Pharma: Is Your Brand Surviving or Thriving? Lessons From Polar Bears and First Peoples of Canada

 Just back from sub-arctic Churchill, Canada, also known as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World,” we had an amazing opportunity to not only see these magnificent animals ‘up close and personal’, but to also meet and talk with some of the First Peoples (which include the First Nations, Inuit and Metis) who shared their interesting history and stories.

Churchill is a small, northern town in the Canadian province of Manitoba and is located on the shore of the Hudson Bay, where the polar bears descend from October to mid-November as they wait for the Bay to freeze, so they can go back out and hunt for ringed seals. The only way to reach this remote settlement is by prop plan or a 40-hour train journey from Winnipeg. (We flew on none other than ‘Calm Air’.)

The first thing that we were told as we were greeted in Churchill: “ At this time of the year, there is every possibility of a polar bear wondering into town, and remember,  they haven’t eaten since July!… In other words, the bear warnings posted around town are not for show or to give tourists a frisson! [We also learned two important lessons should you come face-to-face with a polar bear:  1) do not run and 2) do not play dead.]

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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

Pharma: Are You Ready To Optimize Your Digital Strategy NOW?

Here is my recent presentation, Digital Strategy in the NOW Economy: Proactive and Real-time as presented at The Social Media in Pharma Online Summit Conference.  While this digital strategy presentation is geared to Pharma and Healthcare, it is quite relevant for all marketers with an eye to reconsidering their digital approach in the NOW Economy which demands both new skills and changes in our marketing mindset.

Slide Content Overview:

  • The NOW Economy Demands…
  • Kick-Ass Digital Brand Strategy- It’s not about technology. It is about creating opportunities for the brand/company to build deeper relationships. Digital strategy must integrate into the brand strategy and strengthen the brand’s core promise.
  • Creating and Leveraging a Digital Brand Strategy requires new skills and a discipled, fluid process. Follow these six steps to greater success.
  • Five Imperatives to Boost Your Digital IQ- Concentrate your learning on these five critical success factors for today’s marketplace, starting with 1) designing content strategy, 2) delivering ‘perfect fit’, 3) thinking digital ecosystem, 4) fostering community and 5) getting over ‘lack of control’. Are there are others that you might suggest?
  • Go. Initiate. Enchant.- Health is Social- Try something new!

The challenges of INTEGRATION and how to best keep the brand’s core promise front and center appear to be top-of-mind to Pharma right now.

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Keep Your Brand Healthy And Thriving: Complimentary eBook

With 2011 galloping along and 2012 planning just around the corner, we’re excited to share our Brand Champion Health Check  — a complimentary eBook designed to help marketers and business leads assess their company and brand’s health, and to consider what actions will power successful growth.

While the eBook centers on the Pharma and healthcare industry, it is also highly relevant to any consumer brand.

Champions know that staying in top health is critical and that early detection is key to avoiding costly down time and poor performance – can even mean the difference for survival. However, unlike the many patient health screens available or the ease by which consumers can go for their annual physical, marketers do not have ready access to a thoughtful, comprehensive health check-up.

The Brand Champion Health Check screens three parameters

 

 

 

 

 

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Pharma Marketers: Eight Things We Might Learn From Zappos.com

Here’s my take after reading Delivering Happiness:  A Path To Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh CEO, Zappos.com, Inc. While it’s true that Zappos lives in a less regulated business environment than the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry, Tony’s standards for communicating with consumers are now part of the context of our work. Patients have come to expect Zappos- level experiences.  This blog accepts that challenge:  what might a pharma company or hospital might look like if Tony were CEO…

Eight marketing insights for Pharma (or any healthcare or consumer business for that matter):

1. Are you sitting at the right table? If not, it’s never too late to change! It’s easy to get caught up and engrossed in what you’re currently doing, and forget that you even have the option to change tables. It’s also easy to overlook that the game starts even before you sit down in a seat… Don’t let inertia win, be sure you’re playing in the right game—one that you can both win at and fulfills your goals.

 While Tony learned this lesson during a phase of heavy poker play, he switched tables quite a few times during his life, and certainly for Zappos, they switched tables when they shifted the company strategy to focus on customer service and experience as a brand differentiator. It caused a shift in their business model from one of drop-shipping to one of carrying their own inventory so that they could be in control of their customers’ experiences…What’s the game your pharma co is playing? Continue reading

5 Marketing and Social Networking Lessons from the Dead…

hippieshop.com

In honor of my “Deadhead” hubby and the millions of others out there, and the pending Grateful Dead Archive soon to open at the University of California at Santa Cruz, it’s a great time to recognize the Grateful Dead for their marketing and social networking prowess.

But even if you’re not a Deadhead, the Atlantic’s Management Secrets of the Grateful Dead  is a must read article.

The Grateful Dead Archive, scheduled to open soon at the University of California at Santa Cruz, will be a mecca for academics of all stripes: from ethnomusicologists to philosophers, sociologists to historians.  But the biggest beneficiaries may prove to be business scholars and management theorists, who are discovering that the Dead were visionary geniuses in the way they created “customer” value”, promoted social networking, and did strategic business planning. -by Joshua Green

Why Should corporate America or Pharma and Healthcare Marketers care?  The Dead pioneered ideas and practices that were subsequently embraced by business and ‘Internet business models’.

Here are 5 Marketing and Social Networking Lessons that I took away from the Grateful Dead’s incredible marketing success. 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

Some of the Best Healthcare Blogs and eBooks of 2009

As we move into 2010, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ve learned this year, much of it triggered by the tremendous number of thought leader blogs, eBooks and white papers that I’ve read this year.  While there is no way to capture all the great work happening 24/7, here’s a smattering of a few (well maybe more than a ‘few’) that you may want to read or re-read as we get ready to step into 2010…

Topics cover a range- from social media and technology, to ePatients and marketing, including implications for Pharma and Healthcare, in the US and Europe. Please feel free to share other posts that you found valuable. Happy reading…  Continue reading

Pharma Marketers: No Product Is An Island

Recently, I spent a productive day working with a smart group of consumer agency partners to integrate and finalize 2010 Marketing Plans for a Pharma brand we all support.

Our conversation centered around the brand promise and the patient experience throughout the decision and treatment journey: from awareness and consideration, through conversion, adherence and advocacy or brand champion. We discussed the impact of different triggers and barriers, or where we might lose consumers (leaky buckets), which targets should be high priorities and why, and how the patient journey is no longer linear. (You may also want to read The New Marketing Funnel by Adam Cohen at A Thousand Cuts.)

All the stuff you might expect a consumer team to collaborate and consider…Sounds good… EXCEPT… the work represented only the consumer team– or one of the brand’s customers.  Continue reading