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My blog has a new home – Redirect link included in this post

My blog is feeling the love on this Valentine’s Day!  You can now find my blog, Marketing 4 Health here at www.marketing4health.ca.   If you are a subscriber of this blog and would like to continue to receive an update of my posts, then please go here and subscribe either via e-mail or RSS feed in the top right corner of this page as I will no longer be updating this older version of the blog.

Happy Valentines day to all of you!  Hope to see you


Thank you for another great year !

I cannot believe it is already the end of 2010.  It was a very special year for me, and I have so many people to thank for making it so.  Here’s a short list;

  • My newborn son, for making every day bright and sunny thanks to his big toothless grin (well, he was toothless for most of the year, but now has 2 little pearly whites)
  • My preschooler son, for showing me the way a child sees the world, and for helping me understand what is truly important in life
  • My husband, for his unconditional love and support, but also for his insights and counsel regarding my business
  • My parents and brother, for their support and for taking care of my children when I had extended business meetings or conferences to attend
  • My clients, for treating me like one of their own employees, for having faith in my abilities, for recommending me to other organizations, and for respecting my need to be a Mom first (that last comment is what makes my clients so very special)
  • My blog readers, for their feedback and comments on my posts which help me grow as a blogger, and also for sharing my posts with their networks

It’s been a good year for my business.  A couple of my clients provide me with constant work, whereas others request my services only when needed for specific time-limited projects.  It works out perfectly.

Many thanks to my 2010 clients.  I appreciate your business and I have enjoyed working with all of you.  Looking forward to 2011 !!

  • Ddrops Company
  • GI Society
  • Danielle’s Foundation
  • Kidney Cancer Canada
  • PAAB
  • Roche
  • Solvay Pharma (now Abbott)
  • TimedRight
  • Teva Innovation Canada

I am really looking forward to 2011.  There are some interesting client projects coming up, and my blog is going to be re-launched with some exciting stuff … to be announced in January or February.


Merry Christmas and happy new year,



Connect with me on the following networks:

FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn

Marketing 4 Health Inc. – Thanks to my clients for a great year in 2009

My clients have made 2009 a wonderful year for me, and I wish to thank them sincerely for their trust, passion and for being such wonderful and compassionate people.

This post is an overview of the accomplishments for my company, Marketing 4 Health Inc., throughout the year 2009.  It is also a recognition of my clients, because without them there would not have been accomplishments to talk about.  Warning: this post may sound a bit promotional, so I will not be offended if you decide to stop reading right here.

Marketing 4 Health Inc. is a small startup medical marketing / social media consultancy company and has been in existence since 2006, but has only really started its business activities as of September 2008.  In 2009, business has boomed more than I expected or even planned.  My clients range from pharma companies (Rx and OTC / NPN), medical / pharma non-profit organizations (Canadian and American), a healthcare professional social network, a consumer organization, to marketing agencies.

I am quite pleased that most of my clients have been hiring me on a continual basis for either an extended project, or for several projects.  Thanks to all of my clients for their continued trust in me.

The accomplishments that I am most proud of over the past year include;

  • Partnered with clients to develop strategic marketing plans (short and medium term) that fit their objectives
  • Established myself as a passionate Health 2.0 advocate in Canada:

1) Presented on the concept of Health 2.0 at the Ontario Pharmaceutical Marketing Association (OPMA) in May, ‘Drug Pricing and Reimbursement in Canada’ conference hosted by the Canadian Institute in June, the Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board (PAAB) social media and pharma workshops in September and November, and some pharmaceutical companies throughout the year, and

2) was recognized as an influencer by peer Health 2.0 advocates; Ignite Labs’ top 24 Pharma tweeps and ePharma Rx’ “Celebrating Pharma Women on Twitter” (8 pharma women tweeps listed).  It was an honour to have been included on both lists and particularly to represent Canadian Pharma on them.

Ignite Labs: The 24 Pharma Tweeps

Celebrating Pharma Women on Twitter

  • Advised on (and sometimes implemented) the management and marketing of online communities and online communications for several clients.
  • Started a new blog focusing on medical marketing and social media with a focus on Canada.  The blog has attracted greater traffic than I anticipated thus far, and I am very grateful to all who read, support, and take the time to question my commentaries.
  • Since several of my clients focus on baby / children healthcare products and services, I have developed a strong network with Mommy bloggers and various Mommy online networks.  This has been a lot of fun for me, because as a Mom of a young child, I was already actively involved with the Mommy online communities but from the perspective of a member.
  • Market access: Submitted and got client’s NPN product approved on the RAMQ and NIHB.  This project was a surprise to me as market access management is not my specialty, but my client insisted that I give it a try.  I am so glad that he did because it was such a great experience and I enjoyed learning about some of the inside workings of market access.
  • Most importantly, I remained a stay-at-home Mom during the day and cherished every moment and milestone with my 2-year old, while managing to do most of my work in the evenings (and sometimes middle of the night).  It is busy to play both roles to the fullest extent possible, but it truly offers me the best of both worlds.

It`s been a fantastic year, and I have each of my clients to thank for that.  None of the achievements above would have been possible without their faith in my abilities to help them achieve their business goals.  I am especially grateful for my clients’ continued respect of my desire to remain a stay-at-home Mom.  Some have even tolerated a few meetings with me accompanied by my ‘toddler assistant‘.  Baby #2 is on the way and due early next Spring.  As such, I do plan to slow down a bit during Spring and Summer of 2010, but hope to be back in full action in either Fall or Winter time because there is so much more to do.  My blog posts and microblogging activity will slow down a bit, but I will continue to make the occasional online appearance here and there.

This will be my last post for the year 2009.  Over the next few weeks, I will be focusing on spending time with friends and family.  On that note, I wish you all happy holidays and a fantastic new year!

Merry Christmas et Joyeux Noel,

Connect with me on the following networks:
FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn


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Canada’s Online Health Check – More Proof that Canadians of all Ages are Active on Social Networks

I was just about to shut down my e-mail as it was almost midnight, but I saw that a new Groundswell post had been submitted. As I am the curious type, especially when it comes to social media news, I had to open it right away. Am I ever glad that I did because it focused on some great news that would get any Canadian marketer excited; the Social Technographics Profile tool now includes the option to select CANADA. So bedtime was pushed out further as I was so thrilled about this new feature that I had to check it out right away.

Background: The Social Technographics Ladder explains the level of activity on social media by various market segments. As you go up the ladder, each group becomes more and more involved in social media activities. The Social Technographics Ladder you see below is an overview of Canadians’ (all ages, both genders) use of social networks (snapshot taken on December 3 2009).

Pharmaceutical and healthcare companies frequently ask whether their target market, especially if this consists of an older audience, is involved in social media. Now they have the answer, and it is a resounding “YES” for all age groups and both genders.

Let’s compare Canadian women and men aged 55 years and older;

On the lower end of the spectrum, there are 42% of Canadian females and 38% of Canadian males aged 55+ that are currently inactive, therefore not accessible via social networks. However, 42% of Canadian females and 50% of Canadian males aged 55+ are watching, reading and listening to what is happening on various social networks. As you keep going up the Social Technographics Ladder, you see that our Canadian seniors (and I use this term only because it is the highest age group you can segment by in this particular application) are definitely involved in social media at some level. It will be interesting to see the chart for this age group change over the years as the more active younger generations grow older.

Add that information to the North American Technographics Benchmark Survey of 2008, and you have the basis for a pretty good discussion about whether healthcare marketers should consider a social media tactic for their specific target audience (Source: Forrester Inc. Research;  blogs.forrester.com ─ April 22, 2009).

So go ahead and play with the Social Technographics Profile application to see where your target market fits in (and check for yourself as well). It is fun, interesting and a valuable tool for all marketers.

Stay in touch,

Marketing 4 Health Inc.
Medical Marketing and Social Media Consultant

Connect with me on the following networks:
FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn


To ensure that you receive all new updates to this blog, insert your e-mail address in the box in the top-right corner. Your e-mail will remain private and will not be shared with any third parties.

Tips for Medical Marketers Working with a Marketing Agency

Part of a medical marketer’s job is to work with a marketing agency, and sometimes several of them at once. This is a business-to-business relationship that needs to be well managed on a daily basis and evaluated from time to time. The agency’s job is to help you strengthen your brand by leveraging their strategic and creative expertise. Some agencies provide various services to their clients, whereas others are more specialized. Their specialties range from advertising, public relations, continuing medical education, online activities, direct-to-consumer promotions and to many other types of promotional specialties. There is usually a point-of-contact person called an account manager that is assigned to your brand, and this person is there to help you communicate your needs to the rest of the agency team working on your brand.

Here are some tips to make sure you are getting the most out of your agency, therefore making you and your brand look good :

  1. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Do so multiple times and in various ways (telephone, follow-up with an e-mail). We cannot stress this enough.
  2. Ask questions about the agency’s work procedures before hiring them
  3. Know your brand and your strategy inside-out. You should be the one giving this information to the agency, not the other way around.
  4. Provide a written project brief with detailed information on your expectations and objectives for the project that the agency will be working on. Discuss the brief in details with the agency.
  5. Communicate with the agency on a regular basis. Yes, we already covered this, but this point is worth mentioning more than once.
  6. Read, understand and make corrections as required to contact reports, creative briefs and billing reports that are sent to you by the agency. Distribute these reports to anybody who has a role to play in the projects that you are working on.
  7. Hold regular evaluation sessions with the agency. Agencies that work on your brand on a regular basis should be evaluated twice a year. If this is not possible, then at least once a year.
  8. Try to be reasonable in terms of your expectations on output quality, timelines and cost. Balance your expectations and the realities of the agency as best as you can. For example, if you are willing to increase the budget, the agency may be able to produce a higher quality tool. Or they may be able to hire more staff to work on the project and thus complete the project more quickly. Another consideration is that if you ask for a very fast turnaround, you might be disappointed with the outcome if the agency has not had enough time to digest your needs and create a product that is both strategic and innovative. Talk with your agency to see how they might be able to squeeze either the budget or the timelines yet still produce a high quality product.
  9. This brings us to the next point; Stick to the timelines that YOU have agreed to. If you are in a hurry to produce a piece, do not hold up the agency by taking too much time to proofread or comment on draft versions of the tool. If this does happen (and this  happens to all marketers from time to time), then take a fresh look at the timelines that you have given to the agency.  They may need an extra day or so to catch up on the lost time.
  10. And finally with regards to tight timelines, try as best as possible to plan ahead. For example, considering the regulatory body approvals of pharmaceutical materials, a Product Manager in Canada should start working with their agency on a new tool at least 6-8 months before the piece is due in the reps’ hands.

If you have more tips to add to this list, please do so  in the comments section.  We can all learn from one another.

Canadian Regulatory Body Leads the Way in Training Pharma Marketers on the Use of Social Media

PAAB - CCPP logo

To learn more about the PAAB, go to http://www.paab.ca

A couple of months ago, I was asked by the Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board (PAAB is the Canadian pharmaceutical advertising regulatory body) to participate in a workshop to train Canadian pharma marketers on how they can use Social Media as a promotional tool. 

What an excellent initiative!  This would respond to marketers’ outcry for guidance regarding regulations regarding Social Media marketing in healthcare.  Then came the unexpected twist.  As the Commissioner, Ray Chepesiuk , was describing his vision of the workshop to me, he said that he did not want this to become just a ‘regulatory workshop’, but rather a ‘business workshop’ which includes regulatory, strategic and technical components.  He then went on to mention that the PAAB is striving to enhance its service initiatives to the industry.  As a marketer who is accustomed to pushing the regulatory limits, this sounded very appealing to me. 

I wanted to learn more about the PAAB’s vision of enhancing its services to the pharma industry, so I spoke to Ray about this.  Here is what he had to say; 

“The PAAB is not here just to regulate advertising.  When an ad or promotional tool comes in for approval and does not meet the regulatory guidelines, we don’t just outright reject it.  We try to come up with solutions that would help the advertiser achieve their business objective as well as meet the regulatory criteria.  The PAAB aims to enhance its service iniatives with the Canadian pharmaceutical industry.  We believe that by doing so, that Canadian patients will be the ones to benefit from better healthcare.  And Social Media is exploding right now.  We realize the opportunities that this represents to pharmaceutical marketers, and we hope to clarify some of their concerns and questions about the use of Social Media in their promotions.”

I was a pharma marketer for many years, and as such, I am very familiar with the PAAB guidelines and process.  Most of the advertisements and promotional tools that either I or my marketing team members worked on went into the review process several times before being approved.  But now that I think of it, despite the fact that many of these projects morphed after getting feedback from the PAAB, none of them were ever thrown out because we felt that we could no longer meet the original business objective for the tool. 

The key learning here is that as marketers, we should not hesitate to be in touch with the PAAB, or your country’s regulatory body, during the developmental phase of your project.  You may feel as though you don’t have time to take that extra step, but the fact is that you may actually be saving yourself a lot of time and money over the long-run.  Also, many marketers may rely on their marketing agencies to work with regulatory bodies such as the PAAB.  This is fine, but it is also acceptable and sometimes even recommended that you, as a client, get involved in some initial discussions with the appropriate regulatory body and the agency to explain the vision you have for the promotional tool.  Communication is critical for successful promotions.

If you are a Canadian pharma marketer and are interesting in signing up for the PAAB Social Media Marketing Workshop, please find the details and registration below;

Montreal: September 29th 2009
Crowne Plaza Montreal Airport Hotel
Registration and coffee 8:30 AM
Session Start 9:00 AM to 1:00pm
Cost: $269
Click here to register: http://www.regonline.com/Checkin.asp?EventId=755658

Toronto: September 30th 2009
Westin Bristol Place Toronto Airport Hotel
Registration and coffee 8:00 AM
Session Start 8:30 AM to 12:30pm
Cost: $269
Click here to register: http://www.regonline.com/Checkin.asp?EventId=755668

You can also stay connected with the PAAB and be updated on their news by joining their FaceBook (http://tinyurl.com/mb344t) and LinkedIn (http://tinyurl.com/n7s528) networks.  A regulatory body on Social Media networks trying to stay in touch with pharmaceutical professionals – now that`s proof of an organization taking the initiative to enhance their services to the pharma industry.

A new blog for healthcare marketers

Hi.  My name is Nat Bourre and this is my new blog.  The name of the blog, Marketing 4 Health, is the name of my Medical Marketing and Social Media Consulting company, which I founded in 2006 (but I truly only started focusing on it in late 2007).

What is the objective of the Marketing 4 Health blog?  The objective of this blog is to provide my readers with tips and reviews on practices, tools and services that might help them in their marketing. 

I plan on achieving this by sharing with you some of my experiences, learnings and opinions about medical marketing and social media related to healthcare (Health 2.0).  You will also find some interviews with medical marketing experts, and feedback on new and existing tools and services that might be of interest to medical marketers.  

Although much of the information in this blog will be universal, there will be the occasional focus on Canada.  I hope that the information will be useful to you, or at least inspire you to come up with the decisions that are best for your specific business situation.

Who might find this blog interesting and helpful?  Anybody responsible for marketing products or services that promote better health. 

Who is Nat Bourre?  I am a Medical Marketing and Social Media Consultant.  Before starting my own business, I enjoyed 13 years in pharma sales and marketing. My experience with pharma brands spans all lifecycle stages and I have also led the marketing team for an Rx brand that became 5th largest brand in Canada. I have successfully acted as co-promotion alliance manager for several partnerships.  Some have even referred to me as the ‘co-promotion queen’.  I am very passionate about Social Media.  I could, and often do, talk about it all day. I have had the good fortune of being able to manage the Social Media strategy and implementation for my clients in healthcare, consumer and non-profit industries.

Language:  The blog entries will be written in English, but if somebody wants to write a comment en français, please feel free to do so.  That’s as far as my linguistic skills go, so please stick with these 2 languages only.

Let’s stay in touch: 




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