A blog exploring pharmaceutical relationship marketing, emarketing and innovation with a focus on rare disorders.
The convergence of rare disease, digital communications, and pharmaceutical marketing communications

Is Innovation a Dirty Word in Pharma Marketing?

Posted by | 3:54pm on Monday, June 21, 2010
Guggenheim Bilboa

The challenge with innovation is to not get distracted by what’s shiny and new 

Innovation. What a loaded word. And a bit intimidating. But according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary all it means is “the introduction of something new.” It’s in my title (Director of Search & Innovation) and for me it’s about paying attention to what’s new and different in pharma, rare disorders and online. It means being open to explore different ideas and adapt them to the unique situation of our clients.

Oooh, it’s a Shiny Object
The challenge with innovation is to not get distracted by what’s shiny and new at the cost of losing sight of the marketing basics. Social media is particularly appealing because everyone is talking about it and it’s “free.” As I’ve written before, social media is a tactic, NOT a strategy. The same goes for mobile and video. It’s important to stay focused on the tools that support the brand strategy. And it’s important to remember that successful strategies build trusted relationships by offering information, help and support the audience truly needs.

Begin at the Beginning
What’s key for online marketing is a solid foundation. For most brands, that means a website with strong content that is regularly updated and optimized for organic search, a strategic Paid Search campaign and customer relationship management program. Reiterating the importance of search, a recent survey found only doctors were more influential for those seeking health info.

Once this foundation is in place, then consider online innovation. Do you agree?

Thriving on Innovation
One of the wonderful things about working in the rare disorder space is that product marketers are open to innovation. These are unique brands and the marketers are trying to reach very small patient and targeted physician populations. They have to think differently because what works when marketing a cholesterol drug, for example, simply won’t work when marketing clotting factor replacement therapy to people with hemophilia. Just another reason it’s so rewarding to work with pharma companies who have rare disease therapies.

This post was contributed by Eileen O’Brien, Director of Search & Innovation for Siren Interactive. You can connect with her on Twitter at @eileenobrien.

(Image courtesy of hisgett on Flickr)

About Eileen O'Brien

Eileen has more than 16 years of digital healthcare marketing experience. She is an opinion leader on social media and biopharma, and has been invited to speak at industry conferences and quoted in publications.

View other posts from Eileen

4 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

  • http://pharmastrategyblog.com Sally Church

    Nice post, Eileen!

    In rare diseases, it is often (but not always) very much innovation in science that differentiates the great product from the also ran by dint of the novel mechanism of action.

    For a marketer in this space that can be Heaven or Hell depending on your perspective. For me, it’s very much the thing that makes it such a great area to work in, but I can see that many who came from mass market will be totally intimidated by that.

    Once patients and physicians get to understand why the new product works differently and (hopefully) better, you will be surprised how many will be searching on those terms, making SEO somewhat easier to distinguish the useful from the rubbish.

    Give me rare diseases or meaty science-based diseases like cancer any day!

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