SAMPS was previously Association of Commercial Professionals for Life Sciences (ACP-LS)

Tips for Planning Your 2018 Digital Roadmap

September 16, 2017

Working with most pharma clients raises an unusual challenge.  Being inquisitive and experimental is very much part of the scientist’s DNA, which is exciting as these are vital ingredients for successful digital marketing.

At the same time, the life sciences industry is so heavily regulated that these tendencies are challenged, which often results in less bold, eye catching and effective marketing output.

Managing this conundrum sits at the heart of successful digital planning, and is the key focus in our workshop at this year’s SAMPS event in Boston on 27 October.

In this post we look at the three tips we will cover in the morning session of the workshop.  In a later post, we look at three more tips in the afternoon session.

Tip #1 Thriving in the Digital World

Digital requires a radical rethink of your business.  We’ll kick off by taking a look at the key innovators and technologies driving successful digital businesses.  How do digital pioneers Google, Apple, Amazon and GE Healthcare build digital relationships with their customers?

What lessons can the Life Sciences industry learn from these household brands, and how should they adapt learnings for their B2B customers, whether HCPs, or the pharma giants like GSK, Pfizer, Abbott and others.

We’ll split the workshop into teams and run our first activity: How would Google, Apple, Amazon or GE Healthcare deliver your next product launch?

Larry Page

“Incremental improvement is guaranteed to be obsolete over time”. Larry Page, Google’s Co-founder

Tip #2 Thinking and Behaving like a Start-up

Next, we’ll get into the mind of Agile, challenger businesses and understand how established businesses can behave like them.  How do they ideate, build prototype products, and create a ‘test and learn’ culture which tolerates mistakes?

We create a wish list of opportunities to innovate within the constraints of your business, and identify the obstacles which get in the way.

Most businesses realise that one of the biggest challenges they face is the ability to move and adapt quick enough given the increasing pace of change in the digital age.  Many realise that fundamentally they need to change the way they are working, and adopt an iterative way of working is proving important in building Minimum Viable Products.

Our next activity examines enables you to experience rapid iterative working, by taking short steps (sprints), pausing to quickly reflect and learn (reflections), and iterating.


Tip #3 Creating World Class Sites and apps

Constant iteration and improvement is essential to delivering any website or app.  Customer needs change, and the technology they use is constantly evolving.

Next up, our workshop will look at the 5 stages or creating world class sites and apps.

>  Usability Research to identify user needs and what they value

> Creating user flows for the most important customer journeys

> Key elements of User Centered Design

> Wireframing and prototyping for fast page load time and click path

> User testing and site optimization

This activity looks at improving the User Experience of your most important user journeys, focusing on speed and ease.


Keep an eye out for our follow up post which gives you the three tips we will cover in the workshops’ afternoon session: Mapping Customer Journeys, Creating compelling Content and Social Media Plans, and Optimising Digital Performance.  We then wrap up with template for your 2018 Digital Plan.

The workshop will be fast paced and highly interactive with an emphasis on relevance an immediate applicability. We will combine LEARNING, ACTIVITIES, and DISCUSSION.


Each topic will be introduced with concepts and frameworks, illustrated with use cases from global markets. We aim to challenge your existing thinking, and help you create bold and pioneering marketing.


We’ll be inviting you to work in teams on group exercises through the workshop. The exercises will immerse you in creating innovative content and campaign ideas for your 2018 digital plan.


The workshop is a safe place to think expansively, be experimental, share new ideas and be open to making mistakes. We’ll allow plenty of time to reflect and challenge assumptions.

Rob is a digital consultant and trainer

Rob Thurner is a world leading digital strategist and Google trainer. He specializes in Digital Transformation, Website and App projects, Content Marketing and Social Media.

He is CEO at digital consultancy Burn The Sky, which works with pharma and healthcare organisations including GSK, Teva and Bayer. Projects include developing digital strategy, building world class sites and apps, and managing digital communities to maximize engagement with multiple stakeholders.

SAMPS, Sales And Marketing Professionals in Scientific research, is the first and only organization dedicated to sales and marketing professionals within the life sciences.

The association’s goal is to serve its members who work in commercial roles for life science products and services companies and associated businesses, globally.
SAMPS was previously named ACP-LS. We feel that SAMPS more clearly describes the membership, and will form a better foundation from which to expand this membership globally. 
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