If they do it, they may be doomed to fail miserably because of lack of knowledge or experience or because their effort is shot down internally by legal/regulatory before it ever gets off the ground.
But, if they don't, they may be doomed to fall behind their competitors who have overcome the challenges -- conservative internal regulatory environment, incompatible corporate culture, and lack of knowledge.
It's a lose-lose situation. Or is it?
Before you give up all hope and resign to be dragged down to social media marketing hell, you might want to take the short questionnaire I have developed that will rate your company's readiness to engage in social media marketing.
By filling out the Pharma Marketing News Rate Your Social Media Marketing Readiness online questionnaire, you will discover where you may need to augment your knowledge about social media and what internal regulatory and cultural hurdles you may need to overcome to implement a social media marketing program.
The questionnaire asks you to answer a few short questions:
Regulatory Environment (applicable only to companies regulated by the FDA)
- In your opinion, what is your company’s general regulatory climate?
- There are a number of legal and regulatory issues associated with a drug firm’s participation in or sponsorship of social media. How well do you and your colleagues understand these regulatory risks?
- How well do you think your company will be able to successfully address these compliance issues?
- What is your company’s tolerance for risk (e.g., initiating new or untested marketing tactics, launching bold corporate initiatives, etc.)?
- How does your company normally react to negative commentary from the media, physicians, politicians and other stakeholders?
- How uncomfortable would your company be advertising in a publication or on a web site that often contained editorial content critical of the pharmaceutical industry yet whose readers very closely matched your target audience?
- Rank your knowledge of social media in general – i.e., how familiar are your with various forms of social media and how they are used?
- Rank your knowledge of how social media are impacting the pharmaceutical industry’s customers and other stakeholders – i.e., patients, consumers, healthcare professionals, policy makers, etc.
- Have you ever personally used social media (i.e., read an online forum or posted a message to an online forum, submitted comments to a blog or written a blog post, edited a wiki, etc.)?
Hopefully, this will give you a better idea of what obstacles you and your company need to overcome before you attempt a social media marketing campaign.
Access the questionnaire here.