Webinar, thought leadership help JustSystems reach pharma

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JustSystems is a software company that provides information management solutions based on extensible markup language (XML). Among other industry-specific offerings, the company has a solution for life sciences companies that simplifies the creation and maintenance of content in regulatory submissions, product specifications, operating procedures, labels, marketing materials and other documents. Specifically, JustSystems' solution can help pharmaceutical companies in the area of “recipe normalization,” said Jake Sorofman, senior VP-marketing and business development. Today, many pharmaceutical companies manage their batch recipe definitions in disconnected documents such as spreadsheets—a method that slows a drug's time to market, he said. “The problem we're solving is not a new problem, but it's not something that's necessarily been identified or fully articulated,” Sorofman said. “There's a lot of need for this, but it's perhaps latent need. So you certainly don't want to beat [prospects] over the head with it. You have to educate them on why the need exists, allow them to discover it themselves and put them in a position where they are prepared to make some investments to address the problem.” Additionally, senior executives are somewhat resistant to overt marketing messages, he said. With that in mind, JustSystems set out to market to pharmaceutical companies by taking an indirect approach focused on thought leadership, Sorofman said. The company decided to host a webinar about technology breakthroughs in recipe management and partnered with various well-known industry players on the effort. Those partners included Pharmaceutical Technology and BioPharm International magazines; BearingPoint, a management and technology consultant that has expertise in the life sciences industry; and AMR Research, which provides IT and operations research and has a life sciences practice. Partnering with BearingPoint was important, Sorofman said, because it gave JustSystems a great deal of credibility. Using its own lists, as well as lists from its partners, JustSystems targeted a universe of about 20,000 executives with e-mails promoting the webinar, which was recorded in early February. It consisted of a live PowerPoint presentation along with a panel discussion. “We found we have greater success when we make it a conversation, [offering] context-setting presentations on the front-end followed by in-depth discussion,” Sorofman said. Prospects who viewed the live or archived webinar then received follow-up promotions for an in-depth white paper. They will also receive promotions for a recently completed podcast on the topic. So far, the webinar has been viewed by about 425 people—358 viewed it live and, at press time, 67 had viewed an archived version, Sorofman said. Also, about 285 people have downloaded the white paper, he said. The campaign is addressing a very real need, he said. “People recognize this as a high-value and highly visible problem, and there [are] very few, if any, solution alternatives on the market today, so that puts us in a unique position,” Sorofman said. “It's really those two things, in addition to a well-executed campaign and the right messaging, that have made this a very unique success.” To build on the success of the webinar, JustSystems has started attending targeted trade shows, including last month's Interphex 2008 and World Batch Forum 2008 in Philadelphia. “This gives us [the] opportunity to go in with some awareness already generated and meet with people face to face.”
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