Three Wise Dames

Marketing in the Life Science Industry

3WD Interview–Susan Brown February 1, 2013

Filed under: 3WD Interviews,Debbie,DTC,Social media — Debbie Donovan @ 12:00 pm
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Susan Brown

I connected with Susan Brown at an industry luncheon. We quickly bonded over the topic: how medical device companies could metric their marketing efforts real-time to determine which ones were the most efficient revenue drivers. She was working at Conceptus at the time and I was an alumni so we decided to meet again and learn more about each other’s experiences. I admired what Susan was doing then and now and I couldn’t resist asking her our interview questions.

  • How did you arrive in your current role?

Basically I’ve been able to take my technology marketing background (Intel, Cisco, Apple, etc.) and apply it to healthcare/med devices/pharma products and services. I’ve been involved in technology and healthcare since the 1990’s; first with a medical imaging company that evolved into a company with a software platform for automating clinical trial patient identification ( I’m still an advisor to them. Then I had the opportunity to work on revolutionary changes in healthcare for Kaiser Permanente’s HealthConnect launch—we had no idea it would be the most disruptive model for change in US healthcare. Most recently, as eMarketing consultant for Genentech, I got to lead the new Tamiflu launch for the 2012-2013 season—been a fun progression!

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

Best of all to me is to work with creative, smart people and use new techniques and technology to connect and inform health care professionals and consumers/patients, through such methods as affinity communities. For example, as Digital Marketing Director for Conceptus, I produced the “GYN Summit” Community, a moderated on-line forum and destination site for OB/GYN docs to share best practices and communicate easily and securely with each other about procedures, best practices and techniques. Was great to “meet” new folks, help them learn from each other and learn a lot myself as well!

Also I especially enjoy the challenge of transitioning healthcare marketing to involve more social media—there’s still a lot of hand-holding to do to help companies engage consumers, patients and healthcare professionals in new ways of communication.

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

In November 2011 I went to Vietnam and Cambodia— so far the trip of my lifetime. One evening in Cambodia, our guide took us to a local nighttime street market with food stalls of all kinds. There were food stands with grilled frog legs, tiny birds (not sure what they were) and “snacks” of sautéed crickets spiced with soy sauce and Sriracha (a type of hot sauce). The crickets are crunchy like popcorn with kernels that get in your teeth! Actually I tried everything and liked it all.

(C) 2013 eGold Solutions; all rights reserved.


The Staircase to Nearly Nowhere March 23, 2012

Filed under: Lisa,Market Planning,Products — Lisa Pohmajevich @ 10:15 pm
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Photo courtesy of Winchester Mystery House

Nowhere on my ‘bucket list’ is the must-do of building anything. However, I am hip deep in a construction project. This activity provided the opportunity to learn new things. Many of which I didn’t know I needed to learn, nor do I know at present, how to make all of the learning’s useful. I am sure it is simply a matter of time before it becomes clear.

Do it right the first time

My father is an engineer and from the school of ‘do it right the first time’ philosophy. ‘It’s all in the planning’ he told me. When repairing or constructing something at home, he spent more time thinking and calculating and planning and documenting than actually doing.  I’ve come to realize that approach saves countless mistakes while steering a direct course to a goal.

Step vs. Leap

Apparently the universe was keen on me taking this tenent to heart.  Recently, I received a call from my contractor about a staircase in my construction project. He asked about my height and athleticism, a curious question I thought. He wanted to confirm my ability to leap upwards and successfully reach the landing sixteen inches above the last step. I asked him why I would need to do that, never mind my abilities.

It happens that the plans included miscalculations resulting in a gap of approximately eleven inches from the top of the last step and the landing. This meant there was not enough space to add the two steps needed to reach the landing. Additionally, the gap provided a straight shot to the floor below – fourteen feet down! He assured me that as long as I could leap and make the landing above, he would continue building per the plan.

 Five steps of planning

This ‘do it right the first time’philosophy is particularly important when introducing a new product to the market, especially important if the product is the first for a company.  I’ve learned there are five key principles that must be included in the planning of new product development if success is the intended goal.  The five principles I’ve learned to include in development planning are:

  1. Economics are as indispensable as ergonomics.
  2. The payer is as essential as the provider.
  3. The patient is as influential as the physician.
  4. Integration is as important as ingenuity.
  5. Outcome is as significant as opportunity.

Using these principles as the guiding framework in the development of a new medical device can facilitate making the leap into the market, without missing a step. 

Stay tuned for more detail on the principles, in posts to follow.

(C) 2012 pH Consulting. All rights reserved.


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.


12 Marketing Truths March 18, 2011

Filed under: Betsy,Debbie,Lisa — Debbie Donovan @ 8:48 pm
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The Three Wise Dames have had many experiences in health care marketing. These collective experiences have each lead us to formulate several truths that help explain the core of successes we’ve seen in our experience. Our posts expand on these truths with the intention of helping others achieve success in their roles.

4 Truths from Betsy

  • Education is a lifelong experience. Experience is a lifelong education.”  (Michael Bugeja –  journalist, author and educator)
  • Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.
  • Marketing begins with an understanding of who you’re trying to influence.
  • Marketing and communications initiatives shouldn’t happen in silos.

4 Truths from Debbie

  • Baby step integration of social media channels is the best way to start.
  • Efficient marketing programs are critical for success and compliance.
  • Successful selling to sales is mission critical and very rewarding.
  • Health care providers must own their reputations and practice marketing.

4 Truths from Lisa

  • Market analysis doesn’t stop or start with the doctor.
  • One size (marketing) does not fit all—especially in health care.
  • Building great teams require three rights: need, time and talent.
  • Setting expectations is like driving in a roundabout.

We know many of our esteemed colleagues also have formulated marketing truths so please feel free to post yours. Our collective wisdom can help us all continue to be successful.

(C) 2011 Merryman Communications, eGold Solutions, pH Consulting, all rights reserved.


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


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