Three Wise Dames

Marketing in the Life Science Industry

MedTech Vision 2011 Conference October 2, 2011

Filed under: Debbie,Lisa,MedTech Women,strategy,Women consumers — Debbie Donovan @ 2:54 am
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THEME: Advancing Care through Access, Cost and Innovation: Opportunities in the New Era of Med Tech

Lisa and Debbie spent two glorious days at this inaugural event. It was incredible to be in a room filled with powerful, successful women all from the MedTech industry. It was a nice change of pace to have the focus just on devices and diagnostics (no pharma or biotech, with all due respect). Speakers from all corners of the industry were featured in keynotes and in well organized panel discussions—each could have gone on for hours. The setting, refreshments and accommodations were spectacular, especially for out-of-area attendees.

Hats off to the catalysts and organizing committee; since you were able to pull off a stunningly successful event, you have a group ready to set a new course for evolving the industry that has captured our hearts and minds.

Quotable Moments–highlights from our notes:

Thursday AM

Thursday PM

Friday AM

Related links

Medtech Vision 2011

MedTech Women

2011 (C) eGold Solutions and pH Consulting; all rights reserved.

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Dosie Awards at Digital Pharma West July 11, 2011

Deb was a judge for 2011 Dosie Awards

In June, I spent a fair amount of time clicking on over 500 examples of social media in healthcare–companies, patients, industry observers–as a judge in Dose of Digital‘s 2nd Annual Dosie Awards. The winners were announced at Digital Pharma West (you can read who won here).

Here are my key takeaways from a judge and conference attendee perspective:

  • Listening: It’s about the patient–it always has been–and it’s easier then ever to discover what they are thinking and feeling. Understanding the patient journey and mapping the “listenings” from social media channels to their critical decision points is a path to successful implementation.
  • Start Small: Yes, relative to device and diagnostics, Pharma have larger overall budgets; however, the case study learnings are transferable without breaking the marketing budget. This is possible because digital implementations are scalable.
  • Purposeful cleverness is sticky: The Dosie Award Winners (presentation download) that captured the judges and popular votes were clever with a purpose and that lead to stickiness. As a judge, I would click on each site and give it 10 seconds to grab me. I noted the handful that kept me engaged beyond that point. When I cast my votes in the first round, it was easy to remember which ones stuck with me. As the winners were announced, I could envision something about each experience.

Bonus for me: At the conference, I had a chance to meet Jonathan Richman in person. He’s just as practical and passionate about social media in person as he is in the blog, on email and over the phone.

(C) 2011 eGold Solutions; all rights reserved.

 

A Word About Events: STOP November 30, 2010

Before you move forward to develop an in-person event-based marketing program, I am begging you, please STOP and ask: am I trying to create independent events or am I leveraging existing in-person events?

If you are creating a program to execute individual in-person events STOP again and ask: do I have any real ROI from previous efforts? I will bet the answer is no.

If you are creating a program to insert your product into an existing in-person event then good for you.

Two tests to use before committing budget dollars for an in-person event:

  • Does the in-person event already have committed attendees (e.g. industry meetings, community events)?
  • Is the in-person event being actively promoted by the organizers and sponsors (e.g. clinical organizations, hospitals)?

If you can’t answer yes to both questions, walk away from the event. Here’s why: everyone is busy!

Why would anyone want to attend an individual event put on by a group of people they don’t know on a topic to which they have no perceived connection?

It is so difficult these days to get the attention of your target audience (see Lisa’s post). Put yourself in your target attendee’s mind–would you want to attend? Is there anything interesting being said that will actually change your future behavior or is this just another opportunity to get a free meal?

Now if your organization wants to host a webinar, you are really thinking along the right lines. Why?

  • No travel, venue or food costs
  • Invitations and registrations are electronic
  • Attendees can ask questions before and during
  • Webinars can be recorded and posted to websites for broadcast and sharing (and posted transcriptions contribute to SEO)
  • Anyone who missed the actual “event” can participate at their convenience.

I attend many live webinars and review recordings when I miss events They are invaluable as a marketing professional on a quest to stay ahead of the curve on topics like intersection of social media channels and healthcare. I am such a believer in the webinar event that I’ve even recorded one of my own (in case you missed it).

(c) 2010 eGold Solutions

 

Mixing Metaphors–Needles, Haystacks and Cheese October 25, 2010

Filed under: Debbie,marketing,Social media,strategy — Debbie Donovan @ 11:17 pm
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Marketing using traditional methods feels like looking for a needle in a haystack. There are a variety of strategies that rely on the data collected on the target audience. IMHO this just decreases the size of the haystack and you are still looking for a needle.

In the past few weeks, I can’t get this analogy out of my mind. The power of e-marketing is that it not only reduces the size of the haystack it also collects the needles together. Social media channels enable the needles in the stack to become promoters and advocates for great brand experiences. Why would anyone resist this result?

I’ve been discussing this concept with a variety of marketing and sales professionals I’ve worked with over the years. In the past, I was guilty of the shared the illusion that we had control–over brand perception and ability to influence behavior.

Today I am willing to face the facts, the way we interact has changed profoundly due to the advent of computers, the internet and of course social media–interactions are much faster and wider spread. I am surprised by the on-going resistance and it reminds me of the book about change “Who Moved My Cheese.”

The Practice of Medicine use to change slowly and now thanks to technology it moves at the speed and breath of people’s daily interactions. If you want to understand what patients want and change your thinking about your product, read Lee Aase‘s 35 Social Media Theses or view his many presentations on the subject. He’s passionate about social media and how it intersects with health care creating haystacks of needles (patients).

The truth is we’ve never had control and change is constant–in business and in life. For those of you that know me, you won’t be surprised to hear me say I’m not afraid to hunt for some new and interesting cheese.

(c) 2010 eGold Solutions

 

Public Relations For Business Results August 9, 2010

“It seems obvious to me (and research backs me up) that we are most productive, persistent, creative, and flexible when we’re engaged in precisely the combination of activities that brings us maximum fun.” —Martha Beck, O Magazine- May, 2002

Well, work may not be all fun, but I am a firm believer that we should do work that we love and love what we do for a living. Life’s too short to do anything less.

For me, that means counseling clients on their business. More precisely, providing strategic counsel on how the communications programs I implement can impact their business. What’s that I say? Linking public relations and marketing communications efforts to business results?  Yep.

Another one of my firmly held beliefs is that public relations is NOT the same thing as publicity or media relations.  In fact, the role of public relations goes far beyond just awareness building. Or at least it should.

I’m not the only one who thinks this.  A few weeks ago, a group of public relations organizations met and developed principles that guide the measurement of communications.  The seven principles the organizations agreed to are:

  1. Importance of goal setting and measurement
  2. Measuring the effect on outcomes is preferred to measuring outputs
  3. The effect on business results can and should be measured where possible
  4. Media measurement requires quantity and quality
  5. Ad value equivalents (AVEs) are not the value of public relations
  6. Social media can and should be measured
  7. Transparency and replicability are paramount to sound measurement

In future posts, I’ll go into detail about each of these principles and how healthcare organizations can apply them to see greater results from their marketing and public relations efforts.

Agree or disagree, I’d love to hear your thoughts on achieving business results through public relations.

© 2010 Modern Health Communications, Inc.

 

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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