Three Wise Dames

Marketing in the Life Science Industry

An Appreciation of DVD Extras January 31, 2012

Filed under: Business,Corporate Preparation,Debbie,Innovation — Debbie Donovan @ 11:39 am

Most in my circle know of my passion for the work of George Lucas, especially the Star Wars Universe filled with fascinating characters, exotically imagined locations and classic good vs. evil plot lines. I adore watching the DVD extras especially those that pick apart how the movie come together:

  • who spoke with who to initiate the project—frequently it’s a small miracle the film was ever put into production
  • how casting and directing decisions were made—great films always feature a palpable chemistry between the players on screen and off
  • how the roles of certain specialty professionals (music, editing, special effects, makeup, costume, sets, props) combine to create the overall look and feel—some elements become characters in their own right to elevate the final experience.

It’s helpful to pick apart and study successful marketing programs both inside healthcare and in the consumer arenas. There are many lessons to be learned and applied.

What behind the scenes programs have enlightened you and what lessons do you remember? Share the wisdom.

P.S Oprah’s Next Chapter interview with George Lucas was wonderful, worth catching on OWN. And yes, I am looking forward to the 3-D versions of my favorite saga on the big screen once again.

(C) 2012 eGold Solutions; all rights reserved.

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3WD Interview–John Bashkin June 16, 2011

I met John Bashkin through our mutual membership in the Bio2Device Group. He asked me to co-author an article in MDDI based on a presentation I gave to the group in April. The article with side bar has been published–Medical Device Makers Can Learn Social Media Skills from Pharma + ShareThis Example. I’d like to introduce my collaborator.

John Bashkin

  • How did you arrive in your current role?

I began my career as a technologist and gradually became more interested in how technology and business map onto each other to create commercially successful innovation. That’s where I’ve been working for past decade or so, with particular interest in life science and medical device innovations.

  • What do you love most about the work you do?

Working across a wide variety of technologies and clinical needs pushes me to constantly learn, and that keeps the work stimulating.

  • Where is the most exotic place in the world that you’ve eaten?

In the heart of the Ranomafana National Park in Madagascar, where I was volunteering on a lemur conservation project. Exhausted, soaked to the bone, covered in mud, and flicking off leeches – a can of sardines never tasted so good!

Many colleagues know of my fascination for the medical use of leeches so I have to say that I am a little jealous of John’s experience.

(C) 2011 eGold Solutions; all rights reserved.

 

Reflections from a Facebook Tour October 21, 2010

Filed under: Debbie,Innovation,Social media — Debbie Donovan @ 12:21 am
Tags: , , ,

Signature Art Piece in Lobby

Lego Sign at Front Desk

At the close of the IABC Pacific Plains Regional Exchange conference, I was able to join a group of professional communicators on a tour of one of the most fascinating companies of the 21st Century–Facebook. The global headquarters are located at the end of a small quiet street in Palo Alto with homes across the street in a building long abandoned by another legendary PA start-up, Hewlett Packard. The unassuming lobby entrance masks a group of less then 2000 employees (1000 in PA) who are on a big mission to connect people around the globe (no matter the platform).

The Face Ball--a collection of name badges

After passing “the tank” and observing Mark Z in a meeting with about half a dozen executives, one of young women that lead our tour asked us to provide our impressions and observations. The “open” and “fun” environment were obvious. What struck me was the lack of paper recycling bins and filing cabinets which lead me to look for the printers/copiers. Ironic because the building was once used by a major printer manufacturer.
The next thought I had was of a tour I took about 15 years ago of a paper factory in Ripon, CA. Another piece of irony–here I was noticing the lack of paper use at Facebook and remembering how paper is manufactured. On that tour, the paper line broke and as they cleaned the break to start up the rollers again, we could see how the paper went from a wet pulp into finished product. At that time, the plant was considered environmentally conscious (e.g. the steam from the drying process was converted into electricity and used to power the entire town).

My nametag on the ball

At Facebook, they are so green that the product they manufacture is generated out of the raw material of human creativity coded by brilliant engineers on a singular mission fueled by large quantities of sugar and caffeine. It is amazing that they don’t need printers or paper to capture the profound value of their manufacturing. Members and connections are the primary measurement of their value to all of us. May the company continue to make meaningful contributions in our time. Ole

(C) 2010 eGold Solutions

D2 writing on on the FB Wall

My initials on the wall

The Facebook Wall

 

Good products do not a business make August 3, 2010

I love Mexican wine. Yep, you read that correctly, especially Mexican wine from the small vineyards in the Valle de Guadalupe on the Ruta del Vino. If you like wine, and haven’t tasted wines from this region yet, you are seriously missing out. 

I have a goal to visit and taste wines from all the regions in the world, especially the little known regions. Unfortunately, Mexican wines still qualify as ‘little known’. While wine has been produced there since the 17th century, it was mostly for and by the Catholic Church, after a ban was imposed by the Spanish government preventing ‘New Spain’ from producing highly palatable wine, through a heavy-handed political power maneuver.  Bless the hearts of those defiant Jesuit and Dominican priests for keeping a good thing flowing! 

Fast forward and thanks to Russian immigrants fleeing the czar in the early 1900’s, replanting and winemaking revived many years after the Mexican Reform War.  During this period many church holdings were confiscated by the state, and wine making was abandoned.  

Mexican wines are relatively new again, having taken root, so to speak  in the 1980’s.  I traveled to the region a few years ago to seek out these wines. The wines and the region were more than worth the trouble to get to them.  However, even some twenty odd years later, the wineries were just beginning to develop businesses around the wine.

Wine clubs, restaurant wine lists, tasting rooms, wine events and out of state shipping were not part of the early product offering.  Nor were winery cave tours, branded websites, restaurant lists where wines were served, locations of wine stores where it could be purchased or wine stewards recommending pairings part of the winerys product offering.   Spanish wine was still served for official state dinners at the capitol in Mexico City until the early 2000’s!  Mexican wine, good as it is, was a product, not yet a business.  Each vintner and winery struggled to build businesses, even with a good product.

This situation repeats itself in many life science startup companies. New and innovative products are developed and then introduced to the market with the fundamental wrappings of sales brochures, 800 numbers, return policies and training materials. Companies pin their hopes and earnings projections on the basis of the product being novel, leapfrogging the competition, and winning awards for best in class. 

But it takes more, much more for a good product to be successful and a company to become a business. For a twist in thinking about successful businesses based only on the most innovative  and novel products, read the post by Greg Satell on Crappy Innovation.   Note in particular the references to Charles Schwab – not a crappy product. 

To turn a good, novel or even crappy product into a successful business requires servicing the customer beyond the product.  For life science technologies that includes advertising, PR, education, training, clinical data, publications, technical and reimbursement support, at a bare minimum. 

To develop a strong business the product offering must extend beyond the fundamentals and the traditional offerings.  Servicing the customer must meet their needs beyond the transaction. Providing new services like co-marketing, data sharing, virtual training, community building, cross technology development, and even competitive alliances that facilitate physicians’ abilities and enhance patient outcomes creates significant intrinsic value. If a company is to become a robust business, the product is not the be-all, end-all. Rather a good product must be the beginning of creating a robust business for the customer.

A few final words on Mexican wine – should you find a bottle of Mogor-Badan Chasselas or Casa de Piedra’s blend of Cabernet and Tempranillo, drink them to good health and think of me.

(c) 2010 pH Consulting

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