< Back to Insights


Digital Pharma Week devices

Recently, the publishers of Fierce Pharma and Fierce Biotech, Fierce Life Sciences, (also producers of Digital Pharma East and dozens of other events) put on their first all-virtual conference, Digital Pharma Week. Rather than relate a recap of the three-day online event, we found it much more enlightening to collect the common themes.

Successful digital product launches need to combine novel digital mechanisms with old-school marketing practices.

Michael Jafar, CMO of Evolus, explained their experience conducting a 100% digital product launch for Jeuveau, the first new facial-wrinkle-smoothing neurotoxin injection approved in about a decade. He explained how the brand had combined “old-school practices” like direct mail with new approaches like a physician program that took a frequent-flyer approach to offer rewards.

Customer experiences and high-engagement content require data. More simply: good marketing requires data.

As Simon Pilkowski of Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health said, “A fool with a tool is still a fool, but a fool with a process at least knows what to do next.” He explained the vital need for a framework to ensure success, and shared his own:

  1. Defining success clearly
  2. Collecting and tagging data
  3. Reporting performance
  4. Generating insights
  5. Optimizing

The silver lining of the very dark cloud that is the COVID-19 pandemic is the turbo-boost that it’s given to digital transformation – which is still a big need in pharma. 

Lorenzo Anti from Pfizer shared the approach the company had taken to digital transformation over the last three years. In a separate presentation, Bryan Mallitz of Merck Vaccines shared his approach, and the need to pilot and pivot. “Brands tend to go back to what they’re comfortable with,” he pointed out. “You have to bring them along for the journey.”  

If these topics – launching and selling digitally, using data more and more effectively, and the opportunity hiding within the pandemic for accelerated progress – sound familiar, perhaps you read our whitepaper from earlier this summer on how the pandemic will forever change pharmaceutical sales and marketing? If not, you can read this blog post summarizing it, or download a copy of the full whitepaper.