This week my friend Shwen Gwee, Chief Digital Officer at Chandler Chicco, volunteered me to lead the ROI “Group Roundtable Discussions” at the Social Media for Pharma Conference in Princeton, NJ. This conference was organized by Advanced Learning Institute, one of my clients.

As always, discussions of “return on investment” in pharma marketing are fraught with difficulties, especially when talking about consumer and patient focused marketing efforts and even more especially when these efforts involve social media.

I came away with two insights from the discussions I led:

  1. Other than scripts written, practically everything pharma marketers measure for ROI analyses are surrogates for scripts written, and 
  2. pharma brand managers move in and out of brands too frequently to consider alternatives to ROI, such as ROR (“return on relationship”), which some experts propose to measure social media effectiveness.

The only way around #2 and to leverage social media effectively, is to have high-level leaders who oversee many brand teams, who “get” social media, and who encourage the adoption of social media in all patient-oriented communications.

While I have criticized many pharma executives of being “social media dummies” (see “Pharma C-Suite Social Media Dummies: Can They Be Trained?“) there are a few pioneers out there. Laura Kolodjeski and Dennis Urbaniak at Sanofi US Diabetes were mentioned by several people at the conference — and they were recipients of the 3rd Annual Pharmaguy Social Media Pioneer Award (see “Dennis Urbaniak, Joan Mikardos, and Laura Kolodjeski of Sanofi US Receive the 3rd PharmaGuy Social Media Pioneer Award“). Urnaiak is a VP and is the role model to which pharma “social media dummies” should aspire. (Urbaniak, I know, is not in the C-suite… yet!)

Today, Dyan Bryson, Managing Director, Inspired Health, was my guest on Pharma Marketing Talk. The topic was “Why is Putting the Patient at the Center So Difficult?” One point Bryson made at the end of that interview had relevance for #1. Bryson urged pharma marketers to “measure differently” by going beyond IMS NRx (new prescription) data and following what happens AFTER the prescription is filled to better understand the patient and implement “patient-centric” marketing. Here’s the relevant snippet of that interview:

(function() { var po = document.createElement(“script”); po.type = “text/javascript”; po.async = true; po.src = “”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s); })();

You can hear the entire conversation by listening to the following podcast:

Listen to internet radio with Pharmaguy on BlogTalkRadio