Sermo Named Media Brand of the Year

Congratulations to our client, Sermo, who was named Media Brand of the Year by Medical Marketing & Media. We are particularly excited about this accomplishment because Sermo took a chance in 2006 with PerkettPR – one of the only firms they interviewed that did not have a dedicated healthcare division – and it continues to be a fruitful relationship for both companies. We worked closely with their marketing team all year to spread the word about this one-of-a-kind community for physicians – and helped it to grow to 40,000 doctors and counting.

Sermo continues to revolutionize healthcare. The discussions held, and decisions made, within the community positively impact not only physicians, but the patients they care for and the pharmaceutical companies that want to forge a safer and more productive future through a more efficient exchange of knowledge and resources. Sermo is a Web-based community where physicians share observations from daily practice, discuss emerging trends and provide new insights into medications, devices and treatments.

“And since physicians have never before been able to talk with a unified
voice in such impressive numbers, sharing observations and insight
about treatments, drugs, devices and biologics, we expect Sermo to
continue to rock the pharma marketing world for some time to come.”

We couldn’t agree more! We are extremely proud of this award, thankful for such an interesting and savvy client, and excited to share even more interesting developments about Sermo in the year to come. Congratulations to Dr. Daniel Palestrant, Founder & CEO; Gina Ashe, CMO; Greg Shenk, Director of Communications and the entire team at Sermo! What a year!

PRWeek Echoes our Earlier Sentiments on Niche Social Networks

PRWeek just posted a story about our client Sermo’s deal with Pfizer, and how it might impact the model for the social network business. Author Marc Longpre also has some interesting thoughts around the revenue models – echoing our blog post earlier this week about niche social networking sites and their strong potential for bringing new value to the online community phenomenon.

Are We Too Old for Facebook?

We are doing a lot of work on the social networking front here at PerkettPR – training workshops, new hires/social media staff and holding some really valuable analyst and media discussions. We’re following Forrester Research as you know, and their Groundswell activities, as well as watching closely for great examples of business use of social media. Many of these include YouTube and LinkedIn and some are extending campaigns to Facebook, MySpace and others.

A few weeks ago, Dan Costa of PC Magazine, wrote about social networking and indicated that perhaps some of the more popular of these sites do not hold credible value for the over-30 crowd. His column, “MySpace is Not Your Space,” provides a guideline (his opinion) on who should be on which site. While we don’t totally agree – we think some of his thoughts on the use of these sites are short sighted – it’s interesting to think about. (For example, he states “I am not trying to keep the 50-something, married software engineer away from the 17-year old coed cheerleader majoring in Art History—although maybe I should be.” We don’t’ think that’s what professionals are focusing on with their use of these sites – and can’t the two co-exist without crossing paths? For example, if we’re trying to reach high school students for a campaign, isn’t it better that we are involved in and understand the medium that we are using?)

We believe that social networking will continue to evolve as an industry and, while Facebook may not launch a separate site as Dan suggests, it has inspired many new sites that do provide a more laser focus on specific issues and groups. For example, our client Sermo focuses on medical doctors, other focused sites already exist for PR professionals, the town you live in and various hobbies – even venture capitalism, as today’s Boston Globe reported on next month’s launch of VentureNetwork.vc, an online social network for professionals looking for another channel to connect and talk shop. The user numbers on these sites may not reach Facebook’s level, but as we all continue to figure out the value and monetary possibilities for such communities, the value will increase regardless of the numbers – camaraderie, additional support and encouragement, new networks, collective insight and more are invaluable.

For example, Guy Kawasaki wrote a great blog post at AlwaysOn regarding how one of the less-understood social networking tools, Twitter, can add value today. Many people out there don’t get the value of Twitter (we just started exploring this ourselves) and may say, as Dan does about MySpace and Facebook, that it’s a better tool for the younger crowd with time on their hands. Guy shows that it’s so much more – already driving “tens of thousands of page views,” debunking rumors and extending networks. And, since no one person seems to really have the answers on social networking’s value to business – yet – keep exploring, keep trialing and keep sharing your insights.

Social Networking Grows Up; Pfizer Recognizes Real Impact & Potential

We are extremely excited about an announcement today from our client Sermo, a networking community site for medical doctors. Their relationship with Pfizer Inc. indicates the continued evolution of real business value coming out of the social networking and Web 2.0 phenomenon. Sermo and Pfizer have partnered to bring new value and better results to the interaction between medical doctors and drug companies. In doing so, we all stand to benefit. The potential positive outcomes are revolutionary and we applaud Pfizer for forging the path for other drug companies and the healthcare industry as a whole.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all know that social networking is changing the way people communicate. This simple proposition is now on the radar of many businesseshow can we harness such information, how do we monetize it and how can it help us to become a better business? Many still don’t “get it” and too many still dismiss its potential to truly change business. (As even Forrester analyst Josh Bernoff indicated in his comment to our October 9 post). As today’s Sermo news indicates, the powerful impact of the transparent and efficient exchange of knowledge – doctors on Sermo openly discuss issues, trends, treatments and more – can be applied to real issues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing such information on Sermo, physicians have access to the most topical medical data available – enabling them to make better fact-based decisions, faster – in a way never before made possible. Ultimately, patients will benefit from the positive impact of such important collaboration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more on the partnership at The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Financial Times, Bloomberg.com and Sermo.

 

 

 

Business Social Networking Simply Makes Sense

Our client Sermo was featured in a Wall Street Journal article this week on the business of social networking. Social networking is an interesting phenomenon that surprisingly has taken a while to catch on in business and with professionals across multiple industries. Business was born on networking – that’s an age-old lesson that anyone knows. It’s the formerly “impersonal” way of communicating via the Internet that caused the delay of networking online for business purposes. However, with everything from meeting your future spouse to running your business taking place on the Internet, networking online for business and professional growth – or even as a business model – is a no-brainer.

 

 

 

Sermo_logo

 

Think about your neighborhood and how you find who to use for items such as a pediatrician, a hairdresser, a great accountant, a good dog walker. You ask your friends or neighbors. You get their opinions, ask about their experience with different vendors and listen to recommendations. Social networking allows this exchange to go beyond your physical location and even your initial network for even greater insight. It also allows us to pool our collecitve intelligence and experiences for greater insights, such as the 25,000 doctors sharing information on Sermo. Social networking for business just makes sense.

 

 

 

 

The advent of social networking for business professionals, such as LinkedIn, is not that far from a very general, basic idea. Years ago, before “Web 2.0” or “social networking” or even “MySpace” were media darlings, the Internet was used for listings provided by local area businesses. Patrons of such businesses would leave comments or recommendations based on their experiences on the site’s forums or message boards. It was a bit clumsy and not very interactive but it worked. Social networking for business simply elevates and expands upon this very basic idea. Not only can you promote your thoughts, opinions and recommendations (including your own company’s products or services) but you can easily view and connect with 2nd and 3rd tier contacts – friends of friends, if you will – for business exchanges such as recruiting, choosing a service vendor, trying a product, etc. Social networking enables you to quickly and easily expand your network, which can be utilized in many ways – not the least of which is marketing and PR purposes. PR is influence by word of mouth, essentially, so social networking is a must for any promotional campaign today.

 

 

 

 

Social networking in general started as a form of self expression. Teenagers and college students flocked to it as a way to connect with others like them outside of the usually small social circle in the “real” world. Today, it is helping to shape businesses of all types and is still based on that basic premise of expression. If I have a bad – or good – experience at a retail store, online shopping or at a restaurant, my complaints go well beyond my intimate social circle and have much greater power than a letter to the Better Business Bureau. A few posts on a Facebook wall, a blog comment or a Q/A on LinkedIn ensures the word spreads like wildfire to people who matter. And, as the WSJ article today states, social networking is “moving more into the mainstream” – ensuring anyone’s “self expression” today has a very meaningful – and profound – impact. Now, it’s a matter of how to ensure that expression is a positive reflection of your company or products and services.