DPW Preview: CASE STUDY: Industrializing Multi-Channel Launches in a Global Pharmaceutical Company

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This is the third in a series of previews of the Digital Pharma West Conference, to be held June 24-27 in South San Francisco. Click here for information.


By Zoe Dunn, Principal, Hale Advisors

I spoke with Andrew (“AJ”) Ploszay, Head, Global Multi-Channel Marketing, GlaxoSmithKline. AJ’s comments are his own and don’t necessarily represent the views of his company.

On the first day of the conference, AJ will present a case study on Industrializing Multi-Channel Launches in a Global Pharmaceutical Company. So I asked AJ what the key is to preparing for a multi-channel launch.

First and foremost, he says, there has to be a decision made on the core channels and/or tactic you will use or leverage. The biggest thing GSK has done is solidified on a select few “core” tactics and channels that every brand team should be leveraging to drive their messaging, he says. “This is a story about bacon and eggs – literally a story of involved and committed. The difference between what is involved and what is committed.”

What are the most effective channels, then, in his opinion?

“This is not an either/or scenario, it is an “all of the above” approach.  A brand in 2013 must be considering all channels, but I would prioritize the field, web, email, and direct mail.

In many therapeutic areas, without question, the rep casino online is still the primary channel, AJ says. This is then followed by the web – owned and operated, rather than earned or paid, and then email.

For product launches, AJ says GSK has found success in webcasts and virtual meetings. Because oncology is more of a global community, with experts in specific fields found all over the globe who can provide answers, the webcast lends itself beautifully to this. With information exchange taking place in seconds, minutes, and days it is imperative that we drive awareness at scale as fast as possible with a launch.  Webcasts or virtual e-meetings offer us both speed and scale.

AJ points out that it’s unwise to depend on a singular channel and that offline activity leads to online activity, a point that’s been proved through experience. The blending of offline and online is crucial to success, he says.

Often the conversation still starts first with the rep, the human being. “I personally have the belief the greatest influencer of a human being is another a human being,” AJ says. Despite cost issues and rapidly shifting channels, sales reps can still make a great impact in most sectors, he feels. For the sales rep, GSK has found that the iPad is the hardware of choice.

Second – without question, digital channels –that’s where our customer is and where many prefer to get their information, so as a marketer I contend it is our job to give our customers the information they want…when, where, and HOW they want to receive it.

For markets with no sales force on the ground, AJ says, GSK has found success using online and offline tactics together – he doesn’t discredit direct mail and journal ads in the oncology space. “We’ve had success leveraging search, display advertisings, SEO in certain markets … If I don’t have a sales rep and the primary call to action—or conversion – is getting a doc to go online and watch a video, we’ve had success by generating an action through a direct mail piece,” he says.

To hear the whole story, register for the 4th Annual Digital Pharma West, June 24-27 in South San Francisco.


Zoe Dunn
Zoe Dunn, President and CEO of Hale Advisors, is a digital marketing and communications specialist with over twenty years of experience in the field. She has extensive experience in both the agency and commercial marketing side of the pharmaceutical, medical devices, and biotech industries.

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