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Digital Pharma: Social media an 'enigma' for pharma

Published on 15/07/10 at 08:00am
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The vast majority of pharma companies now use social media in one form or another, but it is unclear how far they will go to invest in the tools, according to a new survey.

Cegedim Dendrite polled over 200 senior executives from the leading pharma companies for its 2010 Insights report and found that while most firms did invest in social media, there was much variation in the amounts they put behind it.

Asked how much of the sales/marketing budget was put into social media, 51% said their company invested less than 5% in social media, 22% said they were putting 5-10% into the channel, 9% were investing 11-20% and 2% put in more than 20%.

The report, 2010 Insights: A White Paper On Current Trends And Challenges Of The Pharmaceutical Industry, was written by Cegedim Dendrite’s president - Americas Angela Miccoli and senior director of global communications Drew Bustos.

“Social media is an enigma at this point for pharmaceutical companies,” said the authors. “Although according to the survey it is evident that companies see the value in it for marketing purposes, it is clear they are not willing to make major investments to further develop this communication tool. The verdict is still out on how this tool will be developed to greatly benefit the industry.

Pharma company and pharma manager use of social media

The survey found that virtually all respondents’ companies (97%) are using social media to some extent, with use most commonly directed externally – either for marketing (59%) or public relations (34%) purposes.

There was also some internal use, such for internal communications (27%) and human resources (11%).

Among pharma managers the personal use of social media was near total (97%).

The most popular sites were LinkedIn (53% of respondents logged on daily for personal use), Facebook (39%) and then Twitter (11%). But only 1% of respondents visited the early-naughties social media success story that was MySpace on a daily basis.

The survey

CRM software and healthcare data company Cegedim Dendrite’s polled 211 executives from leading pharmaceutical companies during May via an online survey.

The majority of respondents were based in North America (73%), then South/Latin America (17%) and the rest located in Europe or India.

In terms of seniority the largest tranche of survey respondents (36%) were at executive, vice president, or senior director level. They were followed by director level employees (30%) and then those at manager level (28%).

The 2010 Pharma Insights survey is available here (registration required).

Dominic Tyer is web editor for Pharmafocus and InPharm.com and the author of the Digital Pharma blog He can be contacted via email, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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Comments

It is worth downloading the report to review in more detail. The question about use of social media is rather strange “How is your company using social media to its advantage?” so I am not sure whether the all the respondents would have understood it in the same way. There also seems a bit of a mix up between personal use and business use. Finally the majority of the respondents were in the Americas. If Cegidim Dendrite are thinking about repeating the survey in Europe it might be worth their while asking the #hcsmeu group for help in wording the questions.

Thanks for the comment Paul. You make some good points - and 'm sure #hcsmeu would help with questions.

I've also just asked Cegedim via Twitter (@CegedimDendrite) if they have any plans to question European pharma executives on their social media attitudes, so will let you know if I hear anything back.

Dominic 

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