Think Mobile. Think Small – 14 Mobile Musts From The Mobile Experts

ExL Digital Pharma East – Day 3 Mobile Wrap-Up

Special thanks to Ellen Hoenig Carlson for providing the following conference overview…


The final day of ExL Digital Pharm East #digpharm focused exclusively on mobile and was co-chaired by Bob Allen, Director of Mobile and Social Media, AstraZeneca and Brendan Gallagher, SVP Emerging Technology and channels, Digitas Health. Speaking first was Bob Allen who offered up this definition of #mhealth: “the practice of medical and public health, supported by mobile devices.”

While smaller than the general digital conference, the Mobile day was jam-packed with seven speakers who had lots to say about why Pharma needs to “Think Mobile First’ and how Pharma can best execute:

1. Remember the original Volkswagen bug: Practical, simple and useful? Bob Allen rewrote DDB’s old Volkswagen ad from “Think Small” to: “Think Mobile. Think Small.” as a way to say, ‘Pharma, don’t wait and wait to do the next big, sexy, shiny thing in mobile…there’s lots of pragmatic, ‘small’ things you can do right away that can be useful and have ‘big’ impact for your brands and patients”. E.G. consumer-friendly mobile sites, SMS texting

2. We saw lots of stats on mobile’s incredible growth…but one point Bob Allen stressed is that mobile phones are heavily used by the same folk that are uninsured (The MHealth Power User is evenly split male/female; skews Hispanic and African American with 47% between ages of 18-59 years old) …so might mobile help stop Pharma’s current ‘cycle of doom’ and contribute to reducing the cost of healthcare? Bob’s point: Mobile can be especially important to people who don’t have the ability to talk to a physician.

3. Find the ‘mobile sweet spot’—the intersection of mobile technology, customer behavior and marketing goals. “Don’t get caught up in the shiny new toy phenomena. It’s not about technology; it’s about understanding human/consumer behavior, how and when your customer wants to interact with you…shifting from being brand-centric to customer-centric, “says Bob Allen.

4. Adopt a new mobile mindset: Don’t get set in one form, adapt it…let it grow… Using Bruce Lee to deliver his mobile strategy, Bob Allen said, be formless, be shapeless, be water…

Other important themes frequently mentioned by speakers:

5. As shipments of mobile devices overtake that of PC’s, Mobile-friendly websites are a MUST if you want to insure optimal user experience, patient acceptance and regulatory compliance/safety information readability. Don’t be part of the 80-96% of Pharma marketers who have web sites that are not mobile friendly! Join the 4-20% of Pharma websites that have mobile-friendly websites…

6. Need to optimize for Mobile Search…40% of patients will use their mobile device next year for health research…

7. Don’t under estimate SMS texting; SMS provides lots of potential to reach and engage customers. Alan Stern delivered a great stat: 97% of text messages are opened and 83% read within 4 minutes. Jennifer Mons said, “SMS is King: 8 trillion messages were sent this year alone….average response time at 4 minutes much faster than email’s 48 hours…and SMS has less SPAM now…10% vs. 60% or so for email…Examples of SMS usage: reminders, appointments, follow-up engagement, providing helpful links…Jennifer Mons question for 2012 planning: How can we integrate SMS into everything we do?

8. To engage mobile users, you have to show them some kind of value…To create personalization and relevance? Think about mobile context—the intersection of place, time and intent.

9. Chris Crichton asks, “What is the right content for the on-the-go patient?”…Mobile is unique; it is about a personal experience, one size does not fit all…” Mobile allows us to provide patients (or physicians) with personalized experiences…Don’t just take existing content from your website and make it mobile…Develop programs that are proactive, and facilitate care between patient and doctor and between patient and support group.

4 Tenets of mobile adherence: Proactive > Segmented/Personalized > Engaging > Measurable

10. Mobile is not a new channel; it’s a new content consumption model, says John Vieira. Mobile allows movement down the purchase funnel WHENEVER the consumer wants to…Search queries by mobile device are highest during primetime hours…weekends…Mobile requires a content strategy of its own. Vieira also suggests making sales part of the mobile ecosystem with three pillars: communication, productivity and creative.

11. Mobile is like Desk Top Computers were 10 years ago. Seth Perlman reminded us that to optimize user experience, we’re back to caring again about platforms, versions, connection speeds etc. Mobile marketers need to also think about the links that they are sending customers to from their mobile sites…Are they mobile-friendly? Are you telling customers to ‘click’ when you should be saying ‘tap’? Are you using large, touch-friendly menus for your mobile site? How is your important safety information [ISI] showing up?

For a more detailed write up of his talk, read 10 Mobile Web Best Practices from IQ, the innovation lab from GSW Worldwide OR listen to John Mack’s blog talk radio interview of Seth Perlman on October 13, 2011.

12. Think Mobile First…creating your communication and engagement strategies for mobile’s small spaces requires tough prioritization. Can the act of focus and prioritization for mobile design help traditional website design? It did for Jennifer Mons’ lap-Band website. Learning from mobile design was integrated back into the Lap-Band’s overall website…

13. Mobile isn’t all about apps. A new App isn’t always the answer…unless it truly provides new value and information. Most apps are not used after they are downloaded…Chamaa says, “Remember there are over 9k apps. If you are planning to create a new one, be sure you can answer how your app is DIFFERENT. Consider if doctors will recommend it? [Consumers trust doctors most for recommendations on health apps.]

14. People who view video on mobile sites consume 2-4x more content. Chamaa recommends incorporating video into your mobile content strategy.

For the record, the seven speakers were:

  1. Bob Allen of AZ kicked off the day with his presentation: mHealth: Fact of Fiction? What are the Implications for Pharma Marketers?
  2. Alan Stern, Medimedia talked about integrating mobile at Point-of-Care.
  3. Chris Crichton of 5th Finger shared his view on how Mobile can help improve adherence.
  4. Seth Perlman of The Lathe provided many useful antidotes to show attendees why they should stop worrying and love the mobile web.  Seth provided many helpful do’s and don’ts.
  5. Jennifer Mons of Allergan made a case for why Mobile just may be the most important channel to watch with an interesting case study about Lap-Band.
  6. John Vierira of Daiichi Sankyo spoke about how to integrate mobile into your organization
  7. Laila Chamaa of Janssen Biotech went through the steps they took to mobilize their Psoriasis DTC launch.

Mobile was a great day. What were your favorite mobile takeaways?

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