FDA delays RX guidelines for social media

May 16, 2011 Leave a comment


Pharmacuetical companies lack social media guidelines

Pharmacuetical companies lack social media guidelines

According to Rich Thomaselli, Food and Drug Administration has delayed its pharmaceutical guidelines for social media and online advertising. Despite three seperate studies that began in 2009, it has failed to decide the impact of consumer advertising for prescription drugs. Delays frustrate marketers and health care providers that lack information and the ability to meet the needs of clients and consumers.

The FDA has opened a 60-day public-comment period to study the impact of online consumer advertising. The timeline ends June 27. However, the agency wants to combine previous data before reaching a decision.

Meanwhile, the industry that have stagnant new product pipelines. Patent expires in the next 18 months on several major products that account for more than $51 billion in annual sales, including Pfizer’s Lipitor, the world’s best-selling prescription medication. Pharmaceutical companies are trying to increase profits by lowering ad spending with cheaper marketing platforms such as branded websites and social media.

Digital spending is on the rise. Also, eMarketer estimated that health-care and pharma companies spent $1.03 billion on internet ads last increase of 13.9% from 2009. Drug companies are inhibited from doing more by a lack of guidance for social media.

The FDA is trying to assess how advertising rules governing print, radio and TV ads will apply to social media. How do drug companies portray accurate and complete “fair balance” — the risk and benefit information — in a Facebook post or a 140-character tweet?

“This [new study] is completely different and it’s completely irrelevant. This is just the FDA continuing to try to solicit input on what elements of advertising influence people in different ways,” said Peter Pitts, former FDA associate commissioner and president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.

 “The original regulations that presently determine FDA’s position on DTC promotion were written at a time when the available media for DTC promotion were print and broadcast, and the primary audience was health care professionals. This dynamic is shifting, and evidence is needed to support guidance development,” said the FDA in the Federal Register.

” FDA is loath to move quickly unless it involves product liability, like if someone is about to be poisoned by bad food,” said health-care agency executive Mike Guarini, the president of  Ryan TrueHealth. “Putting in social-media guidelines has become a joke. They don’t know when they’re going to do it, and neither does anybody else.”


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Personalization vs. privacy in web engagement

May 15, 2011 2 comments

Protecting privacy in cyberspace

 According to Josette Rigsby, organizations are adopting techniques to deliver personalized and engaging interactions with audiences across multiple channels/devices. Personalized means individuals relinquish some control of their personal data.

The “Data Customization and Privacy — Can They Coexist” panel at South by Southwest Interactive explored the risks and challenges of collecting data. As increasing amounts of user-centered content is collected, organizations drive business workflows based on user details. Technologies link  pieces of information about users. A privacy or data protection mistake could result in significant issues for technology leaders.

Gerard M. Stegmaier, attorney, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, said, “Once personal data is out of the box, it’s out of the box for good. It can’t be put back in.”

Organizations can’t stop collecting personal data. The value of consumer data is too high, and consumers have come to expect personalization. Technologists must find a way to safely support it and ensure legal/regulatory compliance. As technologies such as web 2.0 and web engagement management increase, so does the enterprise risk and accountability for the collection, use, disclosure and stewardship of personal data.  Many enterprises have learned the hard way:

•A pharmacy sent a group email to notify customers that it was time to get a drug refill, exposing health data between a group of strangers

•The CTO of AOL resigned after the company (allegedly) accidentally released 20 million keyword searches for more than 650,000 users

 Enterprises are engaging via social media, collecting location data from mobile devices and interacting in ways that weren’t possible a few years ago.  According to panelists, steps can be taken to manage personal data.

•Identify and assign resources to address privacy and data protection. Address personal privacy requires collaboration between legal, marketing and IT.

•Understand  what data is being collected, how it is being used, who will have access and how long it will be retained across channels.

•Invest in privacy and data protection training.

•Ensure that an incident response plan is in place in case if something goes wrong.


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Urtak unlocks user insights with collaborative polls

May 15, 2011 Leave a comment

A new polling process

According to Ryan Kim  of GigaOM, Urtak, a small, New York startup simplified the polling process and allows communities to poll each other. This collabrative digital polling method is an interaction that can engage consumers and recover new information.

 The startup allows websites to drop in a simple Urtak poll widget on the sites. This can serve as a basic tool for yes, no, or I don’t care questions. It  provides fast interaction, with a simple structure that invites people to sort though questions quickly.
Users  answer a pre-set list of questions. They introduce their own inquiries. This lets a site  figure out what else their community is thinking.  Urtak organizes this new information into structured data that is easy to digest. The polls have the ability to prompt more engagement than traditional comments and gather more and discrete polls and surveys.

A recent Daily Beast/Newsweek Urtak poll conducted on Facebook on the topic of women received more than 16,000 responses. It  spawned 100 questions that explored related areas not covered in the initial poll.

Urtak co-founder Marc Lizoain believes Urtaks can be a supplement or alternative to comments for sites looking to create more interactivity with users. Kevin Rose recently used Urtak on Diggnation to figure out what kind of motorcycle to buy. He received over 11,000 responses as he narrowed his choices. In polls with 10 or fewer questions, more than half of people answer all the questions.

 Urtak sees more answers than questions because it takes a little time for people to realize they can add questions to a poll. A new release from Urtak will encourage more questions from users by changing the current ask tab into a permanent button.

As marketers and communication professionals, we evaluate and measure results to gauge effectiveness of our campaigns. This unique polling process could measure public opinion and create it. We could ask and report questions that engage the consumers and help us connect with them by allowing them to voice their opinion.


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Border fence proponents solicit online donations

May 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Illegal border crossing near Nogales, Arizona

PHOENIX — Arizona lawmakers  plan to build a fence along the border with Mexico by soliciting online donations and utilizing prison labor. If they reach their goal, construction could begin as soon as this year.

According to Paul Davenport of Associated Press, Gov. Jan Brewer recently signed a bill that would  launch a website to the raise money.

“We’re going to build this site as fast as we can, and promote it, and market the heck out of it,” said Senator Steve Smith, a Republican senator.

“If the website is up and there is an overwhelming response to what we’ve done and millions of dollars in this fund, I would see no reason why engineering or initial construction or finalized plans can’t be accomplished,” Smith said.

The nearly 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border already has 650 miles of fence. Nearly half of it is in Arizona. The state’s 376-mile border is the busiest gateway for both illegal immigrants and marijuana smuggling.

Arizona’s existing border security fund is being used to pay for legal costs defending SB1070 in court.  Brewer’s 2010 executive order creates the fund and allows its money to be used for any “border security purpose.” A federal judge has blocked key parts of SB1070. Brewer  will take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

The fund  has received about 44,000 donations totaling more than $3.7 million, through online and mailed donations.  Supporters of the border-fence legislation say that the state should be able to build it more inexpensively than the federal government. A estimate of the state cost is in the tens of millions of  dollars.

A 2009 report by Congress’ Government Accountability Office said costs of federal fencing work to keep out people on foot ranged from $400,000 to $15.1 million per mile. Fencing, geography, land costs and labor expenses can vary the cost estimates. Brewer signed the Arizona fence bill on April 28. It will take effect July 20.

During committee hearings and floor debates, Republicans said the state has a legal and moral obligation to act because the federal government hasn’t done enough to secure the border.

“My constituents want this thing fixed and fixed once and for all, and we’re going to do it. People should not be dying in the desert,” said Republican Senator Al Melvin.

“If we are here to pass symbolic legislation and not really address border security, SB1406 does the job. But people don’t benefit from symbolic legislation,” said democratic Rep. Catherine Miranda of Phoenix .

The border fencing work could be done  with other border states or by Arizona alone. Any type of fence would require approval of landowners. Approval from the state and private land owners, including ranchers who have complained of break-ins and other trouble associated with smugglers and illegal crossings is expected.

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Surge in cybercrimes linked to Osama bid Laden’s death

May 4, 2011 3 comments

Osama bin Laden

Security experts are warning Web-surfing consumers about a rise in cybercrime and scams related to Osama bin Laden’s death.  Major news events are often accompanied by an increase in cybercrime. Perpetrators often take advantage of Web searches for content such as pictures and videos.  If you know of any Internet crimes, file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, known as IC3, a partnership among the FBI, NW3C and BJA.

“The reported death of Osama bin Laden is just too good a lure for cybercriminals and scammers to pass up,” wrote Dave Marcus, director of security research for McAfee Labs, in a blog post.
Marcus said emails are circulating with links purporting to lead to photos of bin Laden’s corpse. One message teases to a video showing bin Laden disproving his death by holding a newspaper with Monday’s date. Clicking on the links generally opens files that install malware on the user’s computer. In other cases, cybercriminals have poisoned Google Images results.
This major social networking site is also a fertile breeding ground for these scams, with malicious links being circulated on posts and messages within the site. Researchers at Kaspersky Labs said they noticed scam ads on Facebook promising free merchandise in celebration of bin Laden’s death. Users who click on the ads will be redirected multiple times, with each layer asking for more detailed personal information.
Experts at Websense said cybercriminals compromised the website of Sohaib Athar, the Pakistani  information technology consultant living in Abbottabad  who provided a real-time account of the U.S. operation via his Twitter feed.
MCT & MSN editors contributed to this article.http://hp-notebook.us.msn.com/?pc=HPNTDF
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Voice of the consumer

April 24, 2011 Leave a comment

We are studying blogs this week. Our lesson featured a comment about the importance of the voice of the consumer. I started to wonder, has the consumer voice changed over the years or just the access to new and social media?  Do they want the same things as customers even five years ago? Consumers want immediacy. Saving time and being more effience is extremely important to important shopper. Can the same tactics employed by companies in the past work today? Consumers are in control on Twitter, Facebook and all media platforms, they can be heard loudly. What are they saying to businesses? Successful business are listening to consumers concerns and feedback.

How does business respond to the consumers’ needs when people don’t always know what they need? According to the Fizzback Group businesses need to engage the consumer by reaching them where they are, utilize the channel of communications that appeals to them. Interpret what they are really saying. Read between the lines, probe. Problem solve and try to understand what they are and aren’t saying. Businesses that utilize adaptive responses can improve loyalty and increase customer retention. Reducing complaints can reduce costs and strenghenten the brand.


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Business blogs-help or hinderance

April 2, 2011 2 comments

Do official or unofficial blogs help business to increase awareness of the product or services? Do blogs give customers a voice and an outlet to express frustration, ask questions or comment on what they like about the product? 

What if a consumer doesn’t like the product or service and voices their opinion loudly? What if it is picked up by the media? Is your company ready for a blog? Is your theme set, your goals and strategies created on how this marketing tool will help your company succeed? Is this an extension of your integrated marketing communications strategy?

Companies like IKEA doesn’t see the need to have an official blog. Instead, the giant furniture retailer has a cult following of several blogs that help customers navigate delivery, store locations and product information.

On the other hand, Starbucks has an official blog. However, just as effective is the unofficial blog by “the most devoted fan” who sings its praises though copy that is well written and has dominate graphics. Be prepared to understand the benefits and challenges that a blog can provide a business.

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