Pharma Marketers: 6 Key Skills Every Brand Champion Will Possess

In our ever-changing media landscape, coupled with increasingly powerful ePatient communities, a demand for new standards has arisen.  As a result, Pharma [and in reality all marketers] must accelerate their skills in six key areas to separate their marketing communications, and become brand champions. 

Read the full article in DTC Perspectives March 2011: Tough Demands to Galvanize Marketing Communications: 2011 Brand Champions Will Possess Six Key Skills.

Every marketer knows that spurring brand and patient success requires building on wisdom from the past, while honing new abilities to educate, motivate and converse with patients and their families.  Savvy marketers know that the 4P’s – also renamed SIVA [Solution, Information, Value, Access] to provide greater customer focus- have never been more critical.  In addition, 2011 brand champions are challenged to create Michael Porter’s “shared value”, accelerating skills in six areas:

  1. Dynamic listening and action, real-time. Astute marketers take dynamic listening seriously- they know who to listen to, where to listen, what’s most important to take note of, and are eminently geared to take action by responding nimbly to new learning.  Champion marketers know that listening without action is as dangerous as acting without listening. Continue reading

A New Reality in DTC Advertising?

The last few months, I’ve been deeply entrenched in “Execution” for an important client. So needless to say, I’ve been thinking A LOT about what it takes to move from strong strategy to superb execution, and more specifically, what it takes to achieve what I call “High Return Execution” (HRE).    Look for more thoughts on HRE in the upcoming weeks… (And my sincere apologies for the resulting lack of blogging and staying connected with many of my friends’ blogs these last few months)

Today, I want to share a personal experience.  Last week my team led an advertising shoot for a prescription product’s new multi-channel campaign we are intimately involved with.  There was much to feel good about – the creative idea tested very well and is strong. We also had a terrific creative and production team, a wonderful photographer who we’ve all worked with before, and we were shooting in a venue that turned out to be magical…not to mention the beautiful picture- perfect, dry sunny days … [How can you  complain about spending two days on an unspoiled 200 acre ranch in northern California?]

But as I flew home from the shoot, reflecting upon the previous few days, I kept feeling there was something even more special … something that I rarely feel after shoots … and then I realized … 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

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

Best Learning Actions for Healthcare Marketers in 2010? (free eBook)

Inspired by Alvin Toffler’s quote: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn,” we asked 12 leading bloggers and healthcare thought leaders to share their reflections: what would they recommend as top learning strategies for Pharma and Healthcare marketers in 2010?

Overall, there were six themes that contributors brought to life:

1)  e-Patients are at the center and critical to learning and design;
2)  Authenticity isn’t a ‘nice to do’, it’s a ‘must’ (and you won’t be the one who decides whether you’ve succeeded);
3)  Don’t’ get distracted by ‘bells and whistles’-remember the basics and keep your brand core strong;
4)  New marketing challenges require new ROI thinking…the ROI of connection, authenticity and compassion;
5)  The marketing cycle of life is going through unprecedented change requiring all marketers and communications people to unlearn much-the movement from paid marketing to earned marketing requires a different mindset and skills; and
6)  Effective marketing and engagement will require new kinds of leadership skills.

Or as Steve Woodruff would say, “it’s a holiday grab-bag of nuggets from the wise travelers–some myrrh, some gold, some SEO, some patient communities–stick your hand in and grab some goodies!”

My heartfelt appreciation to the 12 contributors-yet another example of the power of the community.  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?

Continue reading