The future of engagement for pharma is: disengagement

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‘While paradoxically, the consumer actively engages much less with  [a] brand when they begin to rely upon an application for a particular service[…] we need to learn to see this as a marketing positive. They may clock off from the often tiresome active engagements via our website, but don’t mistake this cold shift in engagement for a drop in loyalty.’

Commentary from Andrew Spong

The title of the Michael Bayler article from which this post is derived is arresting, but the argument it articulates is less compelling, and the conclusion is wide of the mark from my point of view.

Why sound this apologia for the collapse of the precepts of marketing?

Why look for ‘marketing positives’ in social environments that are innately hostile to the concepts of ‘marketing’ as they developed in offline contexts?

Why not accept that the social web is a postmarketing environment rather than repeatedly trying to reformulate maxims that are antithetical to the expectations and etiquettes of social in every way imaginable?

Why enter social environments in such a deterministic manner, and one which would appear designed to make companies unpopular?

What fideism supports the leap of faith underpinning the expectation that ‘loyalty’ to a brand (the etiology of which is never adequately defined) should be eroded in settings where attempts to influence directly have corrosive effects?

The reason that I found the title interesting in the first place, however, is that it conjures images of the tightrope that healthcare will need to tread in the future: informed by Big Data, but facilitated by networks that may become more focused as ties strengthen, relationships develop, and new matrices of trust, influence and authority emerge.

If you do not sit in the middle of these matrices, you will always remain on their margins, struggling to gain purchase, and losing your grip.

The social web is paradox: burgeoning volumetrically, yet contracting in terms of engagement opportunities for new entrants as communities coalesce.


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