Digitally-Feeble Pharma Is Your Brand a Digital Genius or a Feeble-Minded Idiot?

By John Mack

When it comes to digital IQ, some brands are geniuses and some are feeble-minded idiots, according to the “L2 Digital IQ Index” for pharmaceutical brands, a first-of-its kind measurement of the digital competence of 51 pharma brands across eight therapeutic categories.

The index was created by think tank L2 in partnership with media agency PHD Network. They evaluated pharmaceutical brands’ digital presence across four criteria: Platform (40 percent, including site effectiveness and brand translation); Off-Platform Messaging (25 percent, covering digital marketing efforts such as online and mobile advertising); Search Engine Optimization (20 percent, based on visibility on top search engines); and Social Media (15 percent, defined by presence on popular 2.0 platforms). Each brand was scored against more than one hundred qualitative and quantitative data points, and assigned a Digital IQ ranking of Genius, Gifted, Average, Challenged or Feeble (see press release).

The top ten brands on the index are (ta da!):

  1. Viagra (Pfizer)
  2. Nexium (AstraZeneca)
  3. Chantix (Pfizer)
  4. Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo (Ortho-McNeil Janssen)
  5. Crestor (AstraZeneca)
  6. Tie between Gardasil (Merck) and Yaz (Bayer)
  7. Tie between Symbicort (AstraZeneca) and NuvaRing (Merck)
  8. Lunesta (Sepracor)

What’s interesting is that although AstraZeneca emerged as the industry’s digital powerhouse with four brands in the top ten — Nexium, Crestor, Symbicort and NuvaRing — it is somewhat of a “digital idiot savant.” Two other AZ drugs — Tropol-XL and Pulmicort — have a digital IQ in the feeble-minded idiot zone. This digital IQ disparity among brands within the same company seems standard within the drug industry (see chart below; click for an enlarged view).

Pfizer’s Viagra and Chantix are digital geniuses whereas Pristiq and Caduet are feeble-minded digital idiots!

How can that be?

The simplest answer is “brand silos.” In an interview yesterday, L2 founder and NYU marketing professor Scott Galloway told me that drug companies are “highly siloed by brand. There’s almost no sharing of best practices or competencies within the organization.” I hope he’s just talking about digital marketing! Which is bad enough.

The longer the bar in the chart above, the more “digitally siloed” is the company. AstraZeneca, it appears is not merely a digital powerhouse, it is also a siloed house!

On July 20, 2010, Scott Hagedorn (PHD Network CEO) and Scott Galloway (L2 founder and NYU Professor of Brand Strategy), were guests on Pharma Marketing Talk. On that show, they talked about the L2 Digital IQ Index for pharmaceutical brands, a first-of-its kind measurement of the digital competence of 51 pharma brands across eight therapeutic categories. You can listen to the podcast archive below.

Listen to internet radio with Pharmaguy on Blog Talk Radio

Pharma Even More Digitally Feeble When it Comes to Healthcare Providers!

“More than 60 percent of brands’ HCP [Health Care Professional] digital efforts result in Challenged or Feeble Digital IQs,” according a new Digital IQ INDEX® ranking created by think tank L2 in partnership with Vue Group. The results are shown in the following chart:

This is in stark contrast to the May 2010 Digital IQ Index™ for Pharmaceuticals that analyzed direct-to-consumer (DTC) digital efforts. That analysis found that 31 percent of brands were digitally “Challenged” or Feeble” (see above).

The report also concludes that “most brands are not purchasing HCP-targeted search terms, investing in mobile, engaging in email marketing, or investing in display advertising on physician portal sites.” For more information, including a table of IQ scores for 70 brands, download the report here.

The report laments the limited investment and adoption of digital technology to reach physicians and provide them product information on-demand and on their own schedule. For a Lilly case study on reaching physicians via the Web, see this Pharma marketing News article: “Pharma TeleWeb e-Detailing

This story was originally published in Pharma Marketing Blog on May 4, 2010 and April 17, 2011.

Issue: Vol. 10, No. 8
Publication date: 28 April 2011
Word Count: n/a

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