Last night, Clint Eastwood spoke at the GOP convention, mostly by pretending to talk to an invisible President Obama, sitting in an empty chair next to him.
If you got a good night’s sleep last night and missed it, let me assure you that this happened and that every single word I write here is true.
Regardless of your political beliefs or like/dislike of Romney or Obama, this is something that will be remembered for a long time. Why? Well, let’s see what happened next.
Well, like with almost everything these days, things turned online. As the place where anyone can say anything and reach everyone in the blink of an eye for almost no money, this shouldn’t be a surprise.
First, we got “Eastwooding,” a meme where Eastwood pointed at different types of chairs (those of you about to celebrate your 40th birthday might agree that the choice of Pee Wee Herman’s chair Chairy was pretty funny). People added funny captions to pictures of Eastwood and the soon-to-be-famous chair. Maybe you saw the picture of a fake newspaper clipping of Abe Simpson was entitled “Old Man Yells At Chair.”
People made ever increasingly interesting/funny/pathetic attempts at humor inside the meme and it kept shifting, growing, morphing and evolving.
Then that shifted to old people pointing at chairs. And then anyone pointing to almost anything was “Eastwooding.”
Then, because this isn’t weird enough, you got President Obama, who tweeted a picture of the back of his head in a seat marked President and wrote “This seat’s taken.”
And then, we we introduced to @InvisibleObama, because in this world, you’re nothing until someone makes a fake Twitter account about you or your idea.
This all happened while you were asleep last night.
To recap: An idea to get some press, to change the news cycle from “Paul Ryan seems to know what he’s talking about though even FOX News thinks he’s lying” and “Romney’s list of things he doesn’t want to talk about keeps growing” is now “Hey! Everyone loves Clint! And Clint loves America and the GOP! Yay!”
But that event shifted the course of conversation not one, not twice, but three times overnight. Overnight.
Now, I’d suggest that a meme like Eastwooding won’t much legs and will probably be a “hey, remember this meme” two months from now. But think how these two memes will affect the presidential coverage and thus the election. Memes. Helping us determine who the next American President is.
So if you don’t think the internet is serious business, doesn’t have the power to change minds, start and destroy careers and businesses, you are wrong. If you think your business’s 12-month plan for how to manage social media is adequate, in a world in which the tech changes weekly and the ways to use it changes minute-to-minute, you’re in trouble.
And it’s only going to get worse/better (depending on how you look at it). What happens if your brand, in an effort to generate awareness or change the news cycle ends up in a similar meme-hole? What can you do about it?
Are you ready for the future? Because it’s already here. Just ask the holographic head of Ronald Reagan the GOP was planning on using this year.
So how do HCPs get new info on pharma? Almost half go to standard sources like books and sales reps or go to conferences and symposia (based on recent survey data). Of course, according to data presented last week at the CRM forum, 80% of HCPs carry around a smartphone for clinical use (25% carry a smart phone and an iPad: those white coats have huge pockets).
We could just say that there is overlap. No biggie. Some people with smart phones might think that the screen is a little small for certain things, or don’t want to use it to read books. Sure. I get it.
But in the same survey at the top of the post, only a third of HCPs say they use the internet to get new info. Whatwhatwhat? 80% do clinical work on smart phones, but only 40% of them use the internet?
Either HCPs (like so much of America) don’t really know when their device connects to the web, or that we are seeing the last vestiges of the old school v new school fight as it falls away.
Okay, speaking from a pharma marketing perspective here, there are really two kinds of HCPs. They aren’t grouped Tech vs Non-Tech. They are grouped There Is A Way To Reach Them vs No Way. It’s not “no-see” HCPs that are hard for me to deal with, it’s HCPs who aren’t interesting in anything new. They don’t want new technology to use to prescribe or learn about new treatments. They don’t need a new toy or new ideas. They know enough to do what they need to do and are done. They don’t spend 8 hours a week after office hours learning new things (on average). They don’t view eDetails, see reps, go to conferences or… anything. As a marketer, I have nothing to offer them.
So-called “no-see” docs aren’t not interested in learning, they just need pharma to be better at being there with content when *they* need it. And we are. eDetails and FaceTime and virtual rep visits and HCP-facing sites and all the other ways we leave content for HCPs to use on their time are good. If we build content that assumes all these different ways of communicating, monitoring all channels in aggregate, making adjustments to each to create a successful communication strategy, we can stop worrying about if this channel or that channel is where they all are. Here’s the answer: They’re all over. Make good content and put it everywhere.
Vacation time! Have a great long weekend everyone!
Over on KevinMD.com, Dr. Eytan put together a quick survey of doctors on Sermo about HCP attitudes about social media. It would seem that HCPs are not interested in establishing an online presence in the social media world. In fact, as we have seen in other reported instances where HCPs attempt to stymie patients from even mentioning them on social networks, it would seem that there might be a real wall between HCPs and social media.
The first question is: are these cases outliers or are they indicative of a broader distaste for social and the web? I have no real numbers at my disposal (if you have them, share please!), but I can make some inferences. Since Dr. Eytan’s survey isn’t of HCPs overall, but of HCPs in Sermo, we can see that these people who don’t care for social media are fairly savvy internet users overall in that they are on Sermo and participating. That puts them one step ahead of most (though recent hissy fits about “sudden realizations” that Sermo was collecting data for marketing purposes may indicate that Sermo users aren’t completely internet savvy, I will assume for the sake of argument that if you are online and participating in an online community, you’re in the top quarntile of HCPs).
If these HCPs, ones who know more about social media than most have such a poor attitude towards social media, we can assume that those with even less exposure have even lower attitudes towards social media.
Any disagreements with my logic thus far? Okay.
Add the fact that HCP’s Facebook pages are better ranked than their professional pages on their practice websites and you’ve got an interesting shift building: HCPs who embrace social media will have a huge advantage against those who shun social media. Not only will Social-Savvy HCPs have better ranked pages online, when people try to make a decision about what doctor to choose, they are going to be more likely to pick the one they are the most familiar with, which would be the one that shows pics of the HCP fishing or hanging out with their dog or whatnot. Patients are going to pick Social-Savvy HCPs because they will presume that there will be a better connection with them and the HCP, if for no other reason that they can see who the HCP is and maybe (maybe!) even connect to them directly on social media sites (Can’t you see an HCP’s wall being full of posts from people who say things like “Thanks, Dr. XYZ! You made me feel so much better and that prescription really alleviated my issues! You’re the best!”? Who isn’t going to choose that HCP ten times out of ten versus the one with the single “professional in a lab coat with a stethoscope in an office” pic and a paragraph about what schools they went to?).
So let’s call this an opportunity for revolution. The Social-Savvy HCP can step in and take a lot of business from those (and they seem to be legion) who would avoid connecting to social media in any way. This is going to be the new “way things are” very soon. Non-social-savvy HCPs should stop pretending it isn’t about to happen and join the rest of teh world online.
Something occurred to me on the train this morning (yes, I spend my morning commute thinking about what to post here. If it helps, I spend my evening commute thinking about dinner. Wow. Now I’m hungry. Are you hungry? Then take a moment and want this movie on cinema’s greatest sandwiches. Don’t worry, I’ll still be here when you get back).
Anyway, in an effort to play Seth Godin and try and look for the edges of an idea or industry (what? you haven’t read Linchpin yet? Geez…) I thought, what part of the pharma market hasn’t changed much in a long time. The retail side. The biggest change in retail is that Walmart started pushing for better pill bottles (which are pretty cool, actually). Before that? Probably the decision to keep pharmacists on platforms. While the development side has churned out new products and product development models year after year, retail stays stagnant.
So what would have to happen for retail to shift? An entrenched market, a well-established network of retailers in some of the biggest and smallest companies, regulated pricing… Yeah, seems like the only that will change things is… chaos.
Chaos in the form of a massive retail player with cash in their pocket willing to smash down some walls and think things through from a blank piece of paper. Yeah, that’s going to be Amazon.
Why would Amazon enter the market? If you exclude “I just got sick and I need some antibiotics today” market, you’ve got everyone with a chronic condition, the elderly who usually need a slate of drugs for a long period of time in a well-regulated schedule, and preventative medicine. These are groups who don’t mind waiting two days for meds, and would probably be thrilled to have things delivered to their house.
Amazon apply their own “lowest possible margins!” model and lower the cost a bit, probably more than enough to cover the cost of shipping.
The real thrill will be the critical mass as Amazon becomes the third or fourth largest retailer and begins to negotiate formularies with either insurance companies or the manufacturers themselves.
One of the biggest issues people have with pharma is that it’s complicated. Even if you can navigate the insurance waters, there are thousands of prescribed drugs and the permutations of any two (let alone three or four) in terms of interactions are insane. What did Amazon do to distinguish itself a decade ago? Adding more data! Others who got this med also got this med (huh. My HCP didn’t give me that. I wonder why? I should ask her…). Reviews and effects (think of it! Millions of people talking about their meds! Outside of a regulatory sphere! Think of the research data that could be collected for free!).
Clearly, this is an industry that would benefit from a little shake up and I wonder how far along Amazon has thought this idea through.
As always, comments are on, and I am reachable @digital_pharma.