Friday, July 01, 2005

Boehringer, Bayer to launch clinical trials Web sites

Boehringer, Bayer to launch clinical trials Web sites


Boehringer Ingelheim and Bayer joined the ranks of several other pharmas by announcing plans for their companies' clinical trial Web sites. Boehringer's will include all trials started today and after, and the company will post all ongoing trials by September 13, it reports. Results of completed trials will be posted one year after the drug is first approved and marketed in any country or within one year of the trial's completion. Boehringer says if a product is codeveloped or marketed with another company, the license holder will have the responsibility for providing trial information. Bayer's site will initially include information on 10 trials started after January 6, 2005, and will add trials started after today within three weeks of their start date, the company announced. By mid-September, Bayer says it will list all ongoing trials, concentrating mainly on phase III and IV trials, except in "exceptional cases," such as cancer research, which will include phase II information. Bayer also says by March 2006, all completed trials started after October 1, 2002, will be listed online. 

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Zoomerang offers tips for healthcare industry online surveys

Zoomerang offers tips for healthcare industry online surveys

Healthcare companies increasingly turn to the Internet to conduct consumer research, according to Web survey software firm Zoomerang, which counts Wyeth and Johnson & Johnson as clients. Its online poll of healthcare industry professionals shows that 63% of respondents are shifting away from using paper surveys and 37% are moving away from the phone in favor of the Internet. When deploying online surveys, Zoomerang says companies should clearly define the survey's purpose; keep it short, simple, and focused; and use closed-ended questions whenever possible. Companies should also keep rating scale questions consistent and make sure their questions flow logically. For best results, companies should pretest the survey and deploy it on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Finally, Zoomerang recommends sending completion reminders and offering incentives for participation, which usually boosts the response rate by about 50%. To read more about using Web-based surveys, go to





Poll: Healthcare Companies Say Online Research Displacing Phone and Mail Research

PR Newswire via NewsEdge Corporation :

MILL VALLEY, Calif., June 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Healthcare companies and organizations say online research, one of the most affordable and effective marketing tactics, is displacing phone and mail research, according to a recent Internet survey by Zoomerang, maker of the leading global online survey software.

Based on the study, more than 3 in 5 healthcare industry professionals involved in online research (63%) report shifting from paper or mail research to the Internet. In addition, nearly 2 in 5 (37%) are moving away from phone research in favor of online research.*

Zoomerang Vice President and General Manager Paula Rivers explains, "Healthcare professionals are shifting from traditional research methods towards online research because, simply put, it makes great business sense. They are realizing that the tool can potentially expand their ability to make informed decisions and help grow revenue, lower costs and increase productivity."

Among those healthcare professionals in the survey who are benefiting from productivity gains, more than 2 in 5 (43%) say that productivity has increased by more than 20% over the previous year. Also, among those who are benefiting from cost savings, nearly 3 in 5 (59%) report lowering costs by 10% or more over the previous year. Similar trends are cited among those who are benefiting from increased revenues.

Online survey usage has penetrated 20% of the healthcare sector and is growing steadily among adopters. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of health care industry professionals involved with online surveys report increased usage of this technique over the previous year.

Online surveys are an easy way for industry decision-makers to obtain the feedback they need to help them make critical decisions. Through online surveys, healthcare organizations large and small can query their customers about their satisfaction with care or services, accomplish a host of human resources-related functions or even obtain feedback about education and training efforts.

Top Ten Tips

Obtaining quality feedback means asking the right questions. Here are 10 tips from market leader Zoomerang for creating effective surveys:

1. Clearly define the purpose of your survey.

Spend time up front to plan objectives. For example, you might want to find out if your customers are satisfied with your company's service.

2. Keep the survey short and focused.

It shouldn't take a respondent more than 10 minutes to complete a survey, so it's generally better to focus on a single objective.

3. Keep the questions simple.

Make sure your respondents will understand the questions. Don't make the questions complex and avoid the use of jargon.

4. Used closed-ended questions whenever possible.

Closed-ended questions make it easier to analyze results and can take the form of yes/no, multiple choice or a rating scale.

5. Keep rating scale questions consistent.

If you use rating scales -- for example, rating customer service on a scale from 1 to 5 -- keep them consistent and make sure the meanings of high and low remain the same.

6. Make sure your survey flows in a logical order.

Start with the broader-based questions, later moving to those that are narrower in scope, and make sure that one questions naturally leads into another.

7. Pre-test your survey.

Before launching your survey, be sure to pre-test it with a few members of your target audience to help you uncover glitches and unexpected question interpretations.

8. Schedule your survey by taking the calendar into account.

Keep in mind that Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days to deploy your survey -- you'll generate more responses than if you send it out on one of the other four days.

9. Offer an incentive for responding.

Incentives typically boost response rates by an average of 50%. However, if you do decide to offer an incentive, be sure to keep it appropriate in scope.

10. Consider using reminders.

While not appropriate for all surveys, sending out reminders to those who haven't yet responded can often provide a significant boost to your response rates.

About Zoomerang

Zoomerang is the leading online survey software and the most popular tool around the globe for obtaining vital feedback at rapid-fire speed. Since its 1999 debut, it has quickly gained momentum, growing a "fan base" of users in over 200 countries worldwide. To date, over 1 million Zoomerang surveys have been launched and over 27 million responses recorded.

Zoomerang customers range from multinational corporations to small businesses and nonprofits. DuPont, Johnson & Johnson, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and United Way are just a few of its many high-profile clients. Zoomerang is owned by MarketTools, Inc., a leading provider of full-service, online market research services headquartered in Mill Valley, California. For more information on Zoomerang go to

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Consumers say e-newsletters, samples would help Rx decisions

Consumers say e-newsletters, samples would help Rx decisions

Forty-seven percent of surveyed consumers said informational Web sites are their preferred online format for receiving drug information, according to a survey of more than 2000 respondents from e-mail marketing and customer acquisition firm Prospectiv. An additional 37% said e-mail is their preferred online method. Prospectiv, whose clients include Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, and Schering-Plough, also found that 92% of respondents would be likely or very likely to visit treatment Web sites and 83% would be interested or very interested in receiving educational information about drug treatments. When asked about offers from pharmas, 51% of surveyed consumers would prefer free samples and 34% said educational e-newsletters would be most valuable in helping them make their drug buying decisions, according to the survey. To learn more about the survey results, go to





Prospectiv Survey Shows Growing Consumer Preference for Learning about Pharmaceutical Drugs Through Online Resources; Consumers Express Preference for More Information via Educational E-Newsletters and Informational Web Sites

Business Wire via NewsEdge Corporation :

WOBURN, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 28, 2005--An increasing number of consumers are looking to online resources for accessing information about drug treatments relevant to their ailments, according to results from a Prospectiv Consumer Preference Index (CPI) poll conducted last week that gathered responses from more than 2000 consumers. The poll results also showed that physicians remain the primary resource for pharmaceutical drug information.

Prospectiv's CPI shows the majority of respondents; at 73 percent, currently look to their doctors as their primary source of information for drug treatments, while websites and email came in second at 14 percent, and mass market vehicles including television, radio, magazines, newspapers and books; at 10 percent. When consumers were asked how they would like to receive information in the future, websites and email increased to 17 percent, while magazines, newspapers and books declined slightly to 3 percent, and television and radio declined to 1 percent.

When asked about their preferred online vehicle for receiving drug treatment information, informational web sites, at 47 percent, and email at 37 percent were the top selections. Ninety-two percent surveyed said they would be very likely or likely to visit a website focused on treatments for their ailments. Eighty-three percent responded that they would be interested or very interested in receiving educational information about drug treatments.

Prospectiv's CPI also revealed that in terms of preferred offers from pharmaceutical companies that would most likely peak consumer interest in drug treatments, 51 percent would prefer free samples, while 34 percent identified educational e-newsletters as most valuable in helping them make drug purchasing decisions.

"These results confirm what we see as a growing trend for pharmaceutical marketers to leverage online technologies and communications to build closer and more direct relationships with the consumers who can benefit from the drug treatments they have to offer," said Jere Doyle, Prospectiv's president and CEO. "As a result, we've seen many of our pharmaceutical clients allocating more marketing resources on building their direct-to-patient databases through online channels."

For more information about these results, please contact Tom Francoeur at 781-388-7900, ext 205, or by email at

About Prospectiv's Consumer Preference Index (CPI)

Millions of active, self-profiled consumers have registered at Prospectiv's vertically-targeted online properties - (connects consumers with quality offers from leading brands), (premier resource for online and campus-based education and degree programs), and (online resource focused on health and well-being offers) - enabling Prospectiv to compile insightful survey data for advertisers and marketers. Prospectiv's 20-point data authentication, cleansing and validation process ensures the database of self-profiled consumers is current, active, and accurate in order to deliver the highest quality data to clients.

About Prospectiv

Prospectiv provides industry-leading customer acquisition, email marketing and data analytics solutions to leading consumer brand marketers. The company's solutions enable the world's best brands to find and build profitable relationships with the right customers through multiple online channels, proprietary optimization technology, and comprehensive data validation. Prospectiv generates more than 50 million pre-qualified responses per year on a pay-for-results basis for clients, including many Fortune 1000 companies such as Procter and Gamble, Wal-Mart, Pfizer, Dell, General Mills and Schering-Plough. Founded in 1999, Prospectiv is privately-held and is based in Woburn, Ma. Please visit for more information.

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Monday, June 27, 2005

Wall Street Journal (June 23, 2005): Marketers Scan Blogs For Brand Insights

Marketers Scan Blogs For Brand Insights

June 23, 2005; Page B1

Many marketers suspect there are probably some valuable insights contained in the Web logs produced by the estimated 12 million online diarists. But in the cacophony of trivia, vitriol and bombast that fills the blogosphere, useful nuggets have been hard to find.

Now, a growing number of marketers are using new technology to analyze blogs and other "consumer-generated media" -- a category that includes chat groups, message boards and electronic forums -- to hear what is being said online about new products, old ad campaigns and aging brands. Purveyors of the new methodology and their clients say blog-watching can be cheaper, faster and less biased than such staples of consumer research as focus groups and surveys.

Blog watching helped advertising giant WPP Group PLC craft a new promotion aimed at teenagers for its Chicago-based client U.S. Cellular Corp., says Bethany Harris, senior vice president of WPP's G Whiz Entertainment unit. Using technology from Umbria Communications, a Boulder, Colo., company that aims to identify demographic groups online based on their speech patterns and discussion topics, G Whiz concluded that teens were "really anxious" about exceeding their cellular minutes, often because parents make them pay if they talk too much. The teens also resented being "ambushed" by incoming calls that pushed their minutes up. Ms. Harris says that led U.S. Cellular to offer unlimited "call me" minutes.

Marketers say bloggers' unsolicited opinions and offhand comments are a source of invaluable insights that are hard to get elsewhere. "We look at the blogosphere as a focus group with 15 million people going on 24/7 that you can tap into without going behind a one-way mirror," says Rick Murray, executive vice president of Edelman, a Chicago public-relations firm.

Walter Carl, a professor at Boston's Northeastern University who has studied "word-of-mouth" communication and marketing, says blog-watching services "are very useful for quickly getting the lay of the land" in trends and consumer reactions. Still, he says, it isn't clear how closely online comments mimic the 80% of "word-of-mouth" that still occurs face-to-face.

Not everything bloggers have to say about brands correlates to the real world. Last summer, Umbria, working for a fast-food client, was monitoring Burger King Corp.'s Angus Burger and found it got some bad reviews from bloggers. Some were deriding Burger King's tongue-in-cheek TV ads that called the burger a diet food. Bloggers notwithstanding, the Angus Burger has become a hit.

Blog-monitoring services typically charge big companies $30,000 to $100,000 a year. They say their technology goes beyond basic tools, such as keyword searches or counting links from one Web site to another, both features available at no charge from online services such as and Yahoo's Buzz Index.

Intelliseek, a Cincinnati firm started by veterans of Procter & Gamble Co., has a free Web site, BlogPulse, where users can enter up to three keywords and see how they compare. Before the latest "Star Wars" release, mentions of Natalie Portman briefly topped those of Paris Hilton, indicating the movie's pre-release marketing was making an impression.

[Web Buzz]Intelliseek and most other blog-watching services combine technology with some human analysis. They say their full services provide more insight than a simple keyword count. Some companies have developed text-analysis techniques as the result of funding or contracts from the Central Intelligence Agency and other intelligence services that monitor newspapers and other media. The technologies make use of software technologies known as "natural-language processing" and "unstructured-data mining" to understand even ungrammatical writing.

Bernice Cramer, vice president of market intelligence for Polaroid Corp., a unit of Petters Group Worldwide, says she uses Intelliseek's service. "If you look for it manually, you'll spend months searching through a lot of junk," she says. Polaroid recently found that consumers online frequently discuss photo longevity and archiving, making that an important issue in product development.

Sometimes blog watchers spot trends before they emerge in mainstream media: Pete Blackshaw, Intelliseek vice president, says blog mentions last summer of the Swift Boat Veterans ads against Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry indicated their claims were a big issue three weeks before the Kerry campaign finally addressed them.

Mr. Blackshaw says companies used to dismiss vocal complaints from one or two consumers as an aberration. But now, they have to pay attention because now those complainers may have blogs. "Those folks have influence with others via the Internet," he says. PR firms are hiring Intelliseek to monitor their clients, he adds, because once-obscure consumer issues are surfacing at awkward moments, such as CEO interviews with "reporters who go to Google and type in a brand and [then] ask tough questions."

Umbria, with clients including Sprint Corp. and Electronic Arts Inc., says its natural-language analysis can determine blogger demographics based on language, subject matter and acronyms. OMG ("oh my God!") or POS ("parent over shoulder") are expressions defining Generation Y girls, or those ages 10 to 25; FUBAR ("fouled up beyond all recognition") is often used by male baby boomers.

Such analysis can be important. Umbria says Laker guard Kobe Bryant has lost his cachet with most bloggers, but he is still the No. 2 National Basketball Association personality, behind LeBron James, among the boys of Generation Y, important buyers of videogames, sneakers and basketball jerseys.

David Rabjohns, president of blog watcher MotiveQuest, calls the field "online anthropology" and says he regards his firm as "almost a mouthpiece for the consumer." The Evanston., Ill., firm's clients include Motorola Inc. and Citigroup Inc.

For a Japanese auto maker, Mr. Rabjohns says MotiveQuest studied online postings about minivans. Soccer moms said their young children love minivans, which they regard as "a playhouse on wheels," but teens regard them as lame and want SUVs. MotiveQuest recommended developing a loyalty program to persuade minivan owners to buy the company's SUVs, rather than trying to get them to buy another minivan.


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When You're Sick, Is There


When You're Sick, Is There via NewsEdge Corporation :

Even as adults, we sometimes go to our mammas for help. Now Inc., a company that provides meta-search-engine and Internet-retrieval services, is hoping that consumers will look to it for health information, one of the most common uses of the Web by the public.

Mamma this week launched a "deep" Web and meta-search service for health information. The new site is the first of several specific search sites Mamma plans to unveil this year, company CEO Guy Fauré says. One such site will focus on travel, he says.

The Mammahealth site searches content of several popular health and medical sites, including, HealthDay,, Mayo Clinic, WebMD, and government health sites such as MedlinePlus, which is operated by the United States, and NHSDirect Online, which is operated by the United Kingdom.

Mammahealth sends queries to the multiple data sources and then aggregates and formats real-time information in a number of ways. For instance, a search of a topic such as "acne" would give information results in a format that includes an overview, causes/symptoms, treatments, news, and frequently asked questions. Users can click to the Web page of information from those sites providing the content.

The site also includes a "second opinion" link that allows users to link to alternative sources of information about a topic.

Mammahealth doesn't featuring ads or banners from companies marketing health products because Mamma is looking to provide "a public service" for health queries, Fauré says. However, other future vertical sites, such as travel, will likely feature consumer advertising, he says.

Brian King, an HIV-prevention educator who used the beta version of Mammahealth, says the search results filter out marketing information and instead provide valuable medical information. "Searches bring up medical information from reliable sources, not ads or marketing literature for drugs or other companies trying to sell something," which is frequently the case when King does health-related searches on Google or Yahoo, he says.

Mamma, based in Montreal, is a publicly traded company that posted revenue of $15.8 million and net income of $1.1 million in 2004, Fauré says. The company employs 60 people in Canada and Florida. Launched in 1996, the company's revenue has tripled over the last three years.

<< -- 06/24/05>>


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