Where Are Pharmaceutical Companies Going Wrong in Digital Marketing?
When it comes to marketing and promoting pharmaceutical products there has always been some hesitancy. Certain restraints by the Food and Drug Administration have led pharmaceutical companies to hold back when it comes to the promotion of their products. This does not mean to say that pharmaceutical companies do not market or promote their medical drugs or services.
Larger pharmaceutical companies commonly have an in-house marketing department; whilst for smaller companies have medical communications agencies. Though pharmaceutical companies do market their products, a study conducted by IMS Health, ‘Engaging Patients through Social Media’ earlier this year stated that the ‘pharmaceutical industry has fallen behind other industries in terms of visuals and marketing messaging online including corporate websites, blogs and social media’. With patients and healthcare professionals using the Internet, specifically Social Media more and more to research medical drugs and services it is vital for pharmaceutical companies to embrace the world of social media (of course whilst adhering to the FDA’s guidelines).
Due to the guidelines set by the FDA, pharmaceutical companies have held back with delving in to digital marketing. This has given way for larger companies such as Johnson & Johnson to ‘dive in’ and be ranked at the top of the IMS Health Social Media Engagement Index released earlier this year. The Johnson & Johnson YouTube channel has 77 videos and over 11,000 subscribers. The three most popular videos on the channel have been viewed a total of 1.5 million between them. Sanofi, a global healthcare leader, has also proven that pharmaceutical companies can use YouTube effectively. Their YouTube channel includes a number of adverts that don’t specifically mention the names of the products but instead, give an overview of the business; thus working within the guidelines.
It is evident that there are ways in using social media successfully whilst complying with the FDA’s regulations. However, it is necessary to find digital marketers with both the innate knowledge and skills of digital communications whilst having an understanding of the regulations in place for the pharmaceutical sector. The combination of the two can lead to successful promotion of the pharmaceutical company and their campaigns.