Real-time Marketing’s Lessons for Pharma

One of my professional resolutions is to translate mainstream marketing strategies to fit our highly regulated industry.  This year, we can take a page from our consumer counterparts in the exploration of real-time marketing.

Some of the best examples we saw last year occur when marketers act more like late night talk show writers:  Audit the day’s (or minute’s) events and think about how to ride the coattails to make a brand connection.  Beneath this seemingly spur-of-the-moment content is a well-articulated set of monitoring and rapid-response approval protocols.   The Oreo Super Bowl and Royal Baby ads weren’t a fleeting stroke of genius.  According to a Business Insider article, it was the company’s social media war room, developed by more than 18 months of planning.

The lesson?  It requires careful planning to look that spontaneous.

While we may be limited in our ability to fully employ this strategy, we can make positive progress in adopting this mindset.  Here are a few places to start:

1. Calendarize events where a brand has the opportunity to be highly relevant or high-profile if inserted into the conversation.
2. Level-set with medical/legal/regulatory to define the comfort level with tone and color of content.  This means defining the parameters of how we express emotions like humor or nostalgia.
3. Analyze results of past posts, and let the results guide future content. Successful real-time posts build on insights telling us what’s popular or meaningful to our audiences.
4. Examine crisis response strategies and see if there are any processes that can be applied to a proactive communications plan to be more a part of timely conversations.

Look forward to calling out examples of these practices in action—a marketing must to create relevant customer experiences and drive brand preference, loyalty and growth.

  • Sam Welch

    A veteran marketer of some of the world’s most recognizable names in healthcare, Sam brings a broad perspective to communications as Global Group President for Discovery Chicago, Razorfish Healthware and the Saatchi & Saatchi Health brand families. Agency offerings include professional promotion, consumer communications, branding, customer relationship management, digital promotion, and government affairs. Previous roles within PHCG include President of Saatchi & Saatchi Healthcare Communications Group in the U.S. and Chief Operating Officer of PHCG. Sam serves on the board of The Child Center of NY, an organization dedicated to serving at-risk youth through education, counseling, and youth development services.