As the metaverse gains legs (sorry), it’s time to start thinking about the effect this could have on pharma and new ways to embrace what’s known as Web3, an evolution of the way the internet is used and controlled.
For context, Jack DeManche, director of digital strategy at PRECISIONeffect, an omnichannel engagement agency for pharma, explains that a little history lesson is in order to better understand this evolution.
“I think about Web1 as the early days of the web—in the 1990s when you were going to a website, you're just consuming information. The person would put information on the web, and it was just there. This is the Yahoo, MSN, Netscape kind of days,” he said. "Then Web2 came along, which is sort of where we're at now, and I think most folks are familiar with and, and that's sort of how people just see the internet.”
He means Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc. People can interact on these platforms, but ultimately the companies own everything.
“If you were to go onto Instagram right now, upload a photo. It’s your photo you took it, you edit it, you make it look beautiful, you've wrote a really nice caption copy, and you publish it, but ultimately, Facebook owns that information.”
Enter Web3, where ownership by the people comes in. While it's not there yet, DeManche predicts that it will be an important part of the future of pharma marketing, healthcare and science. The key is the “decentralization” of science, giving researchers access to fixed and well-established data.
DeManche sees the metaverse as a great way to engage with pharma and health, from doctors practicing conversations with patients in an educational way and other learning opportunities to interactive experiences.
“You're leveling the playing field of how folks are getting access to these things, because you can engage anywhere in this virtual reality, which I think is a really promising opportunity for a lot of folks around the world.”
One of the biggest opportunities for pharma that DeManche predicts is a way to really target patient communities and confirm that they are actually using the drug they are talking about by issuing a token—an NFT, if you will—that confirms the patient is on that particular med.
“You can then token gate, patient communities, websites, metaverse environments. There could be a patient center in decentraland that you can only access if you have that token,” he said.
“By leveraging the technology that is sort of powering Web3, you can start to get a lot smarter with some of the decisions that you're making that actually creates a better experience, in my opinion for patients, HCPs, marketers, everybody throughout the entire process."
While focus groups and the like in the metaverse are still a few years away, DeManche says he and his team are getting clients ready.
“What we're doing right now, answering questions. It is a great moment in time for savvy brand marketers to at least be aware of this happening.”