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Reviewing Last Years Predictions (2008)

I published an article in Product Management Today this time last year, making predictions about what 2008 has in store for eMarketing. I thought it would be fun to review it now that 2008 is over… How’d I do? You be the judge.

E-2008: What’s Next?

INTRO—A new year brings new change, and 2008 is no different. The industry must watch for, and evolve with, the successful E-marketing trends for pharmaceuticals.

A new year is upon us. This is a natural time for making predictions and prognostications. This article highlights 10 possible trends for online advertising and, in particular, E-marketing pharmaceuticals in 2008.

Closing the Gap. Pharmaceuticals have lagged behind almost every industry in terms of the percent of their marketing budget spent online. Other industries are spending 20% of their budgets online, whereas most pharmaceuticals are still in the low- to mid¬–single digits. As pharmaceuticals continue to realize positive return on investment and greater efficiency and measurability from online advertising, 2008 will see that cross-industry spending gap begin to shrink.

Year of the Physician. With 99% of physicians online, according to Manhattan Research, 2008 will be the year when the pharmaceutical industry and the many supporting marketing and services industries really begin to embrace the Web as a tool to more readily communicate with their most important customers—the physicians who prescribe their products.

The UGC Debate. Although pharmaceutical companies may not overcome the legal conservatives and embrace user generated content in 2008, we are likely to see the beginnings of serious debate and discussion on consumer and professional engagement and interaction in the new Web 2.0 world, where consumers, even more than brand managers, define and control a brand.

Media Shift Acceleration. The changing trend of consumer consumption habits and the shifting of advertising dollars that are following the consumer’s attention will continue and accelerate. As pharma companies continue to downsize sales and support staff, efficiency in media placement will become increasingly important, and the Internet will continue to shine for its accountability.

Continued Consolidation. Online advertising agencies and other providers will continue to consolidate in an increasingly competitive environment. As the shift from traditional media to online increases and accelerates, traditional agencies and publishers will scramble to stake their positions in the new world order. Audience aggregation is critical, and consolidations among all players will continue in 2008 and beyond.

Internet Innovation. We are still in the very early phases of the media shift, and consolidation will only extend an invitation to new market entrants with fresh ideas, technologies, and business models. 2008 will continue to be a year of exciting innovation for online media and Internet technologies. Let’s hope it is also a year of innovation for health care and pharmaceutical R&D pipelines.

To Go, Please. 2008 will be the year the mobile web begins to penetrate the early majority. With devices like iPhones Blackberries, and Blue Tooth accessories becoming fashion icons, it will not be long before we are all connected, all the time, everywhere. The “ubiquitous web” where we are living “on” the Internet will not be here in 2008, but we will begin to really comprehend what that world of the not too distant future will feel like.

More with Less. Pharma companies will continue to pare back the salesforce and even other staff, but owing to the rapid productivity gains provided by technology and the efficiencies gained through online marketing and communication, they will be pleasantly surprised with their efficiency and productivity.

Video Kills the Radio Star. Video will continue to surge in popularity as podcasting loses some momentum in comparison. As broadband proliferates and mobile devices gain in video sophistication, sound without video will somehow seem incomplete.

Google Tarnish. After an entry into health and literally hundreds of other areas ranging from politics to outer space, Google will begin to lose just a little luster as the company loses focus and that, contrary to investor belief, Google can’t solve all of the world’s problems.

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