Archive for April, 2013

Deeper Relationships in Pharma: The “Give To Get” Side of Marketing, Part II

Recently I wrote about the idea of “Give To Get” marketing, the premise that you need to give value to your prospective customers before you ask them for their business.

To further reinforce this topic, I want to share a compelling story that a physician friend of mine shared over breakfast:

Laughing, she said, “I had an interesting experience yesterday with a rep. As you know, I’m hardball with sales reps. I rarely give them time. I walked in the back door to my office yesterday morning, and there were eight reps standing there, waiting. The office manager had told them there would be another doctor who would sign for their samples. I walked in, waving my hand, and said hi to everybody. I told them I would not be able to talk to anybody but that I would happily sign for their samples.”

This doctor is the highest-producing physician in her practice. Just having her sign for their samples is a big deal to these pharmaceutical sales reps.

repsShe marched right through to her office – with a smile the whole time – and closed the door. A few minutes later, the office manager came in with eight different signature devices. The doctor dutifully signed for them and handed them back to the office manager. It was at that point that the office manager handed her a piece of literature from one of the reps. She had a hunch that the doctor would find it interesting. And it did catch her attention.

“Okay, I want to see this rep. She’s got 30 seconds but I’m willing to see her.”

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Deeper Relationships in Pharma: The “Give To Get” Side of Marketing, Part I

Being Customer Focused vs. Message Focused

One of the interesting challenges facing marketing, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry, is the message. Not that we have a hard time coming up with key marketing messages. No, it’s the fixation on delivering that message even if it’s to the detriment of the customer relationship that is the problem. Should marketing be message-focused or customer-focused?

Every marketer will say, “Of course we’re customer-focused. We know who our best customers are and what they want.”

But in reality, everyone gets focused around the big creative idea. The Message.

madmenIn many ways, the TV show Mad Men reinforces the concept that the marketer’s genius is in finding the words, images and metaphors that will stir customers’ hearts and emotions enough to motivate purchase behavior.

Typically, however, messages are developed in a sterile focus group environment with the marketer sitting behind the one-way mirror. A handful of specific messages are trotted out to find which one gets the best response from a group of carefully selected physicians.

This seems to be a straightforward, logical and cost-effective way to build a communication approach to which physicians will respond. But the physicians used in market research may not only under-represent the larger physician population (most active physicians don’t have time for market research), the research is done completely out of the context of a physician’s crazy, busy day. A typical primary care doctor will shuttle from exam room to exam room seeing 18-20 patients in a day with rarely even a couple of minutes to see a sales rep. This is context where messages and value are truly tested. Read Full Article Now »