What Zipcar Can Teach The BioPharma Industry: 9 Marketing Lessons

After reading a recent blog in Fast Company called The Zipcar Case: Zipping from Very Good to Magnetic, I started to consider, what would it take for BioPharma and Healthcare brands to not just be liked, but to truly be magnetic?  And what lessons, if any, might Zipcar’s success suggest for the BioPhama and Healthcare industry?

While admittedly, Zipcar still has a ways to go financially, most agree that it redefined the Rental Car Market by offering consumers hassle-free “wheels when you want them”…

With success in hand and a recent IPO in April 2011 valuing the company at over $1 billion, Zipcar offers marketing and branding lessons for Pharma that transend the car rental market:

1. Start-ups create new markets, or they don’t survive. Zipcar didn’t chase the existing car rental market at airports with incremental change, they imagined a new market—car rentals by the hour, 5-10 minutes from where you live or work.  Zipcar didn’t depend on market data (it doesn’t exist for a non-existent market) or simply asking consumers what they want, which often biases companies toward incremental improvements of current solutions.  To quote Henry Ford, “If I had asked customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” [What Zipcar Can Teach The S&P 500 Business Week and HBR May 2011] Continue reading

Marketers: What Would Jake and Rocket Do? 13 Imperatives for 2010 (part 3 of 4)

What Would Jake and Rocket Do?
This is the third of a four part series for Consumer and Pharma/Healthcare marketers looking to tame the rigors of 2010… In case you’re just coming in now, here is the first of the series: What Would Steve Jobs Do? And the second: What Would Google Do?

Who are Jake and Rocket you ask? Jake and his trusty dog Rocket have become icons of optimism, and Life is good ® America’s little clothing brand that could-that is trying to spread good vibes all over the world. Having recently returned from a few days of holiday skiing in Vermont, and the proverbial t-shirt buying with ‘my three sons’… Life is good was all around us spreading their optimism and good cheer.

Here are some of Jake and Rocket’s insights that all marketers-Consumer, B2B and Pharmaceutical/Healthcare – may want to pay attention to in 2010. Continue reading

Marketers: What Would Steve Jobs Do? 6 Marketing Imperatives for 2010 (part 1 of 4)

What Would Steve Jobs Do? This is the first of a four part series for Consumer and Pharma/Healthcare Marketers looking to tame the rigors of 2010…by taking a closer look and asking ourselves what three incredibly successful people and companies in business today would do…

The genesis for this series first came while reading Fortune’s CEO of the Decade and The Decade of Steve, and thinking about the question that Apple executives asked themselves over and over during Steve Job’s six month leave of absence in early 2009: What would Steve Jobs do? Recently, I picked up What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis (great book)… I hope you’ll stay tuned for What Would Google Do? And What Would Jake and Rocket Do? And What Might Marketers Do in 2010?

As you’re developing new products, services and/or marketing plans this year, here’s a question to ask yourself at each major milestone and decision point…

What Would Steve Jobs Do? The threshold for moving forward: Would it pass Steve’s test? In the past 10 years alone Steve Jobs has radically and lucratively reordered three markets –music, movies, and mobile telephones–and his impact on his original industry, computing has only grown. Continue reading

My 13 Favorite Business Books of 2009

As 2009 comes to a close, I want to share my thirteen favorite biz books from this year that I found myself writing the most “Notes in the Back of the Book“, and stimulating the greatest new thinking and ideas. The list of books covers social media, marketing and new marketing models, and innovation and leadership. For reference, here are also business book favorites by Fast Company, Mashable, Amazon and The Brand Bubble (John Gerzema).

If you’re looking to better understand and excel in today’s social media and web 2.0 worlds, here are four: Inbound Marketing is a must for anyone who wants to be found online, and is especially helpful for anyone who is actively considering how to get started with inbound marketing. Written by the leaders of Hubspot, they know what they’re talking about. Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julian Smith shows how people use online social tools to build networks of influence and how you can tap into the power of these networks to positively impact your business. Because trust is essential to building online reputations, those who traffic trust are “trust agents” and key people for any business.  Putting the Public Back into Public Relations shows how to reinvent PR around two-way conversations with traditional and new influencers, bringing the “public” back into public relations. Both are consistent thought leaders in the area of PR. Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushik begins to bring accountability to web 2.0 online programs with focus on customer- centered thinking and measurement, and builds upon his 2007 book.

Of course, to participate in our ever changing digital and social world, strategic marketing and a deep customer focus are still paramount.  How is marketing evolving? In Marketing with Meaning, Bob Gilbreath outlines the next evolutionary step in a progression following direct marketing and permission marketing. The book calls for the end of “push and sell” marketing in favor of adding value to customers’ lives. Excelling in marketing also starts with listening…In Listen First. Sell Later, Bob Poole outlines the benefits of listening FIRST. And to remind us about customer- centered marketing, I Love You More Than My Dog by Jeanne Bliss is a great read. Who can argue that companies like Lands End didn’t get it right early on? Continue reading

2010 Outlook: 10 Ways to Win With Patients and Improve DTC Efforts

[Full article: 2010 Outlook: Doom and Gloom For DTC? 10 Points for Winning with Patients, published in DTC Perspectives, December 2009]

Despite many gloomy predictions for DTC advertising and the pharma industry overall, there’s never been a better time for marketers to forward their brands and consumers’ lives with new thinking about what constitutes patient marketing in the 21st Century (DTC 21).  Ten prescriptions can help improve focus and strengthen DTC efforts in 2010.  Important media and technology trends are also “musts” to actively consider for those who want to bump impact and value.

  1. Adopt an updated definition for DTC that considers the full picture of how consumers will interpret and interact with a brand TODAY. This calls for attention beyond “big bang” marketing spends, and begs for identifying meaningful levers to drive education and growth. DTC is no longer just an awareness or acquisition vehicle to move “eyeballs” through a linear marketing funnel; it’s every influence and touch needed to bring new information and education, help convert, instill loyalty and inspire advocacy.  Continue reading

Pharma and Marketers: How Do You Elegantly Use What You Have?

Pharma and Marketers alike, as we approach the end of summer, perhaps a little introspection is warranted?

In the latest McKinsey Quarterly, Dan Vasella, CEO and chairman of Novartis, shares his personal approach to management and leadership, and discusses health care reform, the economic downturn, and executive compensation…During the discussion on compensation, he poses an interesting question worth pondering:

“…I think it much more important to ask, ‘How do you use what you have?’ It’s like with talents you have, do you really use them for the best of society? Do you give something? How do you use the money you have? Is it just to have more zeros on the bank account at the end of the year? Or do you do something right with it?”

So in these tough economic times and with healthcare reform looming, might it not be important for each of us to ask:  How does our business, or our brand(s) use what they have?

How do we use our talents to add maximum value?

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Can Pharma Marketers Glean Insight From 10 Successful Entrepreneurs?

In a recent article by Inc., a group of visionaries share their reflections on the rise to prominence of entrepreneurship, and how their lives and perspectives have changed over the course of the past 30 years. What insights surrounding innovation and leadership can Pharma Marketers glean today?

1.  Donny Deutsch: There are No Geniuses 

This frees you up to think “I can do that”  ( …We desperately need this kind of thinking in business right now…)

2.  Scott Cook: Why Culture Matters 

“People who suggest the end of the workplace totally misunderstand the social nature of work.  There is a social fabric to work.”  His greatest entrepreneurial legacy has been fostering an environment of open-mindedness and a culture where great ideas are nurtured  (Sound familiar in Pharma’s highly political environment? I don’t think so…)

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Pfizer Takes A Page From Hyundai Marketing With New Recession Offer!

Yesterday, Pfizer announced a FREE Medicines Program for newly unemployed Americans.  The new program will help eligible unemployed Americans and their families who have lost their health insurance maintain access to their Pfizer medicines for free for up to 12 months or until they become re-insured (which ever is first).

More than 70 Pfizer primary care medicines will be available through the program, including such chronic medications as Lipitor, Celebrex and Lyrica, but not some of the costly specialty drugs for diseases such as cancer. A key requirement is that a person must have been prescribed and taking a Pfizer medicine for at least 3 months prior to becoming unemployed and enrolling in the program.

The inspiration for the new program, called MAINTAIN (Medicines Assistance for Those who Are in Need), was generated by Pfizer employees who were witnessing friends, family and neighbors struggle to make ends meet after losing their jobs.  “We thought there must be some way we could help recently unemployed people who are taking Pfizer medicines to continue treatment during theses challenging economic times,” said Dr. Jorge Puente, Pfizer’s regional president of Worldwide Pharmaceuticals, a leading champion of the initiative.  Continue reading

The New Marketing: Leading A Tribe to Create a Movement?

Every once in a while, it’s good to take a step back…

The Ted Tribe Talk: “Tribes are what matter now” just went live.  In 17 minutes, Seth Godin bring to life his story: the Internet has ended mass marketing and revived a human social unit from the distant past: tribes. Founded on shared ideas and values, tribes give ordinary people the power to lead and make big change… Everyone and anyone should step up–find something worth changing and start a movement by asking the tribe to spread the idea…

Seth speaks to the evolution in marketing from factory, to mass market and “push” advertising,  to the growth of the internet and the idea of tribes as a way to lead and connect people and ideas. He believes that tribes are what people want now–tribes can create movements that can help change the world– not because of force, power or money– but because people want to connect especially to something worth changing. Seth makes the point that its not about the numbers, but creating a movement among the people that care–the true believers–and as little as a thousand believers is enough.

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2009: Do you have a ‘Stop Doing’ List to Focus Your Marketing?

As we were developing our website to pay off: “Elegant Prescriptions for Leading Performance”, I stumbled upon Matthew E May and his book The Elegant Solution, and went on to read his two “Change This” manifestos:

Elegant Solutions: Breakthrough Thinking the Toyota Way and Mind of the Innovator.  I was struck with Matt’s insight and unique perspective on Toyota’s ability to continually innovate and produce elegant solutions. I was instantly a fan…

Matt wrote a blog to usher in 2009 that has stuck with me since I read it a few weeks ago–so much so– I would like to share it:  “2009: Don’t Just Do Something.”  It flips on its ear how we often approach problems and life: …always looking for what to do, rather than what to not do.  Continue reading