- Presented by Twitter

Twitter's Lisa Bookwalter on Innovation and Influencers in Healthcare

The opportunities, and challenges, of humanizing a critical industry

This edition of Checkup is presented by Twitter, a sponsor of the 2022 Clio Health Awards.

Lisa Bookwalter is Director, Twitter Client Services, Health, responsible for leading the health sector at Twitter. She oversees all health client partnerships as well as Twitter's market positioning in the health space.

Prior to joining Twitter, she was a senior director at Healthline Media, where she led a sales team delivering significant growth from industry leaders, such as Eli Lilly and Takeda. Before entering the health space in 2011, Lisa led the travel vertical at Meredith Corporation as the advertising director.

Lisa earned her AB from Smith College and lives in Irvington, New York. Follow her on Twitter @BookwalterLisa. We spoke with Lisa for our series Checkup, where we chat with leaders in the healthcare marketing space.

Lisa, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, and did a 20-year stint in NYC before settling in Irvington, New York.

How you first got into healthcare marketing, and what attracted you to it.

Entirely by accident. I was at Meredith in a very print-driven role, and with the market transitioning to digital dominant, I needed to transition with it and take the plunge to digital. An old colleague of mine, Dante Gaudio, who was at Healthline, offered me a sales representative job working with Pfizer. I was like, "Hmmm … pharma, I can do pharma." And I never could have imagined how the next 10-plus years would play out with so much innovation and transformation. I believe the people who will ultimately cure cancer are actually working in the space right now, and they will be alive to see it. It's a thrilling industry in which to work.

Something people might not know about the healthcare industry.

I believe that people think of healthcare, and pharma specifically, as slow and not innovative. But that is a very surface-level assessment. Nothing challenged this assumption more than the speed with which pharmaceutical companies developed vaccines and treatments for Covid-19. This was due to the fact that pharma was already deep into leveraging new technologies to study SARS viruses, which they were able to use to bring an incredibly effective vaccine to market in record time. There are new oncology treatments coming to market all the time that are making what was once a terminal diagnosis now something patients have real possibility to defeat. Just the discovery of immuno-oncology, where treatments help the body itself fight cancer, is astonishing. This industry is incredibly forward looking, and its impact is unmatched by any other.

A recent project you're proud of.

I love our recent activation with Nurtec, #RelieveYourFeed, where they tapped into Twitter to help patients be proactive about migraine triggers as it pertains to their use of the platform. Within the interactive ad, people could click into their personal settings to change things like brightness to head off triggers. I love this because it really demonstrated how much the brand understands the patient, plus they were able to connect with them in a clever, playful yet meaningful way. It's also an activation that was designed specifically for Twitter, leveraging how and what our audience likes to engage with. It was a highly successful campaign with engagement rates double the category-specific benchmark on the platform.

Someone else's project in healthcare that you were impressed by recently.

A major challenge facing healthcare advertisers today is balancing authenticity with the realities of pharma marketing, such as medical and regulatory language required within the ad space. I recently hosted a "Closed Conversation" discussion alongside clients with the Digital Health Coalition around innovation in healthcare professionals (HCPs), and we discussed working with influencers. Working with influencers is a great way to humanize pharma and connect with audiences; however, there are legitimate concerns around adverse events and legal implications of what an influencer says that have to be addressed and often curtail their authenticity. And if an influencer isn't perceived as authentic, the program loses its value. So that tension makes it hard for pharma to evolve as quickly as other industries in how they reach the right audiences at the right time.

One thing about how healthcare is evolving that you're excited about.

I love the humanization of healthcare. I love HCPs using platforms like Twitter to be more human, more accessible and, ultimately, more informed and effective. I love that patients take to social platforms to share the realities, too: the struggles, the triumphs and the daily grind of managing a condition. It demystifies and reduces fear and anxiety for everyone—patients, caregivers, etc. I love that pharma is talking to the whole patient, and focusing on the mental and physical toll of diseases.

How healthcare can attract more creative talent.

The narrative that healthcare is staid and boring has to be disrupted to get young talent interested in the space. The reality is, no industry is innovating more where it matters.

What you would be doing if you weren't in healthcare marketing.

Teaching yoga and playing a lot of tennis!

Checkup is a Muse series where we chat with leaders in healthcare marketing. To learn more about Checkup or our Clio Health program, please get in touch.

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