Big Pharma to Boost Online Marketing. Why HR Marketers Should Care.

According to new research, pharmaceutical marketers say they plan to increase their online marketing spending this year and decrease spending on traditional media.

What does this have to do with the human resource marketplace?

A lot.

Of course I am a little biased (I used to work in the pharmaceutical industry), but regardless of what you might think about big pharma, they know how to market. For starters, they've been doing it for a really long time - longer than most of us have been alive. They operate in a highly regulated environment. Their primary "buyer", medical Doctors, are not exactly a pushover and they also must influence a lot of different buyers and purchase influencer's across the B2B and B2C space - consumers, pharmacists, nurses, caregivers, wholesalers, etc., etc. etc. Trust me, they know how to market.

So when I read that big pharma plans to spend more this year on Web sites, SEO, search and e-mail marketing, and less on TV and radio, I know the message we've been preaching the last two years is dead on accurate.

What's that message?

That you must have a strong online presence so you can be more easily found by your buyers (and purchase influencer's) when they go online. This is important because the Internet is second only to peers when it comes to where HR professionals go to identify vendors for HR products/services they may purchase.

In other words, you take your message directly to your buyer and bypass traditional media. And the best ways to build online visibility is through (in no particular order) search-optimized press releases, blogs and blogger relations, direct email marketing, SEO, and other Web 2.0 tactics.

And speaking of big pharma and the Internet, I read an interesting blog posting today titled Zyrtec 'guerilla' flyers spur blog buzz that discusses a new guerrilla marketing campaign for over-the-counter Zyrtec. Basically, flyers were posted on telephone poles in highly visible locations with what appears to be a handwritten note saying, "Missing 2 Hours. Last Seen: While waiting for Claritin to start working. If found please call: 1-800-4-ZYRTEC". See image on this page.

This in itself was nothing groundbreaking in terms of marketing but the Internet makes it work because the blogosphere picked up on it and because JNJ will reinforce this message through both Web 2.0, traditional and DTC (direct to consumer) marketing.

Maybe we'll see some interesting flyers on telephone poles at the SHRM show in Chicago this year :-)

Posted by Mark Willaman

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