School’s Open! Many colleges, at least!

My sons are back at Penn State and I imagine them in lecture halls looking as engaged as the students shown here. One can only hope!

Soon, pharmaceutical marketing executives also will be going back to “school,” by which I mean attending the many industry conferences scheduled for this fall.

The Pharma Marketing Network Conference Calendar lists at least 10 live conferences and webinars in September. That list only includes conferences dedicated to pharmaceutical marketing and sales.

I have an interest in many of these conferences as a media sponsor, trade journalist, and/or speaker.

I will be speaking at a couple of these conferences in September and October and invite you all to attend. I don’t get paid for doing this, but I do get some discounts off registration in case you are interested in attending.

If you are a good writer with some experience, I can get you a press pass in exchange for coverage of presentations for Pharma Marketing News (see “Free Passes Available to Conferences” and “We’re Hiring!“).

My speaking gigs in September and October include:

1. THE Pharmaceutical Marketing Event
On Wednesday, September 19, 2007, (11:30 AM) I will present my views on the trials and tribulations of pharmaceutical company use of Web 2.0 tools for marketing. The presentation is entitled “YouPharma: A Brave New World for Pharma Marketing.” Here’s the synopsis:

Guidelines for the Web 2.0 Era
YouPharma: A Brave New World for Pharma Marketing

It’s not news to anyone that spending on DTC advertising and physician promotion is increasing, yet the return on these investments (ROI) is declining. A new approach to the way forward in pharma marketing is actively being pursued by pharmaceutical marketers and their ad agencies. This approach embraces “social networking” and other so-called “Web 2.0” technology, which is exemplified most notably in the non-pharma arena by YouTube and MySpace.

This trend could usher in a Brave New World of pharmaceutical marketing. Indeed, it will require a brave new pharmaceutical marketer to enter these uncharted waters teeming with public opinion mine fields and regulatory shoals.

Lack of regulatory guidance specific to online marketing should not hold the industry back from dipping its toes in the water. Just as PhRMA has developed guidelines for TV and print DTC, the industry should develop a coherent road map to guide its way through the brave new “YouPharma” world. This presentation will offer some starting points towards that goal.

  • Where are the Web 2.0 mine fields?
  • Evaluating Risk vs. Impact of various tactics
  • Rules of Engagement (e.g., “Open Healthcare Manifesto”)

I’ve written about this topic here and in Pharma Marketing News (see “YouPharma: New Rules for Pharma Marketing and Social Media“). Since then, the industry has moved forward and there are several case studies I can talk about.

I invite you to provide input on this topic and engage in the discussion thread (click here) I have set up at the Pharma Marketing Network Forums site.

2. Digital Pharma
Web 2.0 will also be the topic of a Point/Counter Point Interactive Debate I will be having with Marc Monseau, Director of Media Relations and J&J and the brains — as well as main blogger — behind J&J’s corporate blog, JNJ BTW.

This “debate” will take place at 2:15 PM on Wednesday, October 24, 2007. Here’s a synopsis:

A Point/Counter Point Interactive Debate:
Why Pharma Should Embrace Web 2.0 vs. Why The Industry Should Play it Safe and Hold Off for Now

Join a pharmaceutical industry corporate communications manager and an industry blogger in a debate of the issues surrounding the use of Web 2.0 technology – blogs, social networks, other user-generated content sites – by the pharmaceutical industry for marketing, corporate communications, and public relations purposes.

  • Taking the Point is John Mack, a well-known publisher and blogger in the Pharma Blogo sphere™, who argues that it is time for pharmaceutical companies to use the new Web 2.0 tools available to improve its marketing and public image.
  • The Counter Point position is taken by Marc Monseau, Director of Media Relations at Johnson & Johnson, who will discuss the regulatory, legal and other concerns that require a cautious approach to use of Web 2.0 by Pharma.

I usually do not handle the point side of this debate because I am more comfortable talking about best practices, compliance, and privacy issues related to using technology. Marc obviously has learned to deal with the legal and regulatory issues and has, by now, a lot of real world experience running the JNJ BTW blog.

All in all, I think this will be an interesting session in which we hope to engage the audience.

I also invite you to provide input on this topic and engage in the discussion thread (click here) I have set up at the Pharma Marketing Network Forums site.