CBI Scene Blog

Why Pharma Marketers Need to Start Coloring Outside the Lines

Posted by Logan Fleck on Feb 7, 2014 10:39:00 AM

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Pharma Marketing is continuously shifting to incorporate the changing trends of a tech-savvy revolution. Gone are the days where pharmaceutical companies could place ads and gain market share solely based on their name. Standard ad campaigns don’t do it anymore; it’s all about rolling up your sleeves and getting into the mix of things. The key to a great exchange is engagement.

How can you attain this? Imagine your campaign as a page in a coloring book. Even though you want to stay in the lines, if you add color beyond the drawing, your page becomes more vibrant and inviting. That’s good marketing. The Pharma marketer should view getting great results as an ongoing process that employs a variety of concepts and techniques.

Although there are many regulations in place that prohibit disseminating certain information, there are still ways to throw a little fun into your strategy. For instance, kids with diabetes don’t want to be put into a category. They want to have fun while taking care of their health. A diabetic student came up with the idea of “Fantasy Diabetes,” which prompted his classmates to sign up and share the experience with him. After all, who doesn’t like football?

Disney Publishing and pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly came up with Spoonful.com, which is full of playful stories, games and tips for managing diabetes. This not only shows the innovative side of helping young people with diabetes embracing their illness, but it’s a great way to educate and get friends and family on board.

A PSA on cardiac arrest awareness has taken social media by storm. Using a zombie apocalypse as a backdrop, not only has it drawn people who think the concept is interesting, but it has opened the doors to educating the masses on what could possibly happen. This was clever, unique and most of all, memorable.

Here are a few other ways to engage your audience beyond standard digital marketing:


Audiences watch YouTube like it's TV. There’s nothing like a fun and quirky video to get people to take notice. Videos taped in real-time are engaging and heartfelt, even if they are funny. Contests or forums where people can share and upload their own videos will cause quite a stir – in a good way.


A picture is worth a thousand words. Great designs and images that tell a story and capture the essence of your message is key. Couple that with some great copywriting and you’ve got a winner.


Create content that engages your audience on a variety of levels. Make sure your words have meaning and can impact multiple demographics. Good copyrighting can make all the difference in attracting a captive audience. There’s music in your message – you just need the right lyrics to create a memorable song.


Let the masses speak! Patients are the source in finding out what people want to know.

Marketing messages should be captivating and informative, making a huge splash. The intent should be to get people talking long after the dust has settled. While social media is a great vehicle, the take-away should be as innovative as a new breakthrough in medicine. Do the research and create actionable steps that add value and variety while increasing brand equity. The best marketing messages are the ones that make clients feel that they helped in making your strategy work.

You can explore additional ways to engage your audience with inventive ideas for Pharma Marketing at the iPharma conference, May 8-9, 2014 in New York City.

iPharma Conference

(Image courtesy of eklektick via Flickr)

Topics: Brand & Digital Strategy