Kantar Health Blog

The power of social networking in pharma

by Lynnette Cooke | Sep 7, 2012
Lynnette Cooke

The benefit to staying connected to your colleagues—both current and past—is not a new one.  However, the evolution of social media has propelled networking to a whole different level.

Just as social media have become important in our personal relationships, it’s also become essential to a brand’s success and how patients view and interact with that brand. Think about some household brands and how their marketing mix is more diverse and complicated than it was just 10 years ago. How will marketing efforts for pharmaceutical products change in the next 10 years? Is it absurd to think that payers will start to monitor social media as part of their decision-making process? Will we assess health outcomes with a validated social media scale alongside quality-of-life metrics? Crazier things have been known to happen.  

We know that pharmaceutical companies must look at their corporate reputations, and social media will continue to play a part in shaping how they want to be perceived. So why not apply this same kind of thinking to treatment options? I know that many believe governing bodies will prohibit pharmaceutical companies from social media marketing activities. In fact, the guidelines the FDA issued late last year only seemed to confuse the issue and left the industry hesitant to jump into the social media pool until the FDA clarifies potential liability concerns. In the meantime, these same groups cannot play gatekeeper to all consumers and patients.

The power of connecting experiences within a disease area and across geographies has myriad benefits. I’m hopeful that we will be able to harness this information and understand disease management in a more authentic and accurate way than we were able to in the past. Today we are able to monitor the impact treatment is having on patients in a more holistic and expedient way. Because of this, we should know what kind of impression a healthcare product is leaving on a patient or caregiver in real time. Better yet, we can make swift decisions on how to modify existing marketing and promotional campaigns. The power of networking via social media is limitless.

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