Pfizer helps its employees better understand and use social media

This post has moved here.

If the hyperlink above does not work, you can copy and pate this URL in your browser: http://marketing4health.ca/2011/01/pfizer-helps-its-employees-better-understand-and-use-social-media/

Thank you!

Advertisements

MSWatch.ca makes a comeback: Now within Canadian Rx-DTC guidelines

Last month, I posted an article about the removal of the MSWatch.ca online forums. Many people around the world responded to me stating that they felt it was the MS patients who had lost the most from this changed website. I agreed.

On Monday November 15 2010, I was delighted to receive another e-mail from MSWatch.ca, this time welcoming me to the new MSWatch Oasis:

Tell your friends: Twitter Facebook MySpace Digg StumbleUpon Delicious
There’s a place that we go to for comfort after a long day, where can help find some relieft and peace. It could be your favorite part of the couch, the smell of fresh baked cookies or a phone call with a loved one. Whenever you’re there, it’s as if you’re transported away. 

Today we’re exited to announce that there’s something new on MSWatch, a place where you can help build a world of understanding and support for the MS community.

Introducing your MSWatch Oasis

Keep track of your treatments and help manage your appointments in a fun and engaging way.
Perch in the tree where you can find resources in the birdhouses and check in on fellow Oasis members.
Chirp others in the tree and check in on your buddies.
Earn badges just by keeping up with appointmens and therapy.
Update your profile to connect with others in the MS community. Add links to your Facebook, Twitter, blog and website.
Join in to help manage your treatments, connect with other patients and caregivers, and access learning resources and helpful tools. Help build a world of understand and support. 

Visit the MSWatch Oasis

So I decided to take a look at their new site.  I was able to sign in with my username and password from the original MSWatch.ca online forums.  After I logged on, I had the opportunity to let the community members know how I was feeling by selecting one of several pre-written statements.  This protects the pharma company from statements that could suggest an adverse event or one that could fall outside of Rx-DTC guidelines:

Then, I was prompted to update my personal profile.  As part of the profile, I could include my blog website, Twitter username, and FaceBook page.  This is a very interesting feature because it allows members of the community to meet each other on the MSWatch Oasis and then take their conversation onto their personal networks, where they are free to discuss all aspects of their disease and treatment.  Justin Seiler, Electronic Media (Marketing) Associate at Teva Canada Innovation, told me that MSWatch wanted to act as a ‘hub’ for their MS members.  That way, they are facilitating networking amongst the members, yet forcing them to go on third party sites.  As such, Teva Canada Innovation does not hold any responsibility of the discussions held off their site.

Although direct communications between members do not occur onsite, you can see which community member is in the “Oasis”.  In fact, you can click on the person’s username to gain access to a limited portion of their personal information, including hyperlinks to their websites, Twitter and FaceBook profiles (assuming the member has updated their profile with this information):

Another very useful tool consists of the calendar which allows patients to input their treatment days as well as their appointments.  And as you can see in the pic below, community members can also ‘label’ themselves with a particular type of bird.  This is a great way to start a conversion with other community members (offsite, of course).

Although I did not find this on the site itself, I did find it as part of the ‘tour’ of the website:  badges.  It appears as though community members can earn different badges depending on what they actually do on the site.  Unfortunately, I was not able to see the range and meaning of the different badges.

Going through the website, everything looks to be within Canadian pharmaceutical promotional guidelines, including Rx-DTC (where we are only allowed to mention product name, price and quantity).  Brands mentioned under treatment options include all of the players within this category, including a link to their individual support groups.

Congratulations to Teva Canada Innovation for not giving up, and for finding a way to allow MS patients to continue to share with one another while staying within the Canadian Rx-DTC guidelines.  By maintaining the ability to help the MS patients network with one another, Teva Canada Innovation continues to achieve its strategic objective.  This is a valuable service for MS patients and I look forward to watching it grow quickly (as did the original MSWatch.ca online forums).  You have proven yourself to be a social media leader within the Canadian pharma industry!

The agency that worked on the look and feel of the MSWatch Oasis is Twist Image. This is the agency that was also involved in the redesign of MSWatch.ca that took place in 2009.

Do you think the MSWatch Oasis is an effective social networking tools for MS patients?  Why or why not?

Stay in touch,
Natalie

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

Get on Social Media if you want your Rx Drug on British Columbia formulary

I just read a press release by the British Columbia, Ministry of Health Services stating that “patients can now have their voices heard on specific drug reviews, thanks to a website launched by the Ministry of Health Services”.  Wow!!  The prescription drugs that are currently on the list:  Uromax by Purdue Pharma, and Silkis by Galderma.  The following is an excerpt from the “BC PharmaCare wants to hear your Voice” website:

Who can give input?

If you are a BC resident and answer yes to any of the following three questions for a drug listed in the table below, you can give your input:

  1. Do you have the medical condition for which the drug would be used?
  2. Are you a caregiver to someone who has that medical condition?
  3. Does your organization represent patients who have that medical condition?

I am not an expert in market access.  But I vividly recall spending hours and hours with the market access team discussing ways to keep the PPI that I used to manage listed on the British Columbia formulary.  The decision taken by British Columbia resulted in a substantial loss of market share and revenue for the brand.  If only this new process were in place back then.  This would have given us one more medium to motivate patients and caregivers to help keep the brand listed:  social media !!!  This is a great medium to network and engage with a targeted audience.  I am not recommending that a pharma company only uses social media to tackle their market access objectives, but rather to consider it as a complimentary tactic along with the other traditional tactics.

Let’s not forget that in Canada, direct to consumer (DTC) advertising of Schedule F Rx products is very restricted.  You can only mention product name, price and quantity.  You  might find the following articles helpful to better understand Canadian regulations affecting the promotion of Schedule F Rx products on social media:

Pharma companies are probably already working with patient medical associations to reach out to Canadian patients.  These organizations have more flexibility in dicussing Rx products with patients.  Many of these organizations are already well established on social media.  This is important because it takes time to build a network of targeted followers.  Moreover, you would not meet a new person and ask for a favor right away.  Same holds true on social media.  You have to provide value in a consistent fashion before you can ask for something in return.  If you set up your social media account just at the time that you need something, your followers may not appreciate it very much.

Because of our restrictive DTC regulations, some marketers say that they cannot use social media in Canada.  Here is a case that proves that this is not true – social media is not just for marketing purposes.  It can be helpful for multiple functions within an organization.

I do not know if Purdue or Galderma are already taken action on social media, but if they are, please send me a note as this would make for an excellent case study to share with other Canadian pharma marketers.

Also, do you think Canadian pharma companies will start to look at social media more seriously if they see a potential for greater market access success?  Leave me a comment with your thoughts on this.

Stay in touch,
Natalie

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

Telus social media case study: “Like to Give” campaign

Every once in a while, an organization stands out from the rest as a good corporate citizen.  For the past couple of years, I have been watching the good deeds by Telus which are positively influencing healthcare in Canada.  In fact, they are a sponsor of one of my favorite children non-profit organizations, Upopolis.  Here is a statement that is found on the Info tab of their FaceBook page:

We give where we live. TELUS supports local communities and charities across the country.

This week, I saw the following sponsored ad on my personal FaceBook profile:

When you click on the “Telus” link, you are brought to the “Like to give” tab on the Telus FaceBook page.

Update November 26 2010:  Pic with all 12 charities that were included in “Like to Give” Telus campaign

 

Telus allows comments to be added to their FaceBook posts, but they do not allow wall posts to be initiated by others.  I sent them a note on Twitter asking why this was the case, but 24+ hours later,  I still had  not heard anything from them.  My personal guess is that they do not allow others to initiate posts because they want to avoid negative dicussions being initiated by consumers on their page.  This seems to be an issue on the Telus YouTube channel.  Based on my research, Telus appears to get their fair share of negative comments on social networks by consumers, so if they want to avoid similar issues that Nestle had with their FaceBook page, they probably made the right choice by not allowing others to iniative wall posts.  Keep in mind though that the biggest issue with the Nestle case was the way that they handled the situation. However, Telus is allowing consumers to have a voice as as those who ‘like’ the Telus FaceBook page can add comments to posts initiated by Telus themselves.

Because of the high level of negative comments, I think it is wise that Telus’ Twitter strategy is to have a Twitter profile that is focused on marketing messages (@Telus) and one that focuses on providing consumers with support on Telus services (@TelusSupport).  This allows @Telus to remain focused on their positive marketing messages, whereas the @TelusSupport deals with all the questions and complaints.  However, I do find that the general @Telus account engages too little with the audience.  I did a quick monitoring check and noticed that several people have posted about Telus’ ‘Like to give’ campaign with a mention of @Telus.  This means that Telus does not even have to monitor to be aware of the mention – these public mentions can be found right there in their Twitter profile.  However, I have yet to see a ‘thanks’ sent out to any of those people, including myself.  This is not the end of the world, but it would be a courteous act which would humanize the organization in the eyes of consumers.

I would like to wish Telus and their chosen non-profit organizations the best of luck in reaching their goals with the ‘Like to give’ campaign.  I am not a client of Telus, but their acts of generosity certainly catch my attention.  If ever I am in the market to switch, Telus will at least be top of mind as part of my research.

What else would you like to see Telus do to promote their ‘Like to give’ campaign on social networks?

Stay in touch,
Natalie

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

Is PAAB Doing a Good Job in Educating us on Social Media Regs in Canada?

Several months ago, the PAAB (Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board) held 3 social media marketing sessions called “Social Media Marketing in Pharma: What Works in Canada”, twice in Toronto and once in Montreal, where they provided some of their insights on Canadian regulations regarding pharmaceutical social media marketing.  This meeting even had a representative from Health Canada as a panel member.

Then earlier this month, they presented even more guidance at the Eye For Pharma eMarketing Canada conference.  Just yesterday, they made their slides from the conference available on the PAAB website: PAAB Guidance on Social Media Marketing (61 slides). Enable audio on your computer as each slide has audio. The audio track on each slide is by Patrick Massad (Chief Review Officer at the PAAB).  Beware – the file is huge.  It slowed my computer down for several minutes.  But once you go through the slides and audio, you will find that it is full of valuable information, some of which was not presented at the recent eMarketing conference due to lack of time.

The PAAB has also made itself more available to the Canadian pharma community by setting up a LinkedIn, FaceBook and Twitter profile.  The PAAB has been using these avenues to not only update the industry on PAAB activities, but also to share information about social media from other countries.  On Twitter, the PAAB even posted a request for people to join one of their social networs and to start a discussion.

As far as I know, the level of outreach by the PAAB to the pharma industry with regards to guidance on the regulations that impact social media marketing is the first of its kind worldwide.  Please correct me if this is inaccurate.  I am aware of the FDA meetings held a while back, but so far, no guidance has been made available since those meetings.

Whether we like the regulations or not, and whether we feel the regulations are doing justice to the mantra of social media being open for engagement by all stakeholders, we have to give credit to the PAAB for their efforts in helping the Canadian pharma industry understand what we can and cannot do within the legal framework.  I am not a fan of the current Rx DTC regulations in Canada.  They are outdated, and I would like to see these regulations re-visited and modified.  But I don’t blame the PAAB for those regulations.  They did not make the rules.  They just help us work within them.

The only recommendation that I would have for the PAAB (and Rx&D as well for that matter), is to include something about social media guidelines as part of their overall set of guidelines.  Perhaps that is in the works and I am just not aware.

Do you think the PAAB is doing a good job in educating the Canadian pharmaceutical industry on how to apply current regulations to social media campaigns?  Do you have any suggestions for them to improve their outreach to the industry?

Disclaimer:  I have been involved with the PAAB on various social media activities, but this post is my personal opinion.  The PAAB has not had any input or influence in the content of this article.

Stay in touch,
Natalie

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

PAAB Offers Guidance on Regulatory Social Media Thought Process

Eye for Pharma organized the 1st eMarketing Canada conference, which was held in Toronto, on November 1-2 2010.

Patrick Massad (Chief Review Officer at the PAAB, Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board) presented an algorithm to facilitate the regulatory thought process when planning a social media promotional activity.  Here is the suggested algorithm:

1) Is this advertising?

2) Who is the intended audience?

3) What restrictions should I consider for this audience with respect to disease and product schedules?

4) What mechanism will I use to limit access to that audience?

5) What is the sponsor’s tolerance for uncertainty & risk?

6) How will I align the site with this tolerance level?

7) What are the regulatory consequences of adding and/or linking other tools/content to my site?

 

Here are some highlights of Patrick’s presentation with regards to the very 1st step to detemine if tactic in mind is advertising or not:

Health Canada’s definition of advertising is as follows:  “any representation by any means whatever for the purpose of promoting directly or indirectly the sale or disposal of any food, drug, cosmetic or device” (as per section 2 of Food Drugs Act).

If this does not help to answer the question about whether the promotion is advertising or not, you can then refer to Health Canada’s policy document “The Distinction Between Advertising and Other Activities”, which lists the following 7 questions:

•What is the context in which the message is disseminated?
•Who are the primary and secondary audiences?
•Who delivers the message (the provider)?
•Who sponsors the message and how?
•What influence does the drug manufacturer have on the message content?
•What is the content of the message?
•With what frequency is the message delivered?

By answering these questions, the intent of the promotion becomes clearer as to whether the tactic is advertising or informational.

The intented audience and type of drug will determine which regulatory body needs to be consulted.  See this article here if you need assistance to determine which Canadian regulatory body to consult for your promotional campaign.

For more information about PAAB guidelines regarding social media, see Highlights from “Social Media Marketing in Pharma: What Works in Canada”

What do you think of this algorithm?  Would you add, delete or change any of the suggested steps?  Please leave a comment below.

Stay in touch,
Natalie

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

Social Media Used by Pharmacy to Respond to Criticism

Last week, I posted about Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix’ latest promotion, where consumers who purchased a certain value of goods at the drugstore would receive a free gift certificate for McDonald’s fast food restaurant.  I have no issue with the individual organizations themselves.  However, in my opinion, it is inappropriate for a healthcare-focused organization to be promoting fast food.

Objective of this follow-up post:  I wanted to see if other Canadian consumers had used social media to voice their opinion about the promotion, and if so, how did Shoppers Drug Mart respond to the online chatter.

It turns out that other people also wrote online criticisms about the Shoppers-McDonald’s promotion, but many more people actually spoke about the giveaway in either a neutral or positive tone.  According to socialmention* (a free online tool that monitors and analyzes social media mentions), the sentiment ratio for mentions that include all keywords “shoppers”, “drugmart” and “mcdonald’s” (from October 10 to October 16 2010) was generally more positive than negative.

The largest clump of negative mentions seemed to be on the Shoppers Drug Mart FaceBook page,.  These were posted as comments to Shoppers Drug Mart’s announcement of the giveaway:

Here is what Shoppers Drug Mart did so far to counteract the negative comments:

Shoppers Drug Mart used their FaceBook page to address the negative feedback.  Their statement suggests that this promotion may not be right for everybody, but at no point do they hint at the fact that they made an error in judgement when they agreed to this fast food promotion.

Shoppers Drug Mart is committed to delivering value through our promotional events, so we’ve partnered with Canada’s top businesses to provide you with a range of offers. Your comments help us better understand what you value. The McDonald’s gift card promotion may not be the right fit for you, but we hope you’ll conti…nue to tell us what you want (or don’t want), so we can give you what you need in the future.

As of October 17th mid afternoon, there were 36 ‘likes’ and 37 comments to the above statement, most of which consisted of followers providing promotional ideas for future campaigns:

It appears as though Shoppers Drug Mart was using their FaceBook page as their main platform to respond to the critiques.  They are even redirecting people within other networks onto their FaceBook fan page.  I noticed this when they responded to my Twitter post about my dislike of their current campaign by redirecting me to their FaceBook page.  Since there is no URL for the post itself, but rather for the entire page, I had to scroll down until I found their statement.  As new posts are added to the wall, this statement will disappear under “older posts’.

Here are a few benefits of using FaceBook as the platform to respond to negative mentions:

1) you can quickly respond to the critiques and existing fans will have access to this information quickly,

2) you can easily engage your followers and get them to provide their insights, and

3) the statement will quickly disappear as it scrolls down, thus will rarely be seen unless somebody looks at older posts.

There is a downside though.  If somebody who critiques the campaign was not a member of FaceBook, they would  have difficulty accessing the organization’s response.  But considering there are over 16 million Canadians on FaceBook, I think this is  a reasonable platform to reach a Canadian audience.  I would suggest that Shoppers Drug Mart also post their statement as a comment below the ‘giveaway announcement’ post which contains all the negative mentions.  That way, everybody who wrote a negative mention would be notified that Shoppers had indeed responded to the issue.

My personal opinion is that this was a very bad marketing idea which got lucky because it did not get the public backlash that I expected it would get.  Considering the fact that the online mood was mostly neutral/positive, I don’t blame the PR folks for writing a ‘light’ response to the issue.  I do give them credit though for addressing the issue, and for asking the public for input for future campaigns.  Now hopefully they will listen to the feedback.

Do you believe that Shoppers Drug Mart did a good job in responding to their upset clients?  Tell us if you would have done anything differently:

%d bloggers like this: