Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Not Your Father's SEM! YouTube Empowered and Geo Targeted, Just to Name a Few New Things to Consider

One of the unique things I do is attend several pharma industry conferences and write up highlights of selected presentations in Pharma Marketing News. Usually, that gets the information to my readers within a matter of weeks as opposed to months for other publications. For example, in the February 2009 issue -- scheduled to be published March 3 (see the Pharma Marketing News Editorial Calendar for a summary of the contents; sorry for the delay).

But a publishing turnaround of days or weeks are not fast enough these days, what with blogs, twitter, Facebook, etc. That's where this blog comes in handy. This morning I published some news I heard yesterday at the 21st Annual DIA Conference on Marketing Pharmaceuticals in a Time of Change conference. So far that story about a new FDA warning letter (see "FDA Warns GSK About Enlarged Avodart Ad Imagery") has not been picked up by any other blog or news source, which surprises me! But, still, you heard it here first, unless of course you were actually at the meeting!

Today I attended another conference -- ExL Pharma's 3rd Pharmaceutical Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Strategies Conference in Princeton, NJ. Pharma Marketing News was a Media Partner for this conference and way back in January I interviewed two conference speakers -- Laura Pfister, VP, Interactive Media & SEM, IGNITE HEALTH, Buddy Scalera, VP, Interactive Media, QI INTERACTIVE, A COMMONHEALTH COMPANY -- on my Pharma Marketing Talk LIVE podcast show, entitled "Emerging Search Engine Technology Drives Digital Integration Strategy."

I have to admit that I thought it would be just too technical for me, but I WAS WRONG! The presentations I sat in on were very informative without being dumbed down to a marketer's level. Jaimie Strovich, president of, was pretty technical. I forgot to ask him why vBulletin was better than PHPbb and to get the correct syntax for rel=canonical. Oh, well! He did, however, give away his book entitled "Search Engine Optimization with ASP.NET," which I am sure has all the details! Of course, I was looking for something more like "Search Engine Marketing for Pharma Marketing Dummies!"

One piece of wisdom I did get from Jaimie was this: "It would be good if marketers knew more about SEM technology and if SEM geeks" -- of which Jaimie admits he is one -- "knew more about marketing." How true. How true.

Conferences like this one are a good way to advance that goal. Unfortunately, the economy is such that many pharmaceutical marketing people are simply either afraid to leave their offices or have had their conference budgets cut. After all, no one in pharma wants to appear to on a "junket" at a hotel on Route 1 in Princeton, NJ, feasting on a rubber chicken/mushy Spaetzle lunch! Not that it wasn't tasty!

This conference was more like a short course on search engine marketing. And it didn't include a lot of speakers who merely highlighted their wonderful case studies. They actually provided useful information that you could take back to your office and benefit from right away.

I won't get into details here -- you'll have to wait for the March issue of Pharma Marketing News for that. But I want to just mention a few takeaways, including:

Search Engine Marketing is evolving rapidly and it's no longer simply a matter of purchasing keywords on Google. These days you need to differentiate yourself through linking and social media in order to get top ranking in search engines. Perhaps two out of the top ten search results are social networking sites. Search google on "Pharma Marketing" and you'll find this blog in the #1 and #2 positions and the Web 1.0 Pharma Marketing Network site only #3!

Did you know, for example, that Youtube is the second biggest search engine by volume? What's your Video Search Engine Marketing strategy? Laura Pfister suggested that video syndication via Youtube -- ie, placing your video on YouTube -- is much more effective than putting it on your branded web site. Why? Simply because more people will find it and view it on YouTube! You'll have to know how to get it ranked high up on YouTube searches, but I'm not going to give that secret away here (subscribe to Pharma Marketing News and you'll get the details in the March issue).

Laura also went into some detail about Geo targeted search engine marketing and how it is a great tool for recruiting patients for clinical trials or for sales force support in reaching "white areas" where you have no sales reps. She also mentioned that SEM will NOT help you reach "no-see" physicians. Anyone out there know why not? Another point Laura mentioned about Geo search was to be sure that your legal/regulatory people know what additional text Google automatically adds to Geo-enabled pay-per-click (PPC) ads. Hint: Google will add the location at the bottom of the ad. Not sure why legal/regulatory need to know this, but, as Laura said, they may get upset if they didn't know about it.

OK. That's enough for now. Time for dinner.

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