Recently, we sponsored and spoke at the Pharma Social Media Conference in London, 28 June 2017.

The conference programme consisted of an exciting day of presentations by high level executives from companies such as GE Healthcare, Roche, Bristol-Myers Squib and Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Rebecca Joslin, Senior Director, Global Digital Engagement Strategy Lead, Shire, summed it up neatly: “Social media is a trust economy”. This sentiment really resonated with the audience.

As did “Reach you buy, engagement and loyalty you earn” from Jannick Friss Larsen, Senior Manager, Customer Experience, Europe, Teva Pharmaceuticals.

A recurring theme throughout the conference was that online users’ expectations have changed. No longer judged by just the most recent interaction with a pharma brand, the customer experience needs to be as good as any found online in the consumer world. As our Commercial Director, Andy Stafford said in his presentation: Put the user at the heart of your digital marketing activities. Research → Test →  Improve → Analyse → Repeat.

There was a general consensus that the starting point should always be the brand’s business/marketing objectives, as pointed out by Alex Saunders, Head of Global Digital Communications, GSK and also mentioned by our own Andy Stafford, who was name checked by a few fellow presenters for his comment “Better digital starts with a clear strategy”.

Andy-Stafford-Pharma-Social-Media-2017A key point highlighted by Aslihan Unal, Digital Strategy Group Manager, Janssen in her presentation: “Move Beyond Reporting to Real Measurement & Evaluation Which Showcases Social Media Benefit, Performance & Real World Benefit” is that  disease awareness is a key topic for patients, who are taking more control of their health management. Preventative care is becoming more important, particularly with Millenials, who reach out to their peers on social media as reliable sources of information about the disease, the treatment, and what questions to ask their healthcare professionals. It’s a win-win for everyone: Aware patients result in higher disease management which results overall in a healthier community.

An underlying sentiment was that HCPs are people → they are researching, you can engage with them when they are off-duty. No longer should the focus of pharma marketing be on features/benefits/products. Instead, find out what info is valuable to them through and where they spend time researching/interacting online through social monitoring and then create a social strategy that resonates with them.

If you’d like a copy of Andy’s presentation “Digital Outcomes Through Social”, please email us at We look forward to hearing from you!