Time to Evolve! Overview of eyeforpharma’s ‘7th annual e-marketing Europe and mobile 2012’ event

Ángel González


Time to evolve – this was the claim used by the organization as the forefront message of this international event.

And in my opinion, it was much more than a claim, but a call to action, a kind of kick your ass invitation to escape out of your comfort zone and start to embrace social media marketing at the pharmaceutical sector.

Let me start by highlighting the main outcomes of the conference:

• More than 900 delegates from around the world, many pharmaceutical marketers, although surprisingly, very few Spanish delegates.

• A key message shared by speakers: the sector will no longer be the same, and the tools for changing it are available. Don’t wait for the change to actively give it shape and bring it to life.

“…the sector will no longer be the same, and the tools for changing it are available.”

• The extended social and digital experience, thanks to the ubiquitous connectivity and the huge adoption of mobile devices and apps on health, are undoubtedly heading us into the #mHealth world.

• The new pharmaceutical marketing is made up of conversations. Wanted or not, brands are co-created with the storytelling of HCPs and ePatients.

• It´s worth looking to other sectors and industries to see what they’re doing. An amazing keynote of Virgin Atlantic brought freshness to the conference and offered food for thought.

• Rules and regulatory constraints are there, but the best way to deal with them is by challenging them with digital, social media and mobile initiatives.

The two days conference report

Tuesday March 27

We always say that the issue with social media is not the technology, but the attitude towards dialogue and conversation, as well as the willingness of your company to be open.


“…the key issue is the culture of innovation within your organization…”


eyeforpharma wanted to start the conference by evangelizing about this principle: the key issue is the culture of innovation within your organization. A keynote of Kay Wesley, Global Director of Complete Digital addressed this topic

From then on, outstanding speakers shared different case studies around pharma e-Marketing and Mobile: John Pugh and Boehringer’s Facebook Strategy, Martin Dubuc and the story of Merck – Univadis, and Janssen’s Benedikt Hoffman in how to manage the change from a sales rep to a multichannel strategy.

Later, came two Stakeholder Panels: one headed by Denise Silber under the theme “New world of payers, pharma and online tools”, and the second addressing the topic “Europe and Canada – the regulatory update”.

The keynotes brought the mobile health experience with Dr. Axel Nemeth, from Vodafone, speaking about “mHealth beyond pill differentiation”, Sarah King from IMSHealth in “How mobile analytics enable decisions” and Fred Bassett from Blue Latitude in “Optimizing channels and touch-points for increased commercial success”.

The afternoon session ended with an interesting industry panel discussing the future of sales rep. My special and sincere thanks to Dr. Raquel Gomez (@rqgb), Pau Lepage ( @paulepage) and Jorge Juan Fernandez ( @jorgejuan) for their participation and the time spent in preparing their awesome statements and opinions.

Wednesday March 28

I was fortunate to deal with the introductions of all the speakers that day, it was a honor and I want to thank Lanre Ibitoye ( @LanreIbitoye), eyeforpharma, for that, and to all the speakers for their collaboration in providing me with their bios, which in many cases included “secrets and unveiled facts” about them. It was a privilege not only to attend the keynotes, but also to meet the awesome pool of speakers.

Before the individual keynotes, the day started with three interesting workshops that ran in parallel: Publicis Healthware on “Physical engagement through Mobile, Video and Social”, Elsevier and “Physician personas, know your customer” (I liked the title!) and one run by Melanie Brown and Timothy Moore from Exploria &amp, Capgemini in “Is CLM a career limiting move?


“…this is true world, an unstoppable trend…”


Lawrence Sherman led the Physician Panel, providing not only an enriching discussion about the new Doctor 2.0, but also a contagious energy during the delivery. No doubt doctors in this new era are very creative.

Afterwards it was the turn of individual keynotes of outstanding speakers: Alex Butler of The Social Moon on “Key multi-channel channels for pharma”, Antonio Ibarra – Spaniard! – from Pfizer sharing a case study addressing the way to choose and implement the right channels, and the surprise keynote: Fergus Boyd from Virgin Atlantic delivering the Virgin e-Strategy.

After the break the audience was split into two different tracks of great speakers: David Doherty in “The future of mobile in pharma”, Silja Chouquet sharing the main learning of her unique and gold standards studies on the Pharma Twittersphere, Gözde Unverdi from Bayer Healthcare delivering a case study of multichannel strategy, Christina Anthogalidis from Manhattan Research providing the latest and accurate findings of digital trends across physicians &amp, consumers, and the one and only Francis Namouk from Streaming Well rocking while delivering his keynote “Get Patients and physicians to learn with only video”.

A must mention was the industry panel headed by Alex Butler who was joined by James Musick from Genentech, Gillian Tachibana from Merck Serono and Serkan Erkovan from Boehringer Ingelheim.

Thanks to them all for their savvy thoughts and case studies. It helped me to reinforce my thinking that rather than a fad, this is an unstoppable trend initiated by these first, brave and successful initiatives.

Let’s keep evolving!


About the author:

Ángel González is the Founder and CEO of Ideagoras, a pharma advertising company based in Spain that is embracing the opportunities of social media. At its heart, Ideagoras is a business ecosystem that has as its core principle innovation in creating brand experiences and in bringing and managing change in organizations. For direct enquiries he can be emailed at angel.gonzalez@ideagoras.biz or visit www.ideagoras.biz/ for more information.

Is it time to evolve our thinking and embrace social media marketing in pharma?