5 digital marketing tips for your 2015 plan

Are you currently in the brand planning process? Are you starting to define your tactics for 2015? Now may be the time for laying out the path for digital success next year. In this article, I am sharing five tips on digital marketing that will help you improve your market situation, raise your profits and avoid the pitfalls for pharma when doing digital activities.

5 digital marketing tips for your 2015 plan

Tip No. 1: Do mappings of patient journeys

A patient journey is a map or a visual description of a patient’s path from being undiagnosed, getting the diagnosis, receiving treatment and so forth. When you map this path, you get valuable information about the mental as well as the physical state but also important knowledge about the patient’s interaction with digital media during this journey. That is the reason why patient journeys are vital in creating services that are valuable to your end customers. Especially in a crowded digital world where digital technology plays a huge part in the lives of the patients. You want to make sure you get it exactly right! Now is the time to get your patient journeys drawn up or plan this as step 1 in 2015. The creation process is valuable in itself but it can also help you build strong relations with HCPs and patient organizations.

Bonus tip: You might want to draw up HCP journeys as well, such as the daily life of a specialist doctor.

How to get started: Get some inspiration from some of the online guides such as User Journeys – The Beginner’s Guide

Tip No. 2: Say hello to your digital workforce

According to the Multichannel Barometer 2014 for pharma, the 4th biggest challenge for digital is the level of internal knowledge. According to the respondents, the level is simply not high enough (it might also explain why so many feel that they do not have a clear digital strategy). However many of you already have digital teams internally in the organization, either locally or globally. Why not bridge the digital divide between you and the digital natives? You can even involve generation Y colleagues if you do not have dedicated digital people around. And, if you really want to teach yourself, plan some time for Googling and sign-up for a couple of courses on digital marketing during autumn to be well-prepared for 2015.

Bonus tip: Get some inspiration on how to create digital knowledge inside your team from this short report made by Accenture.

Tip No. 3: Take digital close to your heart

Not even a strong digital initiative will be successful if separated from the rest of what you do. In addition your other marketing activities will not be as successful if you do not integrate with the digital channels. The keyword is channel integration, online marketing and to think digital first. For instance when you create content and provide information to your stakeholders. It is a good idea to re-think your approach to the digital activities right now and even more when you plan your marketing activities for 2015.

How to get started: Reach out for inspiration – why not join a number of digital webinars? Additionally a good start is to work closely together with your digital natives as early as possible in your planning phase.

Tip No. 4: Deliver services beyond the pill

In a busy marketplace, you may want to be a true differentiator. Not by telling a good story, but rather by delivering services that create significant value for your patients and HCPs. This is the opportunity to give life to the paradigm of patient-centricity. A number of the innovative pharma teams are already doing it as also stated by Joseph Jimenez, CEO at Novartis: “Beyond-the-pill is a logical and inevitable path forward for all”. It is still an area at a slow development pace. However, signals indicate that this is going to move fast by big players such as Apple, Google and Samsung. There is a trend of health devices and sensors becoming more consumer-oriented. Right now, there are many opportunities to be first-movers and benefit from network economics.

Bonus tip: Typical examples include patient support programmes, adherence tools and remote monitoring systems.

How to get started: First, you want to ensure you have the right idea and team. You may want to discuss your ideas with your digital natives and validate your idea/concept with the end users in mind (in this case mapping patient journeys is also valuable). As these projects tend to require larger investments, consider reaching out to global or other affiliates to create a strong program setup.

Tip No. 5: Start with the end in mind – agility and analytics

The successful pharma companies will not just continue trying out new digital initiatives. They will actually start doing ongoing measurements on how their initiatives are performing. They will kill their non-performing darlings and focus on the initiatives with a good ROI. Moreover, they will do this in an iteratively manner, much like the principles of Lean. At this point, you and your team become the learning organization. Terms like sprint, agile, burn down chart, scrum and war room will become familiar terms.

Bonus tip: Draw up a yearly digital wheel, where you month by month put digital marketing on the agenda with retrospective evaluation and agree on next Month’s activities.

How to get started: Try to involve an agile coach or project manager to guide you in the direction of adapting your brand planning execution process to the principles of agile. For the Analytics part, your internal digital marketing team may be able to help you, eventually with support from an Analytics consultant.

Good luck with planning your digital marketing for 2015!

Andreas Dam, CEO


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