayed on track. Kudos to the ExL Pharma group.

Random thought: good food really does help the mood at an event.

2. The exhibit hall was packed with some pretty interesting vendor/providers – and I’m pleased to observe that we’re finally beginning to move from first-generation iPad apps (the one-off approach) to more robust system-level platforms. I have some definite opinions about this, and for pharma/biotech/device companies who are looking to do a digital technology audit and roadmap, I can help you with recommendations (commercial plug for my client-vendor matchmaking service).

Random thought: Having the meals and social events in the exhibit hall is smart. Also, if you’re going to give out water bottles, make really cool ones, like Klick Health did! —>

3. The social media backchannel (Twitter) was quite active during the entire event, with good participation from folks who were not physically present. However, live audience participation was somewhat muted, and this is a matter of concern – part of it, I suspect, was due to the lighting (audience in darkness), but also, we’re simply not effectively incorporating audience interaction strategies. Passive listening joined to a few minutes of Q&A at the end of a talk is so 2005. We need to do better here.

Random thought: Do not put unreadable type on your slides and expect the audience to be OK with it. That transgression lights up the Twitterstream!

4. Sometimes panel discussions can be a bore, but we did have some good ones. Tuesday’s Driving Innovation panel, led by Paul Ivans joined by Peter Justason (Purdue), Joan Mikardos (Sanofi), Melissa Bojorquez (B-I), Joyce Ercolino (CSL Behring), Alison Woo (BMS), and Patricia Choumitsky (UCB) was lively and informative.

Random thought: Along with industry expertise, it’s always nice to have a sprinkling of speakers from outside the industry at any event. New perspectives are generally quite helpful!

5. For me, and I believe for many attendees, the two most striking talks were back-to-back on Wednesday – Sinan Aral took us to school on the topic of Social Networks, Viral Hype and Big Data – Distinguishing Hope from Hype with Science. This was followed by the personable and entertaining James Musick of Genentech with a session on Social Engagement & Brands, talking about a unique digital/social experiment they did exposing people to genetics. Great stuff.

Random thought: It’s always a good idea to have some presenters who know how to have a bit of fun, especially if accompanied with an accent – like John Pugh of Boehringer!

6. Mobile Day was a reinforcement of a message that still seems to be very slowly sinking in – mobile is the new normal, and we are woefully behind as an industry even in the most basic stuff like having mobile-ready public-facing websites. This is truly the low-hanging fruit for digital development in pharma. We had sessions underscoring the tensions between centralized site development (to deal with multiple mobile platforms) vs. platform-specific creativity, and the main message here is that all of these details are still quite in flux. But mobile/smartphones/tablets are going to predominate, and it was refreshing to hear at least one speaker advocate for the approach of developing for mobile FIRST, then worrying about a “desktop” version. In my opinion, that’s the only approach that makes any sense if we understand current trends correctly.

Random thought: Presenting to doctors via iPad is not necessarily intuitive – training is necessary (this is also true of facilitating virtual classrooms, etc. – don’t assume that the same skills carry over!)

7. I did lead one magical session/discussion on The Future of Digital/Social/Pharma/Life, encouraging people to skate to where the puck is going when it comes to our new world of People (24/7 human connectivity), Pockets (mobile), and Pipes (data streams from devices and information stores). I think that many are still not aware that networks of things, information, and people are rapidly converging; and that forces of disintermediation/new-intermediation are changing our culture wholesale in ways that will totally re-shape business.

Random thought: Photoshop can make any presenter into a plasma-tossing superhero!

Reconnecting with old long-standing friends (like Wendy Blackburn, Kerri Sparling, John Mack (OK, he’s old), Chris Truelove, Zoe Dunn, Carly Kuper, and Jay Bryant is always a highlight of this conference; as is the opportunity to make new connections. I always look forward to this event and may even venture out to the West Coast next year for Digital Pharma West. Philadelphia is OK and all, but San Francisco + Digital stuff? C’mon…

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Impactiviti is the Pharmaceutical Connection Agency. As the eHarmony of sales/training/marketing, we help our pharma/biotech clients find optimal outsource vendors through our unique trusted referral network. Need something? Ask Steve.

Learn more about us here.

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At the upcoming SPBT (Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers) Conference, I’ll be delivering a workshop on Building Your Own Professional Network (Workshop Period 1, Tuesday morning).

In Part 1 of this brief series, we looked at the fact that personal/professional networks outlast your role in any particular company. In Part 2, we considered the massive multiplying factor that comes from having a quality network.

Today, let’s consider this fundamental perspective about networking: The Gold is Everywhere.

Gold (valuable information, resources, connections, insight, new opportunities) is scattered throughout every room of people, every company, every organization, and every digitally-enabled network. And in order to mine that gold, we need a strategic approach to connectedness that will enable us to listen, learn, speak, and evolve. Think of your job on two levels: the responsibilities given you by your current employer; and your personal and professional responsibility to build quality relationships. Gathering gold.

Do you actually believe this? A long-term approach to building a professional opportunity network is fueled by this perspective. It becomes part of your DNA.

Social media is predicated on the notion that more connections with more people communicating with less friction will create more value – because the rich ore is distributed, not centralized.

The gold is scattered out there everywhere, not just within our department and company. And the individuals that have the humility, wisdom, and foresight to build a people-network approach to professional growth will mine more of it than others that cling to outmoded notions of some kind of corporate safety net.

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Impactiviti is the Pharmaceutical Connection Agency. As the eHarmony of sales/training/marketing, we help our pharma/biotech clients find optimal outsource vendors for training, eMarketing, social media, and more.

Learn more about us here.

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At the upcoming SPBT (Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers) Conference, I’ll be delivering a workshop on Building Your Own Professional Network.

Why is this topic – this practice, this lifestyle – so important?

Here’s one reason – a network is more enduring than a company or a job.

We’d all like to believe that our current employer will be around forever, on a perpetual growth vector, and that unlimited opportunities will always be before us on the climb up the ladder.

I have two words for that: Santa Claus.

If I’ve seen nothing else over the last 25 years, it’s that companies rise and fall, jobs appear and disappear, and industries are disrupted at an accelerated pace. When a market dries up or a pink slip appears, who do you have to turn to?

Your network.

Many people wait until they are in trouble before suddenly scrambling to build connections (we’ve all seen that pattern on LinkedIn, right?). But that’s the wrong time. The right time to build your professional network is 5 years ago, and the second best time is right now. You want to have an opportunity network of great quality people in place long before you need them.

You need to build your network because you cannot rely on companies or markets to take care of you. People help people they know and like. And those relationships develop with conscious, pro-active effort over time. Seek out, meet with, take an interest in other people. Help them achieve their goals. You don’t even have to be an extrovert to network effectively (I’m not – my native tendency is definitely toward introversion). You just have to be intentional.

There is no Santa Claus. But you have a wide open opportunity to build rewarding, long-term relationships with people. Don’t pass it up in favor of putting milk and cookies by the fireplace.

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Impactiviti is the Pharmaceutical Connection Agency. As the eHarmony of sales/training/marketing, we help our pharma/biotech clients find optimal outsource vendors for training, eMarketing, social media, and more.

Learn more about us here.

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Over the past several years, the pharmaceutical industry as a whole has been wrestling with the whole complex issue of what to do about social media.

Is it a blessing or a threat? Get involved or stay on the sidelines? What is allowed or what is not?

Let’s step back for a moment and ask a far more fundamental question: Why should we even care? Do we need to become a social business? (the term “social business” is now on the ascendancy, to describe a company that embraces the use of connected people networks on every level to evolve the business).

Here’s why: the idea of social media in business is founded on a very important premise: The Gold is Everywhere.

Gold (valuable information, resources, connections, insight, new opportunities) is in our customers (patients and HCPs). Gold is in all of our employees. Gold is in our partners and distribution chains. Gold is spread out all over the marketplace. And in order to mine that gold, we need a technology-fueled approach to connectedness that will enable us to listen, learn, speak, and evolve. Highly recommended: this brief by SideraWorks on Social Business (be sure to download the .pdf).

We have some very valuable gold in our pipelines and patents and products – true. But when there is a field full of scattered gold all around us, is it wise to put on the blinders and impoverish ourselves? Particularly when all those people across the marketplace are shaping the future of healthcare?

So, let’s return to the premise: Gold is everywhere.

Does your pharmaceutical company leadership actually believe this? Is this perspective settling into the DNA of the organization? Because if it is not, then social media is just one more channel for us to push our message, and advance our agenda.

We have the gold (products), and we want your gold (money, loyal usage) in return. The commercial transaction mentality will only see social networks as a short-term means to an end. Sales.

Of course, we’re all in business to make money, and no company survives long without making profitable commercial transactions. But for pharmaceutical companies to begin to evolve into true social businesses – that is, to compete in the “new normal” world – there is a core perspective that needs to be embraced at the highest level (and this entire principle extends way beyond pharma, to every type of business).

Social media is predicated on the notion that more connections with more people communicating with less friction will create more value – because the rich ore is distributed, not centralized.

The gold is scattered out there everywhere, not just within our labs and corner offices. And the company that has the humility, wisdom, and foresight to build a people-network approach to communication and growth will mine more of it than others that cling to the past.

_________

Impactiviti is the Pharmaceutical Connection Agency. As the eHarmony of sales/training/marketing, we help our pharma/biotech clients find optimal outsource vendors for training, eMarketing, social media, and more.

Learn more about us here.

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Last week, I had the privilege of once again attending the Digital Pharma East conference (put on by my friends at ExL Pharma). I have attended most or all of these annual events in past years, and have enjoyed watching it grow and morph. Grow it has – this time there were about 600 attendees, and a very full exhibit hall! Kudos to the team (Bryon Main, Jason Youner, Jayson Mercado) and  the two co-chairs (Marc Monseau and Shwen Gwee) for an exceptional job organizing and running the show.

When covering these events, I tend to give immediate, real-time impressions and factoids via my @Impactiviti twitter account, then after a few days reflection, write up a blog post giving higher-level observations and thoughts. This post is that!

1. The Mobile Bandwagon – The exhibit hall was filled with companies showing off mobile tech, and one entire extra conference day was dedicated to mobile. As well it should be – mobile is rapidly becoming the new normal. Frighteningly, we saw plenty of statistics showing how woefully behind the 8-ball many pharma (and other) companies are in having even their basic web sites mobile-optimized – let alone having a well-thought out mobile strategy. The awareness that mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) are rapidly moving into first-screen status simply has not sunk into the place where practical implementation is being done. That will change!! (note to pharma clients and vendors – this is the lowest-hanging fruit imaginable).

2. Mobile is huge – The adoption rate of mobile devices among doctors (especially iPhones and iPads) is breathtaking. These devices are being integrated increasingly into the healthcare delivery chain. Pharma companies are (or should be) looking for ways to add value and provide service outside of merely peddling drugs. Get some innovative thinkers working on mobile approaches – not mere e-detailing or e-signature apps, but whole new ways of providing information and connectivity among patients, healthcare professionals, and industry. This will happen and is happening via mobile – be part of it or be left out of the equation (hint: you don’t want to do that).

3. Compliance and mobile – Not only is mobile-optimization a far easier task to tackle than thorny culture-shift issues like social media, but it may even become a regulatory issue. Did you know that information optimized for a standard website may not show up properly on a mobile device? It’s not hard to foresee a time in the near future when digital information presentation has to be vetted for fair balance, accuracy, etc. across platforms.

4. Sales forces are going to go mobile. And, most exciting to me, I’ve been in contact with a company that reached out to me after I wrote this post in August about having an intelligent “middle layer” engine to make sense of iPad apps/deployments in pharma. They showed me last week what they’ve developed, and I am very encouraged…if you’re looking at deploying iPads to the field, we should talk! Maybe we can keep you from the iPad “freaking mess” I described in that post…

OK, have I made my point? MOBILE IS HUGE! Now, we did discuss many other digital initiatives at the conference, including social media and the like, but I really want to highlight the lowest-hanging fruit that will have the most near-term impact. And that’s mobile. Mobile is not simply “another channel.” It’s the new normal.

Now, onto two other observations – categorize these under “soapbox ramblings”:

- A lot of folks still don’t effectively engage the audience when presenting. We really need to improve. Please read this post and apply as needed. I know we can do better. Some of the presenters, however, were outstanding (including Olivier Zitoun, Aaron Blackledge, and Seth Perlman – I’m sure there were others but I couldn’t be in every track!)

- As these conferences get larger, it’s increasingly difficult to foster an environment of open sharing and discussion. I did lead one “unconference” session, which was quite lively (and could have gone on for much longer – we were just getting warmed up!). Over the past 18 months, I fear that we’re starting to slip back in our more cutting-edge pharma events into the old default mode of up-front presenter and passive audience. We’ve got to pro-actively design sessions to maximize engagement way beyond the old, “I think we have 5 minutes left for questions…” mode.

Oh, and for those who care about such things: Shwen Gwee and I finally found our Texas-style BBQ “home” in Philly. It’s called Percy Street BBQ. Highly recommended!

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Impactiviti is the Pharmaceutical Connection Agency. As the eHarmony of sales/training/marketing, we help our pharma/biotech clients find optimal outsource vendors for training, eMarketing, social media, and more.

Learn more about us here.

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Sign up for the Impactiviti Connection weekly e-newsletter (see sample), chock full of news and resources for pharmaceutical professionals

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I go to pharma-centric conferences and as we discuss social media, the question generally is, “How can we do social media and not get into trouble?”

I spend time with e-patients and the question is, “How can we change the world?”

Big difference.

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Impactiviti is the Pharmaceutical Connection Agency. As the eHarmony of sales/training/marketing, we help our pharma/biotech clients find optimal outsource vendors for training, eMarketing, social media, and more.

Learn more about our free services here

_________

Sign up for the Impactiviti Connection weekly e-newsletter (see sample), chock full of news and resources for pharmaceutical professionals

Read Full Post »

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