Thursday, November 07, 2013

Social Media Listening by Pharma: Do the Ends Justify the Means?

This morning, I read with interest "The Value of Social Media Listening" by Alexandra Fulford, a ZS Business Consultant based in Zurich, Switzerland,

Alex focused on the "value in listening and doing research to identify the following elements" (click on image for enlarged view):

I soon realized, however that something was missing.

Most, if not all, of the value emphasized by Alex was the value for the pharmaceutical company (listener), not for patients, which I assume are the "listenees" in this case.

No doubt that collecting the sort of data Alex recommends will help pharma companies "develop more impactful messaging and marketing tactics," as Alex points out. It will also help them "engage with stakeholders" and "improve Search Engine Optimisation," which are all benefits accruable to the listener, not the listenee.

Alex closed with this statement: "But as with all things relating to social media, the focus needs to be not on the brand but the customer. It is this focus on the customer that will deliver the real value – both to pharma companies and their customers."

But what exactly is the "real value" for the "customer"; i.e., patient?

This is the question I hope to answer in a Live podcast interview of Trish Nettleship, Director, Social Media & Influence, UCB, Inc., about her company's approach to social media listening.

As she described it to me in a preliminary interview, "active social media listening" helps her company understand patient needs and issues -- including adverse events -- and how this results in better communications and patient experiences."

Listen live to this interview on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 2:00 PM Eastern U.S. -- or listen to archived podcast afterward -- here.

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