2020 Customer Awards: Eli Lilly and Company - The Accelerator

2020 Customer Awards: Eli Lilly and Company - The Accelerator

Company: Eli Lilly and Company

Company background: Lilly is a global health care leader that unites caring with discovery to create medicines that make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by a man committed to creating high-quality medicines that meet real needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Across the globe, Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and give back to communities through philanthropy and volunteerism. To learn more about Lilly, please visit us at and

Contact: Ariana Mathews

Title: Social Media Community Manager

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Lithy category: The Accelerator

1. Please describe your company and your initiative.

Eli Lilly and Company’s purpose is to unite caring with discovery to create medicines that make life better for people around the world. Engaging with patients and caregivers in two-way communication on social media introduces a number of risks for pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, including the potential of off-label product promotion, correcting misinformation, a 24-hour reporting window for adverse events (AEs) and product complaints (PCs), as well as adherence to additional FDA, FTC and other governing body requirements. To meet these stringent regulations, rigorous content approval processes – of organic, on-feed content and reactive community management responses—must be put in place. These processes, in addition to the roles and rules in place to manage them, are possible at Lilly thanks in part to the Khoros platform.

2. What was the “before” state? What challenges did you have to overcome?

Our relationship with Khoros (then Spredfast) began in 2015 with a small digital team centralized in Corporate Affairs, then focused solely on government affairs communications. As the company’s interest in connecting with targeted audiences grew, new social media teams emerged throughout the business and without a formal social media Center of Excellence (COE), the tech stack became displaced.


Some members of the Lilly corporate affairs social media team

One of these emerging digital groups was the US consumer marketing social media team, created in 2016 to support product-branded social media engagement. In 2017, this team, now the second largest digital team at Lilly (behind a larger corporate affairs social team, pictured), began its social care work leveraging a different social media content management tool. Shortly after the team’s onboarding to this new system, evident gaps emerged in the competitor product ranging from content scheduling inconsistencies, the inability to create a unified tagging structure and a lack of custom content approval paths – all key elements required to engage compliantly in a highly-regulated pharmaceutical company.


Members of the US consumer marketing social media and IDS teams

3. What were the results? Please cite qualitative and quantitative results.

In early 2019, prioritized digital groups in partnership with IDS (IT) came together in search of an enterprise-level content management tool. Representation included the aforementioned power users (corporate affairs and US consumer marketing social media teams), in addition to Lilly Medical, The Lilly Answers Center (Lilly’s customer support group), and input from several business unit areas (oncology, diabetes and biomedicines) and global affiliates. Armed with a list of over 150 prioritized requirements and after several rounds of RFI-to-RFP conversations, Khoros was the only platform that accomplished most of Lilly’s needs. Khoros was chosen as the enterprise social media content management system in the summer of 2019 and, in tandem with a new global social media procedure roll-out, became the only IT-approved solution. 


In early 2020 in partnership with the Khoros Implementation and Success teams, Lilly was able to onboard, train and optimize a compliant workflow of over 260 new users to the system – a 622% increase – ranging from social media SMEs, Human Resources, The Lilly Answers Center agents and support agency partners, spanning the US, Spain, Italy, France, UK, EU and Canada. Across the enterprise, these teams have fielded nearly 20,000 inbound posts across owned channels since the start of 2020.