Could social marketing-a subject that pharma loves to talk about but hasn't been able to do much about-come to pass in 2014? Perhaps the new draft guidance from the FDA this past January paves the way for just that. At first glance, it's a fairly good clarification of how and where pharma can engage in a legally viable manner with interactive media and, in particular, real-time communications...a/k/a social marketing.
Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration provided a measure of relief for anxious agencies and pharmaceutical executives awaiting direction from the agency on how it would regulate drug firms' social media marketing and communications activities.
The forecasting model for the pharmaceutical industry is now useless, thanks to several changes over the last decade or so. Drug launches will remain, but the big, Viagra-style blockbusters and their predictable surges in demand are long gone.
Healthcare is transforming rapidly. While the fundamental premise hasn't changed over time - better health outcomes with a reduced financial burden - the breadth, relevance and availability of health and wellness data has made the goal much more achievable, at least theoretically. So there is good reason for major healthcare stakeholders to become enamored with the promise of Big Data.
In the wake of the Affordable Care Act, many hospitals have channeled the majority of their marketing efforts on consumers. Building brand presence with consumers is an important aspect of ensuring a patient chooses your hospital versus another with similar services and treatment options. However, don't rule out the physicians' role in driving consumers to your hospital. Physician referrals greatly influence a patient's decision to choose one hospital over another. Physician outreach should be a key part of a hospital's communication strategy.
In a world where a multidisciplinary care approach has become the system norm in holistically managing patient health, it may be time as a healthcare marketer to get a check-up on your own communications plan.