We Are Not Alone

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By DJ Edgerton (@wiltonbound)

Pixels & Pills wrote about this topic back in early September, and I’ve seen the theme pop up at a lot of events and discussions recently, and all over the Web. One was Rohit Bhargavas post on 360 Digital Influence on “6 Marketing Lessons Pharma Can Learn From Other Industries.” The other was our own video interview with Citis Paul Butcher on the similarities between pharma and financial services. Together, they tell us: we are not alone. Certainly not as alone as we sometimes complain we are.

First, Rohit raises an excellent point. Too often, we think in an ivory-tower way, fancying that were unusual for having to deal with our strict governmental regulations, our conservative lawyers, our complex products. We are a unique group of people in this industry, certainly – but no, we are not the only ones with these challenges. There are many other groups facing the same issues: food services, financial services, legal services, energy, the military. Instead of moping about how we cant do what consumer-products or tech companies do, why arent we heading up a consortium with teams from these other tough industries? The “we cant because were Pharma reflex is an incredibly important issue that we, as an industry, need to move beyond before we can start really making things happen to the best of our ability.

Second, as Paul says, social is “quickly becoming embedded into the internal workings of organizations as well as into outward-facing customer interactions in his financial industry. The trick to making that happen is when social is not owned by, run by, or experienced by one department. The same way “Using The Internet isnt given to one team, neither should “Using Social Media be. In so many organizations, we see this a tug-of-war going on among the web-design team, the IT team, the marketing team, the public relations team. I get that its ground-breaking stuff, that its interesting, that it has the potential to make a huge difference. I get why you want to work on it. What I dont get it is why you need to own it. Social is only going to take off when its a seamless part of everything: when it becomes a natural consideration, not a special add-on. Just the way that we, as an industry, should be gathering with other regulated industries to talk about what we can do, if we care about making social media really work, we need to be gathering our inter-departmental teams together and figuring out how to get social into the fabric of our business.

We can have amazing ideas, we can do excellent work, and we can make a difference for patients, families and healthcare providers – but far too often we lose sight of that and end up with a few social media experts in each organization who spend time just talking to each other. We need to do more than just “get it. In fact, we need to be more than just evangelists preaching about how great this stuff could be. This phrase got popular a couple of years ago – we need to be true “community organizers. Its down to us to not just get people to agree with us, and not even just to give us a budget to do things, but to actually get involved and work with us.

Because no, were not alone.

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