Today’s guest blog post is by Hans Wernke,Vice President, Digital Sales & Marketing, eMedFusion (a Division of KnowledgePoint360 Group). Hans is an experienced marketer and business development leader, with a strong focus on quality and innovation. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in education from Hogeschool Holland in Amsterdam, Hans worked for more than 8 years in training and development, with responsibilities for designing and delivering training programs in the areas of sales, coaching, and situational leadership. At eMedFusion, Hans partners with pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies to help them optimize their communication with healthcare professionals through a broad range of strategic and tactical digital healthcare solutions.
By Hans Wernke (@hwernke)
Let me start by stating the obvious the HCPs and patients are online. While the data points may differ slightly from one study to the other, it is by now a well-established fact that our target audiences increasingly utilize the Internet to seek information on treatment options, to find kindred spirits among peers or fellow patients, and to participate in online discussions relating to a host of topics. Oh, and before I forget, the HCPs are a mobile-savvy crowd. With that discussion behind us, let me share some thoughts on how this impacts all of us in the biopharmaceutical industry.
To a certain degree, the train has left the station; but the tracks are still being laid, and we are not sure where this line will end (apologies for the clumsy metaphor). Drug and device manufacturers are determining what role they can and should play in this space, and how they can become part of the online discussion. In the end, the unsatisfying answer is that it depends. It depends on each brands objectives, its life-cycle position, the target audiences, the specific therapeutic area, and the companys appetite for exploring the boundaries of what may or may not be permissible. No matter how interesting some of the available channels appear, maybe your brand does not need a Facebook page or Twitter feed. Perhaps the best way to engage your audiences is through more “traditional digital solutions. Whatever approach fits best, the last thing anyone would want to do is to jump right in without clear objectives, well-defined metrics, guidance from the target audiences, and a strong plan.
To address this concern, the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry has successfully used a process called OASIS, a nifty acronym that stands for Objectives, Audiences, Strategy, Implementation, and Sustainability. Essentially, what the OASIS process does is provide a road map: a clear plan to achieve success in the digital marketing channel. Viewed individually, each of the OASIS steps seems painfully obvious (“I have to set objectives¢‚Ç¨¬¶? Really?); but taken together, they provide great clarity about the best way to achieve success. While I fully appreciate that FMCG has a distinctly different set of considerations, the OASIS process does provide a great foundation for the development of a plan a path to digital success. To make this process match the unique challenges and opportunities of the biopharmaceutical industry, the eMedFusion team has made some minor modifications to the OASIS process and renamed it e-Path. The fundamentals are the same, but the approach is now specifically focused on our industry.
Success in the digital healthcare space relies on ones ability to strike a healthy balance between innovation and exploration, and common-sense marketing. As is the case with any plan or activity across the marketing spectrum, the key questions we should at all times be able to answer are the following: What does “Good look like? How does this plan help me get there? How do I know whether I have met my objectives? If the answers to these questions are not clear, this may be a good time to take a step back and reconsider your approach. Perhaps e-Path might be the right tool to help you challenge your assumptions, and to ensure you build the right path to Digital Success.