As I looked through his list, I kept wanting to him really get into a discussion about social strategies rather than tactics. I wanted to see him challenge pharma use these tools to achieve concrete business objectives such as:
-Improving corporate or brand reputation
-Gaining greater competitive insights
-Forging deeper and more fruitful customer relationships
-Powering and improving research and development efforts
In my mind, these are some of the key things companies should be looking to achieve when they decide to integrate social into their marketing and communications mix. In general, most people tend to focus on specific technologies or tools rather than high-level business strategy. Richman has operated at a much higher strategic level in the past so I was disappointed to see he didn’t do so in this blog post.
1. Develop solid social media monitoring policies and procedures that:
-Enable executives in marketing, analytics, competitive intelligence and research and development to:
**Understand unmet patient needs and (potentially) shift R&D efforts to take advantage of these learnings.
**Determine when “noise” about adverse events might merit a full-fledged clinical trial to determine the extent of the problem -- an initial step might be to adapt procedures used in call center management to social so that people feel comfortable looking for this information.
**Figure out when and how stakeholder responses to competitor or company-initiated marketing efforts should shape decisions about short-and long-term corporate or brand strategy.
2. Decide whether using a specific social technology is worth the effort – i.e., is it truly a good fit for the company? And, if the answer is yes, commit to building relationships with stakeholders using these tools over the long term rather than on a year-to-year basis.
3. Determine how and why social should be integrated with other digital and traditional marketing tools, including mobile, public relations, advertising and corporate communications.
4. Finally, if company leadership is truly interested in convincing management that social technologies are important, develop immersion programs designed to ensure they are familiar with and understand how and why these technologies are critical – for themselves, the company and key stakeholder groups.
I should say that I wouldn’t be writing this post if Richman hadn’t gotten my creative juices flowing. However, if we’re going to have a debate about whether and how pharma should be using social technologies, let’s get the strategic stuff right first rather than focusing on tactics or specific tools.