Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Breaking News: E-marketing Feature in this month's MED AD NEWS

E-marketing // Novemeber 2006, MED AD NEWS

Pharmaceutical companies providing resource-intensive Websites to their consumers were winners at the 2006 Webby Awards, held June 12, 2006. The InVision Guide to A Healthy Heart, found at invisionguide.com/heart, won in the health-care category. Healthy Heart is a site sponsored by Novartis (novartis.com) and designed by Anatomical Travelogue Inc. (anatomicaltravel.com) with information about heart function, disease, and treatment. Change of HAART, found at changeofhaart.com, won in the pharmaceutical category. Change of HAART, sponsored by Gilead Sciences Inc. (gilead.com) and designed by Ignite Health (ignitehealth.com), is focused on past and present HIV treatment and the importance of adherence to treatment.

The Webby Awards are presented annually by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a 550-member body of Web experts, business figures, and creative celebrities. The awards honor excellence on the Internet and include Websites, interactive advertising, and online film and video.

"Pharmaceutical companies have been successful on the Web because there is a very high demand from general consumers to find out more information about pharmaceuticals and about their health," says David Michel Davies, executive director, the Webby Awards (webbyawards.com). "This is an industry where the knowledge was highly centralized, at the doctor’s office, for a very long time. But now the Web has given individuals the opportunity to research and find out more information about whatever health condition they’re interested in. The pharmaceutical companies that have recognized that and realized that it’s not just about pushing a specific product or a condition, but about creating a resource for those people to go to, are the ones that have been the most successful on the Web."

Mr. Davies is particularly impressed by Gilead’s Change of HAART site. "Change of HAART did something striking," he says. "Highly active retroviral therapy is a very complex issue that people generally don’t know a lot about. It can be frightening, especially if you are somebody who potentially has HIV. Change of HAART succeeds because they give the site a warm feeling and make it easy for a user to feel comfortable, to read the literature, and to interact with it. Everything from the videos to the handwritten text to even the use of the acronym H-A-A-R-T makes the site warm and inviting and helps to take away some of the scary, austere feeling that someone going there might have. That is a quality that is very important for health and pharmaceutical sites."

According to Mr. Davies, providing resource-intensive Websites can be a successful strategy for pharmaceutical companies. Most individuals using the Internet as a health-care resource begin by searching for general information about conditions rather than specifics about particular drugs. Websites that are resource-intensive, with useful research content and links to additional information, will appear higher in a typical individual’s search rankings.

Mr. Davies has another suggestion for pharmaceutical companies. He believes that sites should offer individuals the opportunity to share their experiences with their conditions and the sponsoring company’s products. One of the pharmaceutical nominees, Stand Strong, took this approach. Stand Strong can be found at standstrong.com. The site was designed by Moroch & Associates (moroch.com) and is sponsored by Mission Pharmacal Co. (missionpharmacal.com). The site consists of women sharing their stories about dealing with osteoporosis.

BannerMoments.com is another site that follows Mr. Davies’ suggestion. The site was designed and sponsored by Incendia Health Studios, an agency founded by Ignite Health, and focuses on breast cancer support and awareness (see related story on page 64).

BannerMoments.com allows visitors to develop personal Web banners that can be used to express individual messages about their fight against breast cancer. The site also provides links to a variety of breast cancer information resources and offers sponsorship opportunities for pharmaceutical marketers interested in reaching cancer patients and their extended families and friends. Incendia (incendiahealth.com) is focused on the field of chronic disease education.

"Marketers may fear this a little bit, because at some level it is creating opportunity for somebody to give negative feedback about your product on your site," Mr. Davies told Med Ad News. "But if there’s an issue, people are going to talk about it somewhere. And this sort of site can create a lot of good dialogue internally in a company. It’s a little bit more honest, and people inside the company can learn more about what their potential customers are saying. The customer is always a keystone of innovation."

Being nominated for or winning a Webby can be a good way to drive traffic to a Website. Between 2 million and 3 million visits to nominated sites by participants in the Webby People’s Choice Awards were recorded in 2005, and the awards event itself received coverage from a variety of general, marketing, and ad agency media, including CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, the International Herald-Tribune, Ad Age, and Ad Week.

The Webby Awards also provide validation for the work that went into creating a Website. "One of the challenges of being in the creative industry is that it is hard to measure whether you did a good job," Mr. Davies says. "A real-estate agent can say, ‘I sold 15 houses this year, I did a great job.’ But for somebody who is creating breathtaking online experiences, their success is a matter of opinion. So the kind of validation that the Webby Awards brings can be great for your team."

The nominees for Webby awards are chosen from a pool of self-entered Websites and Internet content. Companies or agencies can enter their site in the competition via an online entry form found on the Webby Awards’ Website. The Webbys are presently accepting entrants for the 2007 Awards; the final deadline for entry into the 2007 competition is Dec. 15, 2006.

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1 comments:

vinita said...

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