Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Blogs are Done! What’s Next for Pharma Marketing?

Even before the pharmaceutical industry has fully embraced blogs and learned to use them for product promotion, customer support, disease awareness education, and public relations, BusinessWeek refers to their 2005 story "Blogs Will Change Your Business" as an "outdated relic" (see "BusinessWeek: Beyond Blogs").
"But blogs, it turns out, are just one of the do-it-yourself tools to emerge on the Internet. Vast social networks such as Facebook and MySpace offer people new ways to meet and exchange information. Sites like LinkedIn help millions forge important work relationships and alliances. New applications pop up every week. While only a small slice of the population wants to blog, a far larger swath of humanity is eager to make friends and contacts, to exchange pictures and music, to share activities and ideas."
Are Blogs Done?
Steve Rubel, a PR executive and leading blog evangelist doesn't blog much anymore, according to BusinessWeek. "He lets his popular Micropersuasion site sit fallow for days on end. That would have been sacrilege when we wrote our article. Back then he was posting a dozen times a day—even from bed."

lately, I've been neglecting my blog as well. Can it be, as BusinessWeek claims, that MEGABLOGS are squeezing out the lone blogger? Regardin Rubel, BusinessWeek says "In 2005, a smart and hyperactive PR guy with a blog could actually be a leader in tech coverage. Rubel came up with scoops. Since then, megablogs with paid staffs, such as Michael Arrington's TechCrunch and Om Malik's GigaOm, have become titans."

Yes, it's damn hard keeping up with the Pharmalots and WSJ Health Blogs in the Pharma BlogosphereTM space. I cannot possible hope to beat them at scoops -- although, sometimes I do (and I gloat about it when I do; see "Sepracor Not So Keen to Spend Big on DTC for Its Next Product!"). But I can offer my own unique perspective that's unencumbered by kowtowing occasionally to news sources (ie, pharma executives and corporate communications people).

But I am neglecting my blog as I simultaneously delve deeper into online social networking tools while organizing a real-world networking event: The 4th Annual Networking Dinner Reception (Princeton, NJ * June 4, 2008 * 6:00 PM - 9:30 PM).

To promote this event AND to make it more successful for attendees, I have used the following "beyond the blog" tools, some of which you can classify as Web 3.0 applications:

My Google Map -- this is a map I created that shows the location of all registered attendees along with their names, titles, photos, and public profiles that I obtained from LinkedIn. I invited each attendee to collaborate with me on the map by adding information to their pop-up profiles that users see when they click on the map. You can see the map and read more about how I intend to use it after the event here: "Using Google Maps to Build a Vendor Village".

Widgets, widgets, widgets! -- You see these things everywhere! I have a few of them running in the left-hand column of this blog and on my various other web sites. The widget at the top receives and displays news feeds about updates I post regarding my networking event. Every time I send an e-mail notice about the event out to subscribers of Pharma Marketing News, I add that message to this news feed and it is instantly available to the much wider universe of my web site visitors, which number about 200,000 per month compared to about 5,000 opt-in subscribers to my newsletter. Soon, I will be doing the same thing for ALL the e-mail notices/ads I send out to subscribers -- maybe blogs are not done yet, but e-mail sure is! My audience now can choose to receive messages from me 3 ways: by e-mail, by news feed, or by accessing widgets on my web sites!

Social Networking Forums -- I signed up every registered attendee to the Pharma Marketing Forums social network site. They can use the tools there to hook up with other attendees BEFORE the meeting and make them their online "buddies" AFTER the meeting to continue to carry on the discussion. For more on that see this update.

Twitter -- I am now "tweeting" on Twitter -- you can see my recent tweets on the left. According to BusinessWeek "A Dell (DELL) employee who goes by the Twitter name of Ggroovin tells us that Dell's service on Twitter has brought in half a million dollars of new orders in the past year. Some on Twitter sniff around for the next job. 'The new résumé is 140 characters,' tweets 23-year-old Amanda Mooney, who just landed a job in PR."

I can't say that I have made money from Twitter, but I can see the future use of it for pharmaceutical marketers (see "I'm All a Twitter Over Twitter! Viral Social Marketing at Its Best?"),

Other tools I am using include:
  • LinkedIn
  • Cbox Chat Widget
Meanwhile, I have neglected this blog and it may never again be as high up there in my communications plan as it once was.

Last fall, I proposed a panel discussion on this trend away from blogs. The panel is entitled "Blogs are Done! What’s Next-Web 3.0?" and is part of the upcoming Pharma 2.0 conference in Philadelphia. I will be moderating that panel.

Frankly, at the time I proposed this panel, I did not have many ideas about what was "next," but in a few short months that has changed dramatically as the above shows.

I invite you to comment on this topic and tell me what's next for pharma. You can submit a comment to this blog, join the discussion in the eMarketing Forum, or use this chat widget (if it works here):


  1. Anonymous2:23 PM

    Hey John - blogs aren't done; they're still the voice of the people (even if "the people" are paid by media conglomerates). Web 3.0 is all about getting the content that's most important to you when you need it and how you want to consume it. Much of that content will be user generated; much of it will be written by bloggers.

    Speaking of widgets and new technology. You should have a looks at Sprout. I've shown this to a few of my clients, and the general consensus is - they love it.

  2. Anonymous9:09 PM

    I read the same BizWeek article on blogs. The podcast was good too. For me, blogs 'DO' create good content sources. When I say source, I mean authorship. Blogs are more professional. They are prose. Twitter is tight words and that works too. But Blogs have passion...

    I read your blog once a week. Keep it up...

    Oh, on the previous comment. Sprout is cool...

  3. John:

    Nice post. Unfortunately, the Pharma 2.0 conference was canceled. I was also invited to speak.


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