Three Wise Dames

Marketing in the Life Science Industry

A fascination with behind-the-scenes programs December 19, 2011

I was not a regular Oprah show watcher; however, from time to time, if there was a particular topic or guest of interest, I would go out of my way to record her regular show.

In May 2011, I made a point of recording the final weeks of the main show and captured her 25th Season Behind the Scenes program on OWN. When I’m engaged in mundane tasks (e.g. folding laundry), I really appreciate the opportunity to watch the Harpo crew in action. Oprah says her team is the best in the business and I couldn’t agree more.

Getting a “behind the scenes look” at project execution with their level of focus and intense attention to detail makes one appreciate excellence in professional work. Every show, event, campaign that any marketer develops should be approached with the notion that no stone should be left unturned and nothing should be left to chance. Since we don’t really have any control over how events unfold, it’s good to know that you’ve planned the core details and made just-in-case contingencies. Then when it’s time to let go and let “it” happen, you can do so and enjoy the ride. I’ve been experiencing Oprah’s Life Class on Facebook and because I have watched her behind the scenes program, I have a complete appreciation for how the well oiled the team is and how they’ve moved into creating as wonderful experience on-line as they did on the TV show.

Frequently, the Harpo team bites off more than they can chew and it is in those moments that you realize that you can’t execute every great idea–it’s better to do a few things and knock them out of the park. As Lisa says, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.

In medical marketing, the devilish details can be similar to an Oprah show—managing talent a.k.a. handling patients and health care professionals. It can also be vastly different—content negotiated down to the word, HIPAA privacy, ethics codes, etc. None of it should be overlooked and they are the parts of any program that contribute to successful outcomes.

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

Related Posts:

Great article about what it’s like behind the scenes of Oprah’s Life Class

(C) 2011 eGold Solutions; all rights reserved.

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In the beginning… July 14, 2010

PSB Church

During a recent discussion about when to hire marketing personnel, my client responded with ‘we’re not really ready for marketing’. This comment struck me odd, as I had been working with them on market development and marketing strategy. So I probed the thinking behind the comment. The client replied ‘we are not ready to roll out the product yet, so we don’t need advertising’.

In discussion with colleagues I’ve found that this thinking is not uncommon, and that many companies associate the term marketing with advertising and little else. It seems that what marketing is – is bewildering to some; sales and marketing are often used interchangeably when discussing customer interaction.

Peter Drucker is credited with the following quote; “Because its purpose is to create a customer, the business has two – and only two – functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation create value, all the rest are costs.”

That quote perfectly defines my belief about business and marketing. I have long worked in marketing, the world of art and science blended to connect with and serve a customer.  I love that marketing consists of a wide breadth of functions and is core to a business.

The very definition of marketing through the four P’s defines the necessity of marketing early on and throughout the course of the product life.

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion

While promotion is very important to the mix, it is the last in the list to master – and so much more successful if the other three are well attended to with hard core professional marketing.

Marketing happens in the earliest stages of a company.  An idea, a product concept or a service is presented to investors for early stage financing support, this is concept marketing.  Demographics, profiles and current practices provide a backdrop against which a new product or service is contrast; this is market definition.  Investigation into customer needs, behaviors, and loyalties is market research.

Marketing continues throughout the development phase of products and services, with a product requirements document, this is product marketing. Branding, product naming, product promotion, product training and service are all marketing functions.  All customer support and engagement are marketing. Public relations, education and training, pricing and promotion and market development are all marketing functions.  Even the discontinuation of a product or service is a marketing function.

Eric Brody, author of the blog Healthy Conversations, recapped the July Fast Company story about 10 lessons from Apple.  Among these key lessons is that ‘Everything is marketing’.  The recap and post can be read here.

It is true that my client is not yet ready to do advertising and should thoughtfully consider which marketing talent to hire. The best hire is someone who can do the marketing that is essential to the business at this point.  However, they have begun marketing, and if they are to be successful they must continue to do so.  Marketing starts in the beginning.

(c) 2010 pH Consulting

 

Baking from Scratch April 13, 2010

Recently a client asked me to design the ‘ideal marketing organization’. Specifically they wanted to create a marketing department that would serve customers and become the go to provider for all customer needs. This kind of challenge only happens in marketing dreams – or with a very forward thinking company. One would expect this type of request to come from a new startup company; however, this client is a large, well-established and respected company.

I eagerly accepted the challenge, relishing the thought of defining a dream team of talented professionals who could implement clear and effective marketing strategic plans.  I was asked to take a blank sheet of paper and from scratch, design a marketing organization with a full complement of the essential members baked into the structure.  No limits or restrictions applied.

At first glance this challenge appears straightforward.  Draw an organizational chart with boxes that contain titles and connecting lines establishing relationships one to another. This part of the challenge is relatively clear cut, but before populating those boxes and setting off to fill the positions, establishing the why and how such an organization is needed is crucial

Why = Goal

Two key business elements must be established to ensure that a marketing organization will be successful.  The first is a clearly stated goal.  It is the why element.  Why is a marketing organization with specific skills, talents and structure needed?  The goal is the accomplishment the team will need to achieve.  The actual accomplishment may be multifocal and many layered, but the goal should be clear, simple and succinct.

How = Strategy

The second element is a sound strategic plan. This is the how element. There are many ways to achieve a goal. Goals can be achieved without plans; however, planning significantly increases the likelihood of success. A sound strategic plan defines the methods to achieve the goal and identifies the essential means to do so. A team of people that can implement the strategy is essential.  The skills and talents of the team are implied in a sound strategy. 

With these two elements in place, the challenge of designing of an ideal marketing organization is straightforward.  Without establishing these business elements first, the concept of defining the ideal organization is half-baked.

(c) 2010 pH Consulting

 

 
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