Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Stories from CBI's eMarketing Conference

Google: Don't let search engine strategy become an afterthought

Search engine strategy is often an afterthought for pharma e-marketers, but it's a crucial tactic for driving visitors to your Web site, said Mary Ann Belliveau, Google's head of healthcare, during a panel discussion at CBI's e-marketing conference yesterday. Belliveau also encouraged pharmas to buy multiple keywords. "The wider the keyword list, the more efficient the campaign will become," she said. Belliveau also recommended pharma use both organic or paid search because both are equally important, and urged pharmas to purchase relevant keywords even if their site is the number-one organic search result. Paid keywords give the brand the opportunity to control the message, and if a brand or Web site appears twice on the page--in both the paid and organic listings--the effect on the consumer is that much greater, Belliveau said. For more information about search tactics, sign up for ePharm5's Search

Engine Strategies Webinar to be held March 29.

Pharma loses viable consumers by ignoring multicultural markets

By ignoring the multicultural segments of the online market, pharma is missing major opportunities to connect with potential consumers, according to recent research by Manhattan Research. During yesterday's CBI e-marketing conference in Philadelphia, Erika Fishman, MPH, senior analyst at Manhattan Research, told attendees that the three main subsets in the multicultural market--Asians, Hispanics, and African Americans--use the Internet as their number one source for health information. She said Asians are most likely to be online regularly, but that the segment is completely ignored by pharma, perhaps due in part to the complexity of the culture and difficulty in identifying the possible markets within it. She told ePharm5 that Pfizer is conducting the most aggressive multicultural marketing, targeting mostly Hispanics. She encouraged the industry to integrate online multicultural marketing into the overall marketing mix because the "Internet is the only way to educate these segments," she said.

Assess entire online landscape when launching drug online

When designing an online strategy for a new product, pharmas should assess the entire online landscape related to the condition, said Darrell Wakefield, associate director at Novartis, and Elizabeth Izard Apelles, managing partner for Greater Than One, during CBI's e-marketing conference yesterday. Marketers should ask, "Where is the marketing gap and how am I going to fill it with specific tactics," Apelles said. Marketers should not only determine what their competitors are doing online, but what other online sources exist for information related to the condition, such as clinical or professional sites, patient forums, or advocacy organizations. Pharmas should seize any opportunity to become the primary online resource for a certain condition if one doesn't already exist, Apelles said. It's also important to investigate search engines to find out what results related keywords yield. Stay tuned tomorrow for a report on how Wakefield and Apelles advize building an e-marketing roadmap for your brand.

User-generated content leaves pharma quaking in its boots

During yesterday's CBI e-marketing conference panel discussion regarding the paradigm shift from marketer-controlled to user–generated content (UGC), the disparity in thinking between vendors and pharma became wildly apparent. Although the six vendors on the panel came up with a myriad of benefits to using consumer-generated content, the one representative from the pharma industry--Jean-Paul Hepp, Ph.D., director of privacy at Pfizer--made it clear that he was not completely onboard with the concept. Although he did acknowledge that UGC represents the evolution of health-seeking online traffic, he said collecting data from the content provides a real risk to privacy. "Do it smartly, by collecting less more wisely. I would like to have less data at a higher quality," he said. Hepp emphasized that the pharma industry is very heavily regulated, and nothing has changed to adjust to UGC. "[UGC] is very scary, and it makes sense we are behind," he said. Stay tuned for a longer report about UGC in ePharm5 later this week.

Comcast and team up for Comcast Latino

Comcast, the United State's largest broadband provider, is teaming up with the nation's most-popular Spanish-language Web site,, for Comcast Latino, according to the companies. Comcast Latino features a channel for women, which covers topics about health, beauty, and family. Other channels include music, entertainment, sports, autos, news, and photo galleries. Users can also access broadband-intensive multimedia products, such as video content, interviews, news, and events. Music from Terra Radio and country-specific news from virtually every Latin American nation are also available, according to the companies. Nearly 15 million Hispanics in the United States accessed the Internet in January, according to comScore Media Metrix. Read more about multicultural marketing in brief #2.






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