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.
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