Transforming into a Digital Disruptor: Lessons Learned from #MMMSkillSets Live

By: Samantha Garcia, Senior Account Executive, and Rachael Schwartz, Vice President

EHR. Biopharma. Ethnographic data. Digital disruption. These pharmaceutical marketing terms buzzed around the room during the April 12th Medical Marketing and Media Magazine (MMM) Skill Set Live event in Philadelphia. The line-up of speakers included key industry leaders like Lisa Flaiz, Group Product Director at Janssen, David Stievater, Director at Epocrates Solutions Design and Athena Health, Dr. Theodore F. Search, Founder & CEO at Skipta, and Will Reese, President and CIO at Cadient.

Kicking things off, Flaiz spoke to the importance of taking a fresh approach to innovation, viewing tech as an enabler and not a strategy unto itself, and creating valuable digital experiences for patients and doctors. “Patients aren’t going to Google or Bing just at diagnosis,” she said. “They are using search throughout their entire journey and are no longer relying solely on their health care providers for information, guidance and support.” With the knowledge that patients are going on the internet in between doctor visits and beginning their (sometimes terrifying) search of the unknown, pharma marketers have the opportunity to make their relatable information discoverable, understandable and, most importantly, accessible with the help from search engine optimization (SEO). Interestingly enough, this area of “digital” is often overlooked – a missed opportunity to the pharma marketer. Major kudos to Lisa Flaiz for opening our digital eyes to techniques that can make or break a business plan and ways to differentiate those techniques from the crowded marketplace.

Epocrates Solutions Design’s David Stievater took the podium and drove home the importance of turning a challenge into an opportunity. Audience members were highly engaged as he explained that the key to success in digital healthcare revolves around the delicate balance of the present and the future – leveraging proven digital channels to reach and engage the full market audience in cost-effective ways, while testing new strategies with the use of digital health, electronic health records (EHR) platforms and health system partnerships. From the eyes of a PR professional whose clients consist of highly-regulated pharmaceutical companies, it was intriguing to hear Stievater’s take on today’s marketing challenges and how, as an industry, we need to do a better job of fostering and inspiring innovation.

Skipta’s Theodore Search provided the audience with some key insights around the importance of a holistic approach to mastering the power of social media – a tool we use quite often at Tonic Life Communications to help our clients expand their voice.

Will Reese of Cadient brought it all together for us when he honed in on interconnected strategies that marketers can use for transforming the digital healthcare experience. He spoke about the importance of drafting the customer experience – customer satisfaction needs to be brought into the development. Putting the patient/customer first and deeply understanding behavior during the stages of business planning and development is the key to success in this industry. Hats off to Reese for a great presentation, plus this awesome closing quote: “Never forget to ask ‘what if’ and ‘how,’ otherwise you’ll never know.”

So, do you feel prepared to transform into a digital disruptor? Share your thoughts with us here or on Twitter mentioning the handle @TonicLC.  Thanks to MM&M for hosting the event and inspiring rich dialogue around a topic near and dear to us at Tonic!