As everyone runs to digital, is it a boot camp, catch-up or race?

By October 9, 2013Uncategorized

If you are a client, how would you measure the sophistication of your own digital efforts? What is your Digital IQ?

Digital iq form columbia report 2010
At a recent Ad Age Digital Day, it was declared that: digital is dead, it is integral to everything. Then, the other day, a friend of mine in the industry made an observation, to paraphrase: pharma seems on the verge of a Transformation, but what does that mean and what will it look like? 

And since "Digital" is the catalyst and the challenge for clients at the center of this "Transformation" take a look at your Digital IQ — where do you rank? Most companies still build a site and basically walk away for a year; many do not apply CRM Best Practices, like true segmentation, parsing data gathering, value-exchange and subject line and content testing. 

Thus, are you in boot camp (starting point), catch-up (we have pieces in place, but it is uneven) or race (where you use it for competitive advantage and competitor blocking)?

First thing when I think of digital and clients is: what is their Digital IQ? This concept was brilliantly described by a White Paper Report ( from 2010 by L2 consulting — and I find this still timely to share. They applied a type of score card across many digital efforts and therapeutic categories.  

Now, what is interesting is that if you go to the MM&M Awards for 2013 (, you see that even among the best of the best, digital is still somewhat hand-cuffed by skills, legal skittishness, and a slow manufacturing-based culture. Centers of Excellence have done a good job integrating digital into the overall marketing mix, and the results are clear in some of the better more interactive winners. But the Best winners are still unbranded work, which is like wearing a disguise to make yourself look better. 

One Silver Winner I am proud to say I worked on was for Amgen's biologic education campaign to professionals, called "Manufacturing Matters." (

Buildingbiologics home page

What was fascinating, was that it was a corporate initiative which had billions on the line: what does the world's largest biotech do about the upcoming biosimilar market? The client knew they had a tough education process to accomplish to get HCP's to understand biologic manufacturing was complex and could not be easily replicated. They used education as a tool to blunt.

Offline marketing was all drive-to-site — but we knew that the information was so complex it would have to be delivered in a different way — infographics, with a call-to-action to submit a question to a KOL. So, we coupled complex information with simplified information design, and what could have been a passive Brand-like exercise, had a strong direct marketing and human element by allowing the conversation to continue via the KOL. From a Digital IQ, this meant we used smart visual approaches and new information to engage and provide value, then provided a human connection in the form of the KOL to lead them on, deeper in to their understanding. In other words, we used every means to not let the visitor just visit and leave. 

What was our Digital IQ? I am not the one to judge. But the simple fact is, we based the work on insight, used Best Practices from Information Design and provided a KOL to answer questions — something many many HCP's are drawn to. The client's IQ was pretty high.