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Pharma: The Bright, Shiny, Digital Future

Faruk Capan

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As a boy, the vision of the future was what I saw in sci-fi movies, everything was chrome-plated and digital. It was a bright and shiny vision. And although I don’t see shiny metallic surfaces everywhere, I do see how our world has embraced digital. Yes, today’s world is definitely driven by technology.

But, there are many facets to a digital world. There are platforms, like social media and mobile, there is content, like apps and tweets, and there is data… lots and lots of data. And we, as pharma marketers, struggle with how all of this fits into our business model. We’re told that if we just use this one platform, or produce this one piece of content, or collect this particular piece of data, we will "know" our customer and magically become relevant to them. I think our future, pharma’s future, is much bigger, and, frankly, much brighter.

We know that our customers, whether they are patients, caregivers, payers or healthcare professionals, are more savvy and empowered today than ever in our history. They are using technology to wring every last drop of relevant information from the world around them. They expect the companies they choose to interact with to put them first and provide value. They expect complimentary services and tools that expand the customer experience beyond the products. They expect unprecedented access to the company and its employees. They expect honest information and help exactly when they need it.

Yes, social media, mobile and big data will help us in attaining a future where pharma companies are seen as more than simply the manufacturers of treatments. And we are already seeing some companies utilize these platforms. Sanofi U.S. Diabetes is a great example of a digitally driven franchise. With applications like GoMeals and a strong presence within the diabetes online community, Sanofi is showing exactly how digital can be used to provide value to their customers and become a relevant participant in healthcare.

Granted, no single company has found the magic strategy that combines digital and traditional marketing to create the optimum customer experience while maximizing return on investment. But digital is bringing us much closer, and offering us a distinct possibility to change pharma’s reputation in the process. It is our goal at Intouch to collaborate with our partners, and the pharma industry as a whole, working toward this goal.

See the full 2013 Med Ad News profile on Faruk and Intouch Solutions.

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