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Study highlights lack of digital marketing effectiveness within Pharma

11-12-2010 01:30 PM CET | Health & Medicine

Press release from: EPG Health Media

Study highlights lack of digital marketing effectiveness within Pharma

Pharmaceutical companies appear dedicated to increasing their digital marketing activities. While ‘digital’ currently receives a minority of marketing spend - less than 10% for most - two-thirds of study respondents expect an increase in 2011. This is one of the findings from a report published by EPG Health Media.

The 26 page report is based on independent market research conducted in September 2010, comparing responses from pharmaceutical marketing decision makers (internationally) to 28 questions related to their digital marketing activities. The report provides a snap-shot of both current and future trends and opportunities in digital marketing within pharma.

While commitment to digital channels does not appear to be in any doubt, the study concludes that this fact does not in turn imply improvement in digital effectiveness. In fact it points out a number of barriers to the future success of such activities. Budget, regulations (both internal and external) and lack of expertise are all sited by the study respondents as blocks to digital engagement, but the study concludes that one of the key barriers is the ability to monitor and demonstrate effectiveness.

43% of pharmaceutical marketing respondents consider their awareness of their brand’s digital ‘share of voice’ and that of their competitors to be ‘poor’ and only 14% consider their awareness to be either ‘good’ or ‘expert’. The reason for this is sited as the failure to track digital activities, with 51% of respondents accepting that their review procedures are either ‘limited’ or ‘very limited’.

“If pharma is to overcome the barriers to improvement of its online activity, it must ensure that future budgets are allocated not just for the creation and support of digital activities, but also to ensure that those same activities are monitored effectively.” Said Chris Cooper, Managing Director at EPG Health Media “If the resources to audit, monitor and report are not available in-house, they should be outsourced.”

Respondents are already heavily reliant on external agencies for supporting digital efforts, with 53% of respondents having most or all of their digital strategy implemented through third-parties and 78% using third parties to conduct at least some of the review of their digital activities. However the report concludes that the review procedures (both in-house and external) are either insufficient or the outcomes are not effectively disseminated.

This study will be of value to anyone working in healthcare marketing and communications by forming a framework to facilitate discussions within and between organisations regarding digital strategy; including allocation of resources and effective monitoring and updates of digital assets.

EPG Health Media is part of UK based IMR International, a private limited Company specialising in the delivery of e-communication and digital information solutions. The company’s activities fall within three key areas of competency; electronic publishing, communications solutions and market research. Further information can be found at

The full report “Pharma Digital Effectiveness – an independent investigation into pharma perception of digital strategy, digital resource and digital ‘share of voice’” is available to download for free at

EPG Health Media is part of UK based IMR International, a private limited Company specialising in the delivery of e-communication and digital information solutions. The company’s activities fall within three key areas of competency; electronic publishing, communications solutions and market research. Further information can be found at

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