The Value of Team Pharmaceutical Online Virtual Advisory Boards

Years ago, we were involved in two different advisory boards running around the same time.

One was for a lung cancer medication and it seemed like every day there was another challenge: unexpected side effects, manufacturing issues, supply issues, regulatory issues, you name it. All surrounding a product launched with only Phase II data. It was not a heart-warming story.

The other was a breast cancer drug and it was a winner. Patients loved it, doctors loved it, everybody loved it. Fantastic.

Now, of these two drugs, which do you think attracted long term, loyal advisors? The smart money would be on the breast cancer drug, right? Not so.

What we learned from these two cases is that the product or service in question doesn’t matter. What matters is how you invest in your advisory board and how you build them into a team.

Only in Pharma

Generally, in pharma today, advisory “boards” aren’t really “boards” at all. Company X decides they need opinions; they pick their 20, they send out their invitation requests and if someone declines they fill the seat with the next name on the list. And this list changes from year to year! Can you imagine if Fortune 500 companies formed their advisory boards this way? Can you see someone like Steve Jobs taking advice from people because they were available? Not a chance.

Responsible companies invest in their advisory boards. They keep them intact for years at a time so the members get to know the company, their products, and their services inside and out. And more importantly, the members get to know each other.

That hasn’t happened in pharma. But it’s starting to now because there are finally tools available to build long-lasting teams — tools like the Impetus Impetus InSite Platform®, an online platform that brings advisors together from anywhere in the world and lets them communicate any time, on their own time.

Back to the Two Drugs

The advisory board for the lung cancer drug was a tight group that had been together for a long time, like a Fortune 500 advisory board. They emotionally invested in the product — and in each other. Whenever a new problem arose, they jumped into action together to solve it. And even between problems, they were working together to improve the drug’s efficacy and reputation. They believed in what they were doing and it came through. There was energy.

Conversely, the Breast Cancer drug advisory board had zero energy. Why? Because it was a different group every year who came together for eight hours to toss ideas against the wall and that was it. No synergy. No camaraderie.

The point is this: Team matters. Consistency matters. Purpose matters. And passion matters. If you want to get the most out your advisory board, you have to put them in the position to give you their all. That starts with you, with recruiting properly and with giving your members a place to connect more than once or twice a year.

That’s what Impetus provides, and we’d love to show you how it works. If you’re ready for a better advisory board, one that you can count on to last, contact us at

Impetus is the Online Customer Advisory Board expert, offering the most comprehensive B2B Online Customer Advisory Board solutions. We increase customer intimacy, engagement, and retention by creating a shared future direction with customer executives and key opinion leaders.