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Feature

What's the Big iPad-ea?

Posted on: 01 Nov 11
What's the Big iPad-ea?

Summary

We’re seeing increasing demand for pharma marketing solutions to be based on the iPad, and it’s not hard to see why. The pace at which the industry continues its move away from paper-based detail aids seems to be increasing. But what’s interesting is that remote ‘self-service’ edetailing does not seem to be growing at the same rate. The predicted disintermediation of the traditional field sales model hasn’t happened.

We’re seeing increasing demand for pharma marketing solutions to be based on the iPad, and it’s not hard to see why. The pace at which the industry continues its move away from paper-based detail aids seems to  be increasing. But what’s interesting is that remote ‘self-service’ edetailing does not seem to be growing at the same rate. The predicted disintermediation of the traditional field sales model hasn’t happened. Rather, the rep is still very much alive and kicking. And loaded up with devices too. For a time, it seemed like the TabletPC would be the platform of choice for face-to-face  digital presentations, but reps always complained to us about weight, battery life, and boot-up times. We had the impression that as a result the average pharma rep was never really sold on technology. Then along came the iPad and everything changed.

Technology strategy author Geoffrey Moore described the ‘whoosh’ sound heard in the early days of the internet when business people came to realise how important the technology was and how the internet was not about to disappear, but would really become vital for their business. We think you can hear a similar ‘whoosh’ created by the iPad in pharma. Why? Well, the device itself is a real winner – easy to  use, beautifully made, interactive, and the way it displays content – if appropriately designed – looks fantastic. Coincidentally, it also addresses all of those reps’ concerns – it’s light, the battery lasts for ages, and it boots in the blink of an eye. Added to which, the fact that it easily copes with office email, and does video calling, means that it’s the ideal device for the rep on the road.

And feedback from physicians is very positive too. They like the interactive nature of iPad-based details, and the added value content that can be included (like video) makes for a more interesting and informative encounter from their point of view.

Beyond all these ‘presentation-layer’ benefits, there’s more to this than a shiny new toy. With the right software, design and integration, the iPad can form the basis of a true Closed Loop Marketing (CLM) solution. For us, CLM means capturing data from the interaction between the rep and the physician, and using this to iterate future engagements (whether face-to-face, online, or in print) to create a more relevant and meaningful conversation. There’s a lot of technical stuff around CRM integration, but we’ll save that for another article.

Speaking of other articles, we plan to do a feature looking at iPad alternatives. Yes, it’s not only the Big Apple that makes slate-based devices, so we’ll be doing a shoot-out between the iPad, the Samsung Galaxy, and the very soon to be launched HP Touchpad. Should Apple be worried? Come back here to find out…

Paul Hartigan

Last updated on: 01/11/2011 10:10:12

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