Is John Mack Right? Are Pharma Digerati the 1%?

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By Sven Larsen (@svenplarsen)

John Mack has a great post today where he compares Pharma’s digital leader’s to Ron Paul. And if that comparison doesn’t make you uncomfortable, the rest of his post will.

John points out the lack of senior Pharma Marketing executives at this week’s e-Pharma conference and wonders if those pushing for digital marketing are a kind of “reverse elite”, big on knowledge but short on influence (at least when it comes to marketing spends). If John’s supposition is true then it’s no surprise that Pharma continues to lag behind other categories when it comes to digital. And it’s hard not to believe that he’s on to something. In an age where everyone from Pepsi to Ford has launched major digital initiative, often at the expense of traditional marketing spends like Superbowl advertising, it’s hard to point to one major initiative in our industry. I also recall my colleague Dan Licht asking the audience at last year’s ePatient Connections if they read PSFK (an innovation blog that receives millions of visitors each month). Jon Richman was one of the few to raise his hand, Are we really that sheltered and siloed an industry?

I don’t know the answer to that question. But I do know that I would like to see more senior execs attend not only conferences like ePharma but also non-industry events like SXSW and Fast Company’s Innovation conferences.

What’s holding senior management back? Budgets? Lack of interest or belief in new technologies? Fear or embarassment?

How would you get your boss to attend a digital conference? How do we break free from being the 1%?

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