By DJ Edgerton (@wiltonbound)
In his one short talk with Jennifer, John brought up three powerful points that we thought were worth a bit more discussion.
1. Half of Americans go online for health information.
2. The Internet is a new game for both the FDA and pharma companies.
John pointed out that the reason that this is a new game is that information on the Internet is by its own nature uncontrollable. It can be collected, it can be passed on, it can be rebroadcast – and it can be edited and commented upon in the process. This is entirely unlike other health information that pharma companies and the FDA are used to creating and regulating, respectively.
But his words set up the potential for a paradigm shift – moving from antagonistic to collaborative, from suspicious to exciting. This game is new, so the rules aren’t set in stone yet. It doesn’t have to be pharma companies versus the FDA. It’s new to both sides. It’s new to everyone. It’s just new.
If the marketers and the regulators work together, we can figure out how to get health information to consumers in a way that is both profitable and responsible. The reason this will work – the reason this must work – is John’s first point. Consumers are already going online for health information. If the drugmakers and the drug regulators don’t address that, that’s what is irresponsible.
3. Online health information does not stand alone.
Can we all please put to bed the notion that there is such a thing as a “social media campaign”? That’s like saying you’re going to run an “magazine ad campaign” or a “sales aid campaign” or a “press release campaign”. A campaign, by definition, is a series of actions toward a goal. (Thanks Google.) One tactic does not a campaign make.
The word that John hits on in his description is precise and accurate. He explains that social media can be “supportive”.
Social media activities are part of the communications mix. They can support the overall messaging. They can support “traditional” activities. They can support patients in their search for accurate information about their health. Social media activities can do all of this – if, that is, we create successful activities.
John, thanks for being so thought-provoking.