I Learned it in Philadelphia at Digital Pharma East

I strongly considered sharing a series of images showing my notes from my day at Digital Pharma East, Thursday, October 23. I used the entire complimentary Loews Hotel notepad, though I did not do so in an orderly fashion. There are a lot of arrows, asterisks, exclamations, BOLD NOTES, and even a picture of a heart. I am pretty sure it would harm the credibility of this recap if you were to see these notes.

So, to avoid looking like a madman (not to be confused with looking like “Mad Men,” which come to think of it also may not be so great), I have instead compiled a list of the nuggets of wisdom I gathered.

If you’re wondering what “the most important emerging digital trend in healthcare” is, you will find your answer in the list below! Possibly! You see, the first key lesson I learned yesterday is that the most important emerging digital trend in healthcare… depends on your client needs, your organization’s capabilities, your brand category, your patients, and your data. There is no one single trend to latch onto, because so many are emerging. Without further ado:

The 17 Most Important Emerging Digital Trends in Healthcare

    1. There is data to educate us about how patients behave at every point in their journey to prescription and treatment. It is easy to be overwhelmed. Don’t be; by setting focused goals and conversion points, you can learn to focus on the data that matters and shut out the noise
    2. The user’s path to prescription is less direct than it used to be; it is no longer a straight line, but instead is more like a Choose Your Own Adventure book


  1. Segment your audiences and target them with the appropriate messaging when — and where — it will be most effective for that audience
  2. Not all audiences are the same, and the time for treating them that way has passed
  3. Don’t try to boil the ocean in one day; it takes time to refine a highly targeted campaign
  4. Innovation that doesn’t fulfill the needs of the business is just an idea
  5. Sometimes when a client asks “What is the case study?” your answer might be: “You have to be the case study”; if you believe in the innovation, sell it
  6. Innovation at the brand level often encourages change at an organizational level; real innovation often filters up rather than down, because it is difficult to institute major shifts in approach without proof that it can work for multiple brands
  7. Heard ad nauseum: “Engage the user on their terms”
  8. Search and Social have converged; they are not separate domains or functions
  9. Stop collecting data and start interpreting it
  10. Online HCP content should complement your field force’s sales material, not mimic it; give HCPs an extension of your brand experience, not a duplication
  11. It is not enough to provide just information to HCPs and patients anymore; if you want them to interact with your brand, you need to provide value
  12. Especially for HCPs: Why are they prescribing your drug if it does not offer clear advantages in efficacy? What is the value your drug brings to the prescriber?
  13. Don’t consider your brand a drug to be sold to doctors, consider your brand a partner that can help doctors improve health outcomes for their patients (and provide tools and support toward that end)
  14. It isn’t just the content you’re serving that matters, it’s also how you serve it (text, video, images), where you serve it (on-site, social sites, in-office), and when you serve it
  15. Sell the condition, not your drug (an extension of last year’s theme of “think beyond the pill”)

By Joshua Spiegel, Associate VP, Search

About Joshua Spiegel

Joshua Spiegel has over 10 years of digital marketing experience, focusing on mainly search and content optimization for the last 7 years. He has worked with top pharmaceutical clients such as Johnson & Johnson, Teva Respiratory and Women’s Health, Aetna, and others to optimize their web properties and online campaigns.

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