Saturday, June 22, 2013

Overcoming Pharma’s Social Media Challenges: My Roche Digital Academy Presentation

I spent the last two weeks or so touring Germany and Italy -- specifically Berlin, Munich, and Milan -- stopping along the way to give presentations at Bayer Health in Berlin (see here) and at the Roche Digital Academy in Milan (see here). I met many digital pharma people working inside and outside these companies who are very passionate about what they are doing. I hope to highlight some of them in future posts and interviews. Right now, however, I will document my Roche Digital Academy visit with photos and the presentation itself.

The Roche Digital Academy is a project that has enrolled over 80 Roche employees who are participating in a 6-month Master Course of study created in collaboration with the School of Communication IULM in Milan, Italy. Graduates will be recognized with an academic certificate from the IULM. It's a cool idea because many pharma executives and product managers may be "Social Media Dummies" who can benefit from some training (listen to this podcast).

Davide Bottalico, Marketing Manager Digital Area, and Denis Dina, Digital Strategic Planner, at Roche Pharmaceuticals, were my hosts in Milan and the creators of the Digital Academy. Their team also includes Gaetano Vancheri, eMarketing Specialist, Stefania Nicastro, eMarketing Specialist, and Alessia Ferrario, eLearning Specialist.

The night before my presentation, Davide treated me and his team plus a few Information Management colleagues (Benedetto Scamarcia, Daniele Giuseppe Panigati, and Norma Giussani) to dinner at Al Garghet, a Milanese restaurant in the countryside south of Milan. Probably the name, Al Garghet, comes from the surrounding rice fields. In ancient Milanese dialect it meant "the croaking of frogs." I did indeed hear frogs as we left to return home or, in may case, back to my hotel. The following photo montage was created by Davide. I added the numbers to identify the people in the photos.

I was happy to see the camaraderie between the digital marketing team and the IT people because I've had experience were the two groups were at odds (see, for example, "Lazy IT 'Nazis' Thwart iPad Use by Sales Reps"). I mentioned this to Daniele who plans to roll out an all-iPad sales management solution in the near future (see "Tablet Detailing Evolution According to Roche Italy"). Clearly, Daniele is not one of those "IT Nazis" that say "No iPad for You!"

Here's my presentation:

Overcoming Pharma’s Social Media Challenges from Pharma Guy

I hope to continue my speaking tour and would love to meet more digital savvy pharma people around the world. If you are interested in bringing me in to your company to make a presentation, email me:

P.S. Davide and Denis, being good marketers, have a whole display case full of Roche Digital Academy branded "tchotchkes" such as backpacks and hats that they use to promote the Academy. Of course, they gave me a couple of these to take back home, including the hat, on the condition that I post a photo of me wearing it. So, here it is:

Thank you Davide et al! Of course, the free dinner and a few "tchotchkes" will not sway my opinion of Roche or the Digital Academy.

P.P.S. Disclosure: Roche paid me an honorarium for presenting at the Digital Academy.

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