Here is the challenge should you choose to accept it: define social media and its value to pharmaceutical companies in two sentences.
In a world where 140-characters has emerged as the de facto standard for communication, it should be simple to sum up social media in two sentences—that’s practically a novel. Not so fast. As I described in a recent post, social media for the pharma industry faces a significant knowledge gap that needs to be bridged. Because the marketing pundits have been stuck in evangelism mode they have neglected the need to educate a. In addition to a knowledge gap, this passionate evangelism has created a bit of confusion. With every marketer looking to jump on the money-making scheme of the day, some people aren’t quite sure what the heck social media is.
This fact was driven home to me in a recent conversation I had with a former pharmaceutical executive. This is a reasonably smart person that ascended the top ranks of a major pharmaceutical company before his retirement. In short: he’s no slouch. His question to me was: “Okay, you have told me a lot about social media and its benefits, but if you are sitting in a meeting and staring down a high-level executive, what would you tell that person in two sentences to get your point across?”
I struggled to answer that question concisely in the first go around. I’ve written 30 posts amounting to somewhere in the neighborhood of 15,000 words in the last 6 weeks—but when you ask me to sum that up in two sentence I am hard pressed.
Here was my response: “Social media flies in the face of the marketing efforts that are based on hitting as many eyeballs as possible—the same marketing efforts that have failed pharmaceutical companies. Instead, social media is a more targeted form of marketing that requires a company to engage in a two-way dialogue, add more value than it extracts and provide content of value to a community of people, congregated online, that have expressed an interest in that topic.”
See, not so easy is it? It took me two run-on sentences to get in the vicinity of my point. What’s your answer? In two sentences, tell me what social media is and the value it brings to pharmaceutical companies.