Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Where are my filters?

Using social networks to “filter” the information and connect with the “Experts”.
Great podcast from Knowledge@Wharton ( “Emerging Technologies, Part 3: New Tools for a Collaborative Environment
A talk with Doctor Guido Jouret from Cisco discussing how the technologies such as social networking and mobile, driven by consumers’ adoption, are migrating to enterprises. These technologies are being tested and are being slowly rolled out by large enterprises as young(er) professionals join the workforce and expect the use of these technologies as an entire and critical part of how they function and perform their work. Facebook applications and wiki apps (which are already used in some companies) will help enhance knowledge sharing, searching and development.
One comment of Dc. Jouret correlates very well with how marketer should look at social media and describe how we are (or will be) using our social networks to distinguish the information we are willing to consider. While there is so much information out there and so little time, we are using our social networks to filter the content and connecting with the experts (based on the trust we place in them) to distillate the content to us. Indeed, here lie the benefits of the social network. My recent e-pharma twitter buddies channel to me all day long thoughts, references to content and information that are relevant to my interests in social media and pharma. These are my chosen experts…Big thanks to my filters!

Monday, February 23, 2009

About Content Ownership/Liability and Social Media in Pharma

A post by Josh Stylman on the ad-age blog (“Facebook Serves as Own Example of How Web Bites Back: What Happens When You Post Something Without Thinking It Through”) takes an interesting look at content published online its ownership and its lifecycle. (I strongly recommend reading it).

In a nutshell Josh makes the point that it’ much easier to put content online than it is (if it ever is) to remove it. He judiciously points out that once online, content might actually be there forever and brings up the concept of companies and individuals’ digital footprint.

This “digital footprint” is most likely a major concern for any pharma company considering Social Media, and could prevent any meaningful engagement in this space. While a lot of debating is around Adverse Effect (AE) reporting, I strongly believe that AE can be overcome with education and putting some guidelines around it. I can even envision these guidelines being established industry wide under the umbrella of an organization such as PhRMA.

The digital footprint of marketing content however, and most specifically the online marketing claims footprint of a pharmaceutical company (or anyone acting on behalf of) are a more pervasive problem and one that implicates a company’s aptitude to deal with the risk of spontaneity impulsiveness and to a certain degree authenticity in social media. As Steve Woodruff wisely pointed out at e-pharma and in this post "social media salsa meets pharma waltz", success in social media relies on authenticity, exchange (2 way communication), transparency and finally immediacy. Combine this immediacy (interact now with spontaneity) with responsibility (i.e. who is liable for the content regardless of where it resides) and content ownership/perpetuity (can I take it down at the FDA’s request?) and you’ll understand why pharma is proceeding with caution. Indeed, in a world where content has been reviewed, and approved only after many iterations and hours of discussion, it is hard to envision the empowerment & delegation needed to implement meaningful and rapid dialogue on a large enough scale to have an impact.
Marketers in pharma are facing the challenge to balance the output of well thought, proofed (and I mean legal) and relevant content in a timely manner. Finding that balance will be critical but no easy task.


Friday, February 20, 2009

The flip side of the iceberg

We all know (at least most of us do) the iceberg view of the dissatisfied consumer (basically and in broad terms, for every consumer that voices dissatisfaction to a given company, there are even more dissatisfied consumers who will not contact the given company and will talk negatively about the given company to their friends).
One obvious benefits of monitoring social media and engaging in social media is for marketers to react quickly and provide a response to anyone who broadcast their issue with a brand and thus in a best case scenario giving marketers a shot at turning these vocal entities into brand advocates...
and we pretty much all know this by now...
The flip side of this however is for marketers to understand and quantify how the positive experience is being voiced and the iceberg structure behind the positive advocacy and finally how it compares to the negative iceberg structure.
I heard at the e-pharma summit last week, that basically 60 to 70% of social network comments related to a brand are usually positive. That's a good start. But knowing the iceberg structure behind the positive voice is what we need to understand, that is: for every consumer that voices a positive experience, how many are saying something online? How many are not saying anything to their friends and how many friends are they? How does the brand advocacy iceberg compares to the consumer issue iceberg?