In the wet, early stages of Hurricane Joaquin (and the memes that came about as result), some of Makovsky Health headed to Philadelphia to soak up some knowledge (and avoid soaking ourselves) at Digital Pharma East.

Four full days of sessions means there was a ton of great content and many dynamic speakers, but there were three things that resonated most; what I’m calling the three C’s of the conference:

  1. Customer Service is not going away. In today’s digital age, the responsibility has become increasingly that of pharma companies to deliver above and beyond customer service. Healthcare providers are finding themselves with less and less time for patients and companies that have found ways to fill the gaps left in education, conversation and compassion as result are coming out on top. The care and treatment conversation is happening online more often than not and both HCPs and patients appreciate the extra attention paid by those marketers that deliver tools, resources and opportunities for connection. As UCB’s Greg Cohen said during his fireside chat, “if your customer service plan is not part of your marketing communications plan, you have failed as a marketer.
  2. Content Marketing is the modern day evolution of the conversion funnel. No longer do we live in a world of push messages that nudge people down toward buying behavior (we’ve know that for a while). Engagement with our end users is what is required today and this is successfully achieved through content marketing; content is currency and everyone likes being rich. But generic content marketing won’t cut it. We need to remember that innovation comes from taking risks. The Medicines Company’s Buddy Scalera explained, we all need to adopt “Challenge Thinking” (a.k.a. thinking like Christopher Columbus, setting out for the edge of the world) to find the next content “big thing” that our stakeholders will salivate over. Content is both currency and brand reputation juju; give people what they want and they’ll love you for it.
  3. Calculus is out; recommendations are in. (Bear with me, I needed a third C). According to Peter Shankman, the marketers who rely on numbers to demonstrate the value of campaigns will be out of a job by 2017. Numbers are great for counting jelly beans but companies are making no money on likes, favorites and followers. Recommendations are what we should be chasing. What our friends and trusted others like and do and buy has a direct impact on our behavior. And how do companies (yes, even pharma companies) get recommendations? Be recommendation-worthy. As Shankman suggests, “stop chasing like and start doing things that are likable.”

Thanks to everyone who came out to share their expertise and insight as part of panels, fireside chats and presentations, and special thanks to those who came to my presentation and participated as audience members with smart, thoughtful and interesting questions. I’m looking forward to taking some of these lessons and applying them to our Q4 campaigns and beyond!

Alexandra Peterson, Senior Vice President, Health Practice Leader, Makovsky Health

thought leadership


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