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Past Meetings

March 25, 2014

Is Digital and Social Media “the Fix” for Your Marketing Mix?
The evolution from tactic to strategy in the Canadian pharmaceutical industry

This month’s meeting drew a full crowd due to its popular topic of interest. Three different speakers provided their thoughts on digital marketing.

The first speaker was Martin Husar of Marketing Media Solutions with Sanofi, and his talk was entitled “Marketing Media and Your Brand’s Recipe for Success”. Martin began by saying that, for some, the thought of integrating digital into their marketing mix sounds like a “mission impossible”. Many are unsure of what strategy to follow in order to integrate it effectively.

He went on to describe the different types of marketing media: paid, owned and earned. Traditional paid media (e.g., TV ads, print, radio) still exists, but the online space has added other dimensions. The online space has also changed earned media, making it an area where stakeholders and customers can create media. Digital media has created a shift in the interconnectivity between paid, owned and earned media and social media has now become the “plumbing” connecting them. Paid media is now broadcast to the public and is picked up by social media, on or offline, and results in customer prospects. These “prospects” will visit owned media and engage with it, which may generate social media action.

Martin then reviewed “Marketing 101” with the 4 Ps: product, price, place and promotion. He said that this model worked, because consumers were fragmented and voiceless. However, with the advent of the digital age, consumers now have more power and voice, so “people” has become the 5th P. Companies are now challenged with the 4 Cs: content, community, communications and care. This has driven brands to produce and executive new digital content like never before. This content brings customers/patients together to form digital communities that share and critique products online. Because of this new content and consumer activity, companies are forced to augment their customer care efforts, because bad customer care can spiral into a nightmare overnight.

Digital media has altered the landscape, creating a matrix of online and offline activities. Martin pointed out that it’s critical to understand the interaction and integration of these elements. He said that the recipe for each company or brand will be unique with its own balance. When building a marketing strategy, he advised that companies should develop, deploy, measure and improve. The impact of digital marketing can be measured and companies should take advantage of this to determine strategy success. One of his final pieces of advice was to make social marketing memorable – if a company or brand doesn’t have memorable social marketing, there will be no return on investment.

Brad Einarsen, Director of Digital Insight at Klick Health was the second speaker about “The New Normal: Digital, Social Media and Healthcare”. Brad began with some Canadian statistics, such as, 83% of Canadians are online and of those, 99.6% go online every day. Interestingly, 49% of Canadians prefer internet domains that end in “.ca” vs 17% for “.com” and 75% of Canadians who have cell phones have smart phones.

He said that when Canadians are looking up health information online, they do it 65% of the time on their desktop computer and 35% on their mobile device. However, in some health areas, such as HIV and multiple sclerosis, 40% of patients said that they depend on their phones to manage their disease.

Brad pointed out that we live in a “multi-screen” world with our desktops, phone, and tablets. People use the internet more than they watch TV. And because of its popularity, social media marketing is at the top of the digital marketing food chain. Social media channels allow for marketing and advertising and “if you don’t get the word out on them, nothing will happen.”

Brad also spoke about the importance of “social listening”; meaning that companies should be listening to social media conversations and tap into the ones important and relevant for their business. By listening, companies can determine what drives consumer behaviour, which can help to develop strategies and messaging.

Brad briefly touched on the benefits of search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), display ads and native advertising. He finished with a final piece of advice, which was that companies should analyze their digital marketing data and customize messages based on the data feedback. “Your data is your audience and make sure you look at it. Don’t waste any data.”

The last presenter was Jennifer Carroll, a reviewer and trainer for the Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board (PAAB), who presented “PAAB’s 3 Ls of Social Marketing in Canada”. Jennifer explained that the 3 Ls were very easy to remember: localization, localization, localization. Her first point was to know local regulations, which in Canada means the PAAB code. Jennifer led the audience through a brief overview of the major changes to the PAAB code which came into effect on July 1, 2013. She also pointed out that one of the code changes was to include a digital media section.

Her second point was gating access, meaning that any company digital creation is the company’s responsibility. Acceptable gating for patients is a product DIN, and for healthcare professionals, a password or professional license number is acceptable. Health Canada has recently made a ruling that a branded landing page can’t provide a link to a corporate website, because it creates direct link between a product and its use, as product monographs are available on corporate sites.

Jennifer’s last topic focused on the digital marketing regulation similarities and differences between Canada and the US. The similarities are that sponsors are responsible for content on their sites, sites may require monitoring, promotion of online content must be submitted for review (i.e., SEO, key words, etc.) and sponsor involvement must be disclosed on all web pages. Her main take-home message on differences was that Canada has guidelines made by self-regulation (i.e., PAAB), whereas the US only has guidance from the FDA.

The evening concluded with a lively Q&A session.

Click here to view Martin Husar’s presentation on “Marketing Media and Your Brand’s Recipe for Success”.

Click here to view Jennifer Carroll’s presentation on “PAAB’s 3 Ls of Social Marketing in Canada”.

Lara Holmes
Medical Writer
Cell: 514-425-4977


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Supporting Care Partners

Virtual Meeting
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Online only!

Tel: (514) 486-3458
Fax: (514) 486-4794

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