The recent Cambridge Analytica/Facebook crisis and expansive GDPR regulations are sending shock waves throughout the ad industry—particularly within pharma, where personal health information is especially sensitive, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

What do pharma brand marketers need to know, and what steps should be taken to ensure safety while still benefitting from the powerful technology? Spitz, our Practice Leader in Strategy, recently addressed these challenges at DTC National 2018.

Check out the summary or stream the presentation below.

You’re a superhero

Give yourself a round of applause! From deep marketing experience to vast clinical and regulatory expertise, market research to content strategy to multichannel activation, today’s pharma brand manager must know more and do more than ever before—and often with less: less budget, less time, and less security.

Every superhero has a nemesis, and yours is called “VUCA”—a world of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. Global competition, mounting drug pipeline, pricing, market access, and generics concerns keep you up at night. Everyday obstacles await each morning, including accessing HCPs and engaging patients as scopes shrink and the need to substantiate ROI grows.

These pressures build, making your commitment to emerging technologies like digital appear riskier. Although healthcare spend totals more than $3.2 trillion a year in the US and amounts to nearly 20% of GDP, digital ad spend remains at the bottom compared to other top industries:

Falling back on more comfortable yet less efficient channels results in lost opportunities and a suboptimal media mix. The challenge isn’t unique to healthcare, as Adam Cossman, our Chief Digital Officer has observed. Despite confusion and continued skepticism, the future looks bright for digital marketing, especially in healthcare and pharma, and here’s why.

Welcome to the digital marketing revolution

Many predicted flying cars and bases on the Moon, few foreseeing microcomputers in our pockets enabling instantaneous and global two-way communication.

The ability to receive and transmit data has made everyone a content creator and distributor, transforming entire industries and giving rise to on-demand services that have dissolved the traditional boundaries between brands and their consumers. From Amazon to Netflix, today’s top brands engage consumers demanding unprecedented convenience, immediacy, and personalization.

Bob Pearson, Chief Innovation Officer at W2O describes the inexorable evolution of advertising into Storytizing—where thanks to the power and ubiquity of digital, brands must now create and disseminate an ongoing narrative to consumers anytime, anywhere.

Managing Director Chuck Hemann also describes how on the back-end increasingly sophisticated digital marketing analytics not only help marketers deliver the right message to the right consumer at the right time, but enable precise modeling to optimize results, maximize spend, and substantiate investment.

How digital marketing and healthcare converge

That’s good news for digital marketers—and even better news for pharma marketers like you. Often overlooked and rarely discussed, the connections between digital marketing and digital health are deep and particularly meaningful.

From precision targeting to personalized engagement, predictive modeling to real time optimization, digital marketing has driven astonishing advances in identifying and engaging consumers—while digital health, evolving in parallel, has utilized similar tools, tech, and even lexicon to help in the next generation of diagnosis, management, prediction, and even the prevention of disease.

Eric Topol’s Creative Destruction of Medicine describes how digital tech and digital health have “super-converged” to precipitate a new era of the quantified self and transformative healthcare:

The super-convergence has also ushered in a new era of digital pharma marketing—where the necessary synergy of healthcare, communications, and technology expertise gives your brand the unfair advantage you need to succeed.

Privacy concerns and the deed for a trusted partner

The power of data has proven itself, but every action engenders an opposite reaction. The inverse relationship between privacy and convenience—alongside the aggressive monetization of personal data by Facebook and other platforms—recently exploded with the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Zuckerberg’s two-day testimony before Congress reassured stockholders but raised even more questions about data privacy, and what the government intends to do about protecting it. The EU has already expanded GDPR guidelines, triggering a cascading effect throughout the world, marketers beware.

Here at W2O Group we gauge our “Unfair Advantage” in how we ensure not only effectiveness for your brand, but our commitment to privacy, security, and reputation. Driven by data, integrating insights from analytics through activation, we’re an award winning partner dedicated to accountability, responsibility, transparency, and creative innovation.

If you’re interested in knowing more about W2O, check out our About page.