When crafting our fall conference, DTC Perspectives took a deep look into the digital DTC marketing space. As if the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t face enough challenges, marketers have the added task of making sure they reach consumers both now and in the future. Brands must be nimble enough to evolve with the continually changing environments. Presently, there is an obvious gap between what pharma is currently doing in the digital and social arena and what consumers want and expect from a brand. So how can that gap be bridged?
Enter the eDTC Revolution. Our forward-thinking faculty convened in early fall to discuss best practices for pushing our industry forward to better engage and support consumers today, tomorrow and in the future. Over the next three days, we will post commentaries from three digital key opinion leaders – Leigh Householder of GSW Worldwide’s innovation lab, iQ; Wendy Blackburn of Intouch Solutions; and Buddy Scalera of Ogilvy CommonHealth Interactive Marketing, a part of Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide. They will each share their perspective on the event as well as some of the key take aways they learned during the concentrated and interactive two-day eDTC Revolution Conference.
THE EXPERIENCE GAP
By Leigh Householder
If there’s one super fact that every single person at eDTC took note of, it was this: there are 6.8 billion people on the planet. 4 billion of them own a mobile phone; only 3.5 billion own a toothbrush. (Jamie Turner, 60 Second Marketing)
That technology trajectory was part of a larger theme that emerged throughout the conference: there’s still a gap. A big gaping one, between what we could be doing and what we actually do.
The consumer tools and technologies people spend time with have changed their expectations for brands. Those tools are becoming more diverse and interactive every year. Gaming and multi-screen entertainment have taken over living rooms, mobile search has started filling in the blanks in everyday conversations, and augmented reality (like Yelp) has added an information layer to our physical surroundings. People increasingly expect brands to create value on these new platforms – to be native in the places we now spend time.
This change is happening so quickly that it’s changing the very idea of normal. Historically, a big technology innovation has been followed by a period of stabilization – when everyone had a chance to catch up and integrate the new tools. Today, change is happening so fast, we live in a state of constant disruption – with new technologies and tools emerging so quickly that almost no one can try much less adopt them all. Instead, we use what matters most to us.
The mobile panel told us that the best way to look at these trends isn’t trying to understand every device, it’s figuring out to create value across these new platforms. Our goal shouldn’t necessarily be to be the newest or most cutting edge, but instead to create something that meets an unmet need or does something better than everything else. We want to create marketing people can use not just consume.
Some brands like Pfizer are using OTC marketing as a testing ground for future pharma-friendly solutions. Their consumer marketing and engagement leads showed us a few examples, including a collaboration with WebMD to help people decode all of the marketing and claims around vitamins and a mobile-optimized tool that helps people find the right product for every cough and sniffle.
All of this change in expectations couldn’t be happening at a better time because it’s not only evolving expectations for experience, it’s evolving expectations for self-knowledge. Several eDTC Revolution panelists pointed to growing demand for remote monitoring tools and quantified self-devices. Those could be game-changing for our industry as we enter a post-blockbuster marketplace because while a pill is one way to change an outcome, pill connected to a system designed to promote adherence can do so much more.
Leigh Householder was a keynote presenter at the eDTC Revolution Conference. She currently serves at the VP, Managing Director of iQ, the innovation lab of GSW Worldwide. Leigh is a digital strategist at GSW Worldwide and managing director of iQ, the agency’s innovation lab dedicated to how technology advances can benefit the future of healthcare marketing. Follow her on Twitter @LeighHouse, check out her on-site interview with Mike Spitz of Pixels and Pills, and read some of her other commentaries on WhatsYourDigitaliQ.com, as she also live-blogged during the eDTC Revolution Conference.