Medical Marketing Service Inc. Shares Successful Email Marketing Methods That Boost Open Rates by 500% and ROI by 400% at Two Leading Industry Events

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Medical Marketing Service, Inc. (MMS) recently shared its insights regarding successful email marketing methods that can increase open rates by 500% and ROI by 400% at two leading industry conferences: the 3rd Annual ePharma West Summit and Digital Pharma West.

Medical Marketing Service, Inc. (MMS)

Medical Marketing Service, Inc. (MMS)

Planning is very important, including establishing quantifiable benchmarks that define success, analyze and identify the characteristics of the successful deployments vs. the unsuccessful.

Medical Marketing Service, Inc. (MMS) recently shared its insights regarding successful email marketing methods that can increase open rates by 500% and ROI by 400% at two leading industry conferences.


In the wake of the momentous Supreme Court decision affirming the Affordable Care Act, about 100 digital pharma executives gathered for the 3rd Annual ePharma West Summit, which was held July 17-19 in San Francisco.

Email marketing was on the agenda. A presentation by Terry Nugent, EVP Sales and Marketing at MMS, Inc., educated attendees about successful email marketing methods. Nugent outlined what to look for in an email “messenger”, defined as companies such as MMS that deploy emails, and how to prepare your message so that it succeeds in its objectives. Nugent emphasized the importance of planning, including establishing quantifiable benchmarks that define success, and analyzed the top 10 and bottom 10 pharma marketing emails deployed by MMS in the past 12 months, identifying the characteristics of the successful deployments vs. the unsuccessful. To request a briefing on what it takes to create a top 10 email, contact Terry Nugent at t-nugent(at)mmslists(dot)com or 1.630.477.1553.

Other Summit sessions addressed a wide range of topics from the implications of the Supreme Court health care decision to the impact of segmentation on ROI. For an excellent summary of the proceedings blogged by James Ellis of CloserLook, go to


Nugent also spoke at Digital Pharma West, during which the health reform decision news broke. Over 200 digital pharma marketers attended.

Tweets related to email marketing noted the following points:

  • Think about as designed vs. as rendered. Your beautiful HTML image probably will not viewable to most recipients.
  • You have to take the time to complete A/B testing before you send email out to all and to test on all devices.
  • Know your download time of images. Is an HCP going to wait for the image load in their email or delete?
  • Understand your target list and the types of emails will allow you to understand how the program will succeed.
  • Webinar emails to HCPs do very well.
  • Re-email to the segment that is performing best.
  • Open rate varies based on type of program by specialty.
  • Email is designed to capture attention at point a, inform and deliver the recipient to point b.
  • Just in time emailing works -- email conference attendees with your key events the night before along with presentations.

Here is a summary of conference highlights, as indicated by the Tweeters at the meeting.

1. Supporting the Physician/Patient Relationship: Leveraging the Digital Platform to Enhance the Opportunity for Dialogue.

The event began with Pre-Conference Workshops, including an excellent seminar entitled “Supporting the Physician/Patient Relationship: Leveraging the Digital Platform to Enhance the Opportunity for Dialogue.” Co-presenters Scott Tyson of Janssen and Beth Bengston of Hale Advisors gave a masterful overview of how to use digital media strategically. What emerged was a vision of “Pharma 3.0” in which mobile devices are used to passively monitor patients, feed data into the electronic health record (EHR), trigger healthcare provider (HCP) interventions based on vital signs, and perhaps even adjust health insurance premiums based on therapeutic regimen and lifestyle compliance.

Those tweeting about the presentation noted 94% of EU physicians use smartphones, representing a great email opportunity!

2. Chairperson’s Opening Remarks

In the Chairperson’s opening remarks on Tuesday, June 26th, Sean O’Hagan of Daichi Sankyo cited the following statistics which were noted in tweets:

  • 80% of US Physicians owned smartphones in 2011.
  • 90% use digital resources during the work day
  • 60% of physicians use digital resources during patient consultations;
  • There has been a 25% drop in sales reps since 2006
  • 42% of offices with 10 or more physicians do not allow access to pharma sales representatives, making multichannel marketing including email crucial to deliver pharma promotional and educational messages.

O’Hagan noted that in today’s world, all marketers are multichannel marketers.

3. Gathering insights from consumers cost-effectively

Lauren Pennington of Pfizer spoke on gathering insights from consumers cost-effectively, generating the following tweets from the delegates:

  • it is possible to create a great campaign on limited budget
  • Pharma isn't facing a marketing problem, it's facing a marketing opportunity

4. Current ROI Drivers for Multi-Channel Marketing

Janssen’s Tyson made an encore the on Tuesday on a panel answering the question “What are the Current ROI Drivers for Multi-Channel Marketing”, hosted by Mark Bard of the Digital Care Coalition. He was joined by Kelly Meyers, CEO of Qforma, and Carla Brooks, Regulatory Affairs Senior Manager, Medimmune. Those tweeting about the panel made note of several key points:

  • Passion and innovation are key attributes of successful digital marketers
  • The ROI of individual channels is difficult to ascertain, according to Tyson of Janssen, so multichannel campaign ROI must be evaluated holistically rather than by individual tactic;
  • "ROI" figures are soft; too many steps in the process to directly tie to sales
  • Be able to explain to regulatory "Why are we doing this?" Regulatory is trying to enable but wants to know what we are trying to accomplish short, medium, long run. We do more damage when we follow the “build it & they will come” philosophy & then don’t do anything to advance that (argues for using email to promote digital solutions) - Carla Brooks, Medimmune
  • ROI of medium is wrong question--It's what you do with it-Scott Tyson, Janssen. Asking the what the ROI of email is would be like asking what the ROI of a pen is - if you use it to scribble, it’s non-existent; if you use it to write the formula for the cure for cancer, it’s astronomical.
  • Multichannel marketing is an ecosystem of interactions. Look at your audience as a network, not as individuals. Act on the network, not the individual node to create buzz – Kelly Myers, Qforma

For a recap by Tyler Durbin of GSW’s iQ unit, use this link:

5. The Electronic Health Record

Rich Altus, President of PDR networks noted that approximately 400,000 physicians are using electronic health records (EHRs). About 70% of large practices are using EHRs, so the growth potential is among smaller practices. Not one EHR has more than 60,000 prescribers, according to Altus.

6. Transforming relationship marketing from brand centric to enterprise-wide

Daniel Gandor of Takeda used his musical background to craft a metaphor about orchestrating the transformation of relationship marketing from a disconcerted brand-centric cacophony to an enterprise wide, customer-centric harmonious symphony.
The Twitterati shared the following key points:

  • Most pharma sites and email are not optimized for mobile even though HCPs are;
  • Takeda’s Uloric HCP relationship marketing program has 87,000 HCPs registered;
  • Non personal promo is taking larger role at Takeda -- email is the most cost effective tactic;
  • A robust engagement spectrum keeps the brand in front of the physician;
  • We're about to experience a shift in marketing. From a focus on the top line to the bottom line, a shift from reach to ROI.

7. Maximizing prescriber engagement in a mobile world

Epocrates hosted a panel of physicians speaking about maximizing prescriber engagement in a mobile world. Their study on digital omnivores, which found that ”3 screen” HCPs (those that use a PC, smart phone and tablet) spend more time online than single-screen users is available at

One of the most notable observations was that physicians want comparative data about brands. They would have the most respect for a marketer who listed all the brands available in a particular therapeutic class and presented data comparing their product with its competitor on the basis of safety and efficacy and perhaps even cost and thus cost-effectiveness.

Other tweetable moments included:

  • HCPs want 3 types of content for HCPs: 1 minute, 5 minute or lots of information
  • Digital omnivores will more than double by Q2 2013

8. Achieving oversize results on modest budgets

Bill Drummy of Heartbeat Digital made an outstanding presentation about achieving oversize results on modest budgets. Using a David vs. Goliath motif. Drummond showed how one of his smallest clients conducted a successful campaign that used patient insights gleaned from mobile to create a breakthrough campaign in the hemophilia market by establishing genuine rapport with sufferers, who refer to themselves as bleeders, by speaking to them in their own language.

Drummy noted that digital campaigns generate up to 29:1 ROI, and that email ROI is very good. He believes that the current opportunity presented by limited budgets will act as a catalyst for adoption of digital marketing in lieu of less cost-effective tactics.

9. Mobile marketing Opportunity in Pharma

The meeting concluded with a daylong workshop on mobile marketing in pharma. Chris Ballentine of Takeda made an excellent presentation highlighting the physician-patient nexus. According to Ballentine, 70% of patients would use an app recommended by their physician, and 9 out of 10 doctors say they want to use apps to help patients manage diseases. This represents an opportunity for pharma to assist HCPs in connecting with their patients. Envision a world in which pharma emails an app link to doctors, and doctors forward it to their patients via email or even Twitter. If such aps could help patients manage diseases less expensively, it would certainly benefit all stakeholders in healthcare: patients, HCPs, and payers. There are regulatory issues. But pharma should certainly take on this challenge to move to a Pharma 3.0 model where the product is not just a pill, it is a solution to the healthcare challenge of the 21st century - achieving better quality AND reducing cost.    

10. See for yourself

All and all, it was a very educational and informative conference. A twitter transcript of the meeting is available at


MMS will be speaking at future industry events on a regular basis. To find out where and when, follow us @mmsemail


Since 1929, Medical Marketing Service, Inc. (MMS), the industry leader in healthcare lists and email marketing, has been pinpointing perfect prospects for clients including pharmaceutical marketers, continuing medical education (CME) providers, publishers, and recruiters, along with the their list brokers, ad agencies and other marketing partners. MMS’s motto is message delivered - we deliver messages to over 1.5 million healthcare professionals (HCPs).

Service is our surname for a reason - personal service by people who care and have decades of experience is the hallmark of our heritage.

Generations of satisfied customers are our legacy, and the foundation of our future - that’s why referrals are our number one source of new customers. We look forward to helping the industry meet the challenges of the 21st century - helping the industry do more with less by achieving maximum return on investment (ROI) with gold standard lists, databases and email marketing services.

MMS was the first Database Licensee of the American Medical Association (AMA), widely recognized as the finest physician database in the world, and guaranteed 99% deliverable for direct mail by MMS. Upon that foundation we have built a selection of lists that maintain that same discerning standard of excellence to reach the entire spectrum of health professionals, featuring lists of the leading healthcare professional associations in each discipline. The results of this decades-long effort to bring you the best available lists and databases are establishment of one source you can rely on for all your healthcare list and email marketing needs.

MMS allows you to reach all the critical healthcare professionals you need to succeed with an integrated, multichannel direct marketing approach that diversifies your campaigns across all media - direct mail, telemarketing, broadcast fax, and email.

For more information, go to, call 1.800.MED.LIST (633.5478), email sales(at)mmslists(dot)com, and follow us on Twitter @mmsemail.

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