PharmExec Blog

Relationship Marketing Study Shows Breaks Down Online Drug Convo

Ambien is a huger seller and has a massive presence online, as affirmed by a study from new media agency Razorfish measuring social influence marketing—the strength that peer influencers have on different brands—across several industries.

The brands in the study were given a social influence marketing (SIM) score that measured two attributes—the total share of consumer conversations a brand has online (share of voice), and the degree to which consumers like or dislike a brand (net sentiment). The SIM score combines the two attributes to measure the favorable impact of a brand.

In the pharmaceutical category, Razorfish measured the SIM scores of the top five brands with the most consumer media spend in 2008: Ambien, Lipitor, Lunesta, Plavix, and Rozerem. Of the five medications, Ambien captured a majority share of voice at 58.8 percent. However, its net sentiment was one percent lower than Lunesta, which received 64 percent net sentiment (but only 9.3 percent share of voice).

“We did conversation monitoring with our partner, TNS Cymfony, and we [analyzed] the online conversation for the last six months of 2008,” said Lisa Flaiz, vice president, group director, national pharma practice lead at Razorfish. “We then established a benchmark index for each industry using the brands we chose to analyze.”

The data does not include conversations that are not publically viewable, such as forums that require registration or private Facebook accounts. However, that still leaves a ton of data from sources like Twitter, YouTube, and comments on blogs.

“The beauty and the curse of these open forums is that you give up control of the brand, and you have to be willing to accept that there will be some negative comments for the greater good of elevating the conversation around the disease state,” said Flaiz. “Elevating the conversation online is now [like a] funnel—it helps create awareness and preference and I think we can be encourage by this.”

Interestingly, Rozerem’s reputedly popular Abe Lincoln ads do not show much traction online, with only 0.6 percent share of voice and a total score of 0.5. That can’t feel good from a campaign that cost Takeda $91 million in 2007.

“That’s share of voice over the total industry conversation,” Flaiz pointed out. “From a volume perspective, you just aren’t seeing that much traction in conversation around Rozerem. I think most of the conversation around the beaver came from industry people.”

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