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HealthTap Launches ‘AppRx’ – Get App Recommendations From Real Doctors


Via VentureBeat

“AppRx is one of the most important releases in the mobile health revolution,” HealthTap CEO Ron Gutman told VentureBeat via email. “We manage our health and well-being around the clock, and when we need a way to help us engage in our well being … apps are the best engagement solution to complement any health and wellness plan. We see a huge potential in engaging doctors to help people choose the best health and wellness apps for them and integrate mobile apps into the process of providing real reliable and engaging care.”

Technical Difficulties

IT Unicorn Says Our System Is Hosed


When we upgraded our servers, the plug in for all the contact forms got hosed. If you’d like to get in touch with me, please send me a note at thisiswhereyoureachme [at] gmail [dot] com. I hope to have this resolved shortly.


Emerging Media in Healthcare and Pharma White Paper

After my recent post where I shared my white paper on “The Future of Digital Relationship Marketing in Pharma,” many of you inquired if I had any similar papers. You’re in luck. I have one that’s a different topic, but I think related.

This one is called: “Emerging Media in Healthcare and Pharma.”

Here’s a brief summary:

“There are a significant number of emerging media areas that will affect healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing campaigns in the future. Some will have an enormous positive impact on current marketing practices, while others will have devastating negative consequences on these same practices. The good news is that there are alternatives to the way many current campaigns are conducted that leverage the best in consumer understanding, interactive technologies, and solid marketing strategy (all while staying within DDMAC rules).”

I identified eight emerging media trends that about which I think every healthcare and pharma marketer should be aware:

  • Medical Social Networking: Beyond Facebook and MySpace, patients are now connecting with one another online and taking each other’s advice, sometimes over their physician’s advice.
  • Live and (Almost) in Person: YouTube is fine for delivering content, but it is instantly outdated. Consumers want to use video to interact with a real person to get the freshest information all from the comfort of their homes. This includes their doctors.
  • Secure Communications: People will begin to trust more of their confidential information online, but will expect that it be protected through constantly secure channels.
  • Micro-targeting: Targeting consumers has evolved dramatically in the past 10 years to the point where it is possible to find and communicate with a small group of brand supporters in a highly cost effective manner.
  • Instant, Dynamic Content: Online content must now immediately change based on user inputs. Providing the same content for everyone regardless of what they do on your site is a losing proposition.
  • Mobile Grows Up: Typically seen as a marketing platform that could only reach teenagers, older users are beginning to adopt some of the same habits as younger consumers, opening up a range of new promotional options.
  • Managing and Leading Word of Mouth: Tracking down everything that someone says about your brand was impossible without Internet-based technologies. Now brands are expected to track, and where appropriate, join in the conversations that people are having about them.
  • Print Goes Interactive: Print isn’t dead, but it needs to leverage interactive technologies to stay relevant and match consumer behaviors.

If you want more information on each of these trends, then you can download my full white paper on this topic: Emerging Media in Healthcare and Pharma  (1996 downloads)

As an added bonus, I want to share a copy of an article I had published in Pharmaceutical Executive last year called “Exercising Your Brand.” This paper outlines these rules healthcare marketers must follow to help ensure a successful digital program. I’ll share the link with you via DM on Twitter if you send this tweet about today’s post (PS: make sure you’re following me, so I can DM you). Deal?

If you want to be informed of any new white papers I publish, just fill out the form below. Your information will only be used for this purpose and will never be shared under any circumstance.

Note: Stay tuned for an updated version of this paper in the coming months. Emerging media changes quickly, so it’s difficult to stay current no matter how often you’re updating.

DFC: The New DTC

Mini White Paper

A recent blog post from marketing guru Seth Godin may have invented a totally new area of pharma marketing, DFC…Direct From Consumer. Not DTC. This is the exact opposite. Instead of you going “direct to consumer” imagine instead that they come direct to you. Sounds great, right? Before you get all excited let me tell you why they’re coming. Here’s how Seth set it up:

“If someone takes your medicine and gets sick, do you want to hear from them, or would you rather have them blog about it or make a video?”

I know the answer to this question. Seth actually gives pharma marketers more credit than what I might in answering his own question with: “Most drug company marketers instantly say, ‘we want to hear from them!’” For those of you out there that have talked to pharma marketers about any program involving feedback from consumers (e.g., any social media idea), you know that you are instantly greeted with the number one excuse for not soliciting feedback from consumers: adverse events. I’m, of course, not a big believer in this excuse and love to call this The Myth of Adverse Event Reporting. My post on the subject is actually the most read post on this blog, so there must be a few other people out there with a similar interest.

So, while I generally agree with Seth Godin on all things marketing, I take issue with the fact that any pharma marketer would say, “Yes, we want to hear from consumers when something bad happens.” However, I completely agree with him regarding the consequences should marketers choose to ignore consumers who have had bad experiences. More on that in a minute.

Of course, the ironic part about all of this discussion is that consumers are already telling the world what they think about your products. There are a bunch of websites designed specifically for this purpose. One that I’ve talked about before is called iGuard. iGuard has user ratings on thousands of drugs including aggregated stats and comments. I’m going to pick on Lipitor since it’s the largest selling drug in the world. You can view the profile for Lipitor on iGuard here (registration required).  Here are some of the overall ratings for Lipitor:

Lipitor on iGuard

I’m not sure if that overall rating is good or not, but it tells you that at least 21% of people think that Lipitor does more harm than good. That can’t be a good number. The verbatim comments are more interesting and are what pharma companies really need to pay attention to. Here are the two newest comments:

  • “I have been taking Lipator [sic] for about 3 months, 20mg a day, it has been great as far as lowering my blood,but my hands fall asleep every night and hurt, it wakes me up, I now have problems with my hands through out the day, I can hardly grasp items at times and they fall asleep. Is this a common side affect that is not published?”
  • “I am a 62 year old female who with out this I can not walk to shop or any thing in my home that took any being on a step stool or walking in my home [sic], now I can walk 8miles to do shopping, do the shopping & with a full 4 wheel personal cart walk back.”

Well, comment one doesn’t sound good and comment two makes it sound like it Lipitor is a miracle drug (while likely didn’t have this effect though). So, pharma marketers do you want either of these people calling you? If you answer “yes,” your actions say something different. In Seth’s words, “If you really want me to call you, then put your toll free number in giant type on the label. Answer the call on the first ring. No phone tree. And give me instant sympathy, maybe a little empathy too. Don’t blame me or evade. Give me a refund. And say sorry and thank you.”

Are you ready to do this? Zappos sells a lot of shoes and has intensely loyal customers by doing this. Why does your business have to be so different than shoes? At least, why does the customer service aspect have to be so different? If anything, shouldn’t the customer service for a health-related product be remarkably more in-depth, meaningful, and beneficial than that of a shoe distributor? 

Why don’t pharma marketers do this? Seth’s answer: ”Two reasons, apparently. First, they say, because it would encourage people to pretend they were angry in order to take advantage. And second, they say, because it would be too expensive. Compared to what?”

Consumers have unprecedented power to communicate their complaints to millions of people very quickly and very simply. Ten years ago this wasn’t a very simply task. Before social media took off and everyone was online, the best you could do was to write a letter to the editor and hope someone saw it. Now, you can write a blog post, start a “hate site,” tweet, write reviews, and a countless number of other things that will ensure your complaint is seen by thousands of people in a matter of minutes.

When consumers are looking for information about your drug, consider where they are going. Simply because you don’t include product reviews on your site (imagine that on a pharma brand site) or user comments, doesn’t mean people don’t want to read them. Here are the traffic patterns for iGuard and for the world’s biggest selling brand, supported by millions in DTC advertising and promotion:

Lipitor versus iGuard Traffic

Traffic to iGuard over the past 3 months more than doubled that of No promotion, no expensive DTC ads, just content that consumers find valuable. Granted, not everyone going to iGuard is looking for Lipitor, but it still makes the point. Your competiton isn’t just your direct competitor’s website, it’s everything else out there online.

If you really want to hear from consumers, it’s really easy to open the lines of communication. I can show you how in 15 minutes. If you really don’t want to hear from consumers, don’t pretend that you do and remember that they’re going to tell someone who’s going to listen. Then what are you going to do?