Friday, April 23, 2010

A Review of HPV Vaccine Adherence Programs

Source: ePharm5

Automated reminder and follow-up calls for HPV vaccinations increase adherence rates from 5% to more than 20%, according to a white paper by iReminder. iReminder's HPV Vaccination Compliance white paper includes best practices to help patients complete all three HPV vaccinations.
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Impact of “Tweetvertising” on the ePharma Space

by Ross Fetterolf
SVP, Brand Strategy and Channel Innovation, Ignite Health

Advertising has come to Twitter in the form of “promoted tweets,” and copywriters everywhere will now set their sights on new 140 character messages that drive consumers to action. We’ll examine what the experts think this means for the future of advertising, as well as the basic rules and potential limitations of this new medium, and then turn our attention to what impact this could have on the ePharma space. Ultimately, we’ll reveal that this new, streamlined successor to the mighty PPC ad could be the breakthrough format that makes our brands part of the dialogue.


A wide range of pundits has weighed in on what Tweetvertising could mean for the popular start-up. From the New York Times, who highlights the advertisers who will be part of this inaugural crew (it’s no coincidence that the initial list is made up mostly of hip retailers and caffeine purveyors) and the concept of letting businesses, “insert themselves into the stream of real-life conversations of Twitter,” to
the business community, that gets to the heart of why companies advertise (to “help them achieve business objectives”), to Twitter itself, where we learn about how this advertising model came to be, why it’s happening now (it was their mission to “optimize for value before profit”), and the rules of this “simple service.”

The above “promoted tweet” from Starbucks, which is being offered up as the standard, speaks volumes in terms of the actual potential for this medium. In the span of a simple tweet, they manage to encapsulate the essence of advertising while providing a strong message (ditch your paper cup), an equally strong offer (free coffee on 4/15), and a link for more info (with the capability for every click to be measured). Better still, this ad manages to transcend even the untouchable PPC ad in its ability to, with one click of the “retweet” feature, be infinitely sharable within your extended network. The future of advertising has been distilled down to its purest and most actionable form.

Key Findings

Here are some key details about promoted tweets from this wide spectrum of sources:

  • “Promoted tweets” will initially appear when people search for particular terms and be clearly labeled as “promoted”

  • A single promoted tweet will appear alongside search results

  • The tweet will appear as long as it demonstrates “resonance” with the audience by being clicked on or re-tweeted

  • Twitter won’t charge companies whose sponsored tweets don’t generate high resonance, but tweets with high resonance scores will likely pay price premiums

  • Later these promoted tweets will find their way into user feeds both on and a vast number of services that access Twitter (like TweetDeck, TwitterBerry, and Tweetie)

Based on this basic list of details, here are a few potential limitations that could impact Pharma’s adoption of this new medium:

  • One Click Rule 2.0
    o Not again – another medium that will try the boundaries of this now infamous “guideline.” Who is going to be the first Pharma to test the compliance of branded tweets run on disease search terms?

  • Establishing Your Brand’s Twitter Voice
    o Tweets showcase a person’s voice, while many PPC ads just showcase a call to action. Are you ready to decide what your brand’s voice should be in this medium? Starbucks clearly is….

Promoted Tweets vs. Comprehensive Twitter Strategy
We’ve gotten comfortable with the PPC ad over the past decade, and the reality is nobody is following the dramatic arc of your PPC efforts on Google. Do you just want to test the unexplored waters with a tweet or two, or are you committed to creating a larger communication plan for your messages, and Twitter in general?

Potential Actions for Pharma

Given the details and potential limitations of this new ad model, what’s an ePharma marketer to do next? Here are a few considerations regarding how this offering could transform the future of Pharma brand and social media planning:

1) Utilize promoted tweets as a way to get brand offers and information out to your users

This concept of the “resonance” of promoted tweets is a novel one, which I will simplify as follows: create offers that provide value to your potential customers, or your offers go away. While I know the concept of a “free trial offer” or “free device” doesn’t apply to all brands, this approach alone could make Pharma sponsored tweets popular. Product offers would have a great opportunity to be re-tweeted, since it’s clear that everyone likes to pass on the savings. (Note to my Ignite colleagues, please stop sending me e-mail discounts for Starwood Hotels. So what if I travel a lot?) And they could even result in the fulfillment of offers via the Smartphone device (where we know a lot of users are interacting with Twitter), as users can click through to coupon codes that could be presented at the point of sale.

To follow through on this concept, imagine the simplicity and impact of seeing this statement when you picked up your next prescription or visited the website of a product you are taking: “follow us on Twitter for money saving offers.” This platform could be utilized to power the next opportunity:

2) Launch a Twitter account for your brand

Brand Twitter accounts, traditionally ignored by Pharma in favor of corporate accounts or disease education efforts, would now gain relevance and could utilize “promoted tweets” as a way to build a strong following. Someday I will find the time to do an analysis of Pharma Twitter account followers, and I’m guessing that this will reveal that many followers of Pharma Twitter accounts are actually Pharma and Agency people, not the patients at whom a lot of these efforts are aimed. If a brand Twitter account is utilized to push out coupons and offers, it also presents the opportunity to present education and resources to an engaged audience, thereby helping users be more successful with your brand (new term – Twitter Relationship Management, TRM?). And yes, of course you could throw in the occasional safety-focused tweet to provide a healthy sense of balance and FDA friendliness.

3) Leverage promoted tweets to help your ranking on search engines

While I consider myself a pretty avid Twitter user (check out @DigitalBulldog to judge for yourself), I can probably count on one hand the amount of times I have actually used the Twitter search feature to find something. But recent information [link to:] from Twitter’s Chrip development conference tells us that there are almost 600 million searches per day on Twitter. Top Twitter search lists
reveal that a large portion of this search activity is dedicated to celebrities, gossip, and entertainment (evidenced by “Twilight” being the top searched term about one year ago).

My instincts tell me that for more serious business like health, people will use Google (sorry Bing) to search for information; a real opportunity for Pharma therefore will be for their “promoted tweets” to start making their way into true Google search results listings, which seem to be pulling in tweets with much more regularity. This appears to be entirely achievable through the principles of the retweet, and when performing a search for “Starbucks” on Google you still see people tweeting about the 4/15 free coffee offer being indexed in the Twitter feed that is pulled into search results. Well, what if coffee didn’t really do it for you as much as an alertness agent like Nuvigil; couldn’t this same offer permanently embed itself within the “latest results” section of a search on “sleepiness”?


Like all new technologies, the “promoted tweets” we have seen starting to show up recently within search results are but a 1.0 version of what will likely evolve over time. These new tweets have the potential to change the way we view Twitter in the same way that AdWords transformed Google from a stark search site with a cool logo to one of the most powerful companies in the world. For Pharma this represents another unique opportunity for consumers to develop a relationship with our brands, be it in the form of brand offers that serve up savings and education, a branded Twitter outpost that provides critical brand updates, or simply as another method for getting brand information to show up on the first page of classic search results. All these directions deliver us one step closer to the new goal of advertising in the Web 2.0 world - having our brands be an important part of the dialogue.

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A New Beginning for Food Safety Education

Source: Food Safety news

Last [month] I joined food safety educators and experts from around the globe in Atlanta for the 2010 Food Safety Education Conference. My time at the conference flew by, but due to the incredible amount accomplished and learned there, it is hard to believe I was there only a week. While it is difficult to whittle my newfound wisdom down to a few "key takeaways," I decided to pick my three favorite pieces of knowledge from the conference for those of you unable to attend.

1. Food Safety is a priority for President Obama and his administration

Secretary Vilsack of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) emphasized during his video speech on Wednesday that President Obama and his administration are committed to food safety. This was echoed and emphasized by many representatives from government agencies at the conference, including Jerold Mande, Acting Under Secretary for Food Safety, USDA and Michael Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods, FDA. The Obama administration has created a Food Safety Working Group that is tasked with improving our food safety systems and ensuring safe food that does not cause us harm. The time is ripe for food safety education, and the conference was filled with enthusiastic food safety educators.

2. Social Media may be potentially revolutionary for food safety communications.

The theme for the conference was Advancements in Food Safety Education: Trends, Tools and Technologies, so it only made sense that there would be a large focus on the evolving technology of communications and social media. Throughout the conference, government agencies, as well as those from the private sector, highlighted their success at communicating food safety through channels such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, podcasts, YouTube, and even handheld devices. When used appropriately, social media allows food safety educators to effectively reach large audiences with minimal resources. As the International Food Information Council Foundation is getting more and more involved in social media (fan us on Facebook, follow us onTwitter), I feel even more equipped to make a difference and capitalize on these tools to communicate about food and health.

3. Partnerships are crucial to further food safety education.

In the current economic environment, many people are dealing with decreased budgets and cutbacks. It is even more important that we capitalize on partnerships to streamline resources and be effective. The Partnership for Food Safety Education, which includes government agencies, academic institutions, trade associations, and scientific societies, is an excellent example of people joining forces to work toward a common goal--food safety education. By working together, we can expand our reach and amplify our messages, thus being more effective. Friendships made at the conference will likely foster increased communication among food safety educators and potentially could turn into partnerships and collaborations down the road.

For those of you who are interested in some of the highlights from the 2010 Food Safety Education Conference, I would encourage you view these videos provided by the USDA:

Secretary Vilsack's Address to the Conference

Highlights from Day One

Highlights from Day Two

I would also encourage you to view the Twitter stream, as many took the lessons on social media to heart and "tweeted" during the conference. #FSEC2010

Now that I'm back in Washington, DC, I must say that my interest in food safety has been re-energized. I was inspired by many of the people I met and presentations I attended. There is so much good work going on around food safety education, and I am pleased and honored that the Foundation is a part of the fold. Jerold Mande, the Acting Under Secretary of the USDA, said it best when he praised the high attendance of the conference but warned that success of the conference will been seen by reduced incidence, hospitalization, and death from foodborne illness. I look forward to seeing all of the positive efforts and outcomes that will come from the conference

What are you doing for the sake of food safety?

An End to the 2010 Food Safety Education Conference, A New Beginning for Food Safety Education, by Katie Burns, was originally published on the IFIC Nutrition Blog. Republished with Permission.
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Monday, April 19, 2010

DTC National: Understanding What Motivates the Empowered Patient (via Health Central)

This morning I received an e-mail from Health Central's CEO Chris Schroeder who was kind enough to provide some information to the community regarding his recent DTC National presentation. As some of you may have heard, the always brilliant Mr. Schroeder presented some very insightful data at the conference (in partnership with University of Virginia professor Jim Burroughs).

Mr. Schroeder writes: "This information explores the unique attributes of empowered patients – those who ask for treatment and prepare for their doctor appointments."

Using established consumer psychology scales, Health Central surveyed nearly 3,000 patients from their communities to explore the following:

  • What drives an empowered patient, including need for cognition and relationship with doctors
  • How empowered patients can convert traditional mainstream patients to in-control consumers
  • Where to find and how to recruit empowered patients effectively

Below is the Slideshare presentation of the DTC presentation.

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Video: How Promoted Tweets Work

Here is a video that explains how promoted tweets will work. Click here to read more about Promoted Tweets. Coming Soon: Ignite Health's POV on Promoted Tweets for ePharma Marketers from Ignite's SVP of Digital Strategy Ross Fetterolf.

Promoted Tweets on Twitter(2) from Twitter Tweets on Vimeo.

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