Category: Innovation

Surgical Concierge

Check this out. Press the Eye On Health SurgiQuality button and watch a fascinating video with an interesting premise. More specifically, the point of the video is that when patients are told that they need surgery, they are “shocked”, “nervous”, “scared” and “they don’t know what questions to ask.” Sounds right. Follow through the video and scroll around the SurgiQuality site, and you will see a service designed to deal with all these issues.  A service that will gather all of the paperwork necessary to approach surgery intelligently, or even to pursue non-surgical options which might be recommended by other clinicians. Case materials will be distributed to multiple providers to determine, if a patient elects to proceed with surgery, the highest quality and most cost-effective provider to employ.

Bottom Line. This approach is a very different one from what usually happens in real life. When a patient is told she needs surgery, the usual response is to proceed with the surgeon who has made the diagnosis, and to assemble as much paperwork as necessary to get the procedure scheduled and paid for. 

Does the SurgiQuality approach appear to be more rational than this? Absolutely! But I have two questions. First, to what extent will patients actually seek out this service rather than simply relying on the surgeon who has made the diagnosis and who has at least the beginnings of a viable patient relationship? Second and perhaps even more importantly, to what extent will surgeons repeatedly review cases, offer opinions and make bids for surgeries that they know that they will most likely not wind up being compensated for in most cases? This “competition,” which is described by SurgiQuality as being healthy, might seem less so to a doctor who is asked repeatedly to spend precious time without the guarantee of remuneration.

This will be an interesting one to watch!

Market Research??? No Need!!!

Check this out. Based on the graphic above, you can probably guess what you are going to see and here in the latest of RFL’s great video reports. Yup, that’s Amazon’s Bezos, being quoted as saying that MR would not have contributed an iota to the Company’s wildly successful Echo product line.

You’ve heard this one before. Steve Jobs said the same thing about the Apple product line.  

Oh, and then there is the great Henry Ford line about MR. If you had asked people what their dream form of  transportation was decades ago, Ford snickered, they would have told you a faster horse!

We get it. The problem with marketing research is that it is not very good at predicting things that are discontinuous with the here and now. But. Amazon, Apple and Ford all invested a lot of money on such discontinuous offerings. How does risk get minimized? Or even managed?

Bottom Line. I am thinking that the three great marketing pundits listed above would all have the same two answers, as Bob Lederer notes in attribution to Bezos. First, make sure that you staff members  are genuinely creative visionaries, i.e., that they intuitively know what is going to work and what isn’t without asking consumers.  

Second, be prepared for some big losses. None of the three entrepreneurs were/are big on “test markets.” Each of them believe(d) that it is necessary to go “all in” if a product launch is going to be successful. That can get expensive if you are wrong. 

Is there a better way to conceptualize marketing research about futuristic products so that investing in them sounds less like a cross between faith and gambling? 

Three Secret Rules Of Innovation

  Check this out.  What you will see is a pithy MM&M article on three rules of innovation. They are all good, but I am especially in love with Rule #3. You see, I am not smart enough to be really innovative on my own. SO. I have built my career by taking ideas from other verticals, most of them far more methodologically advanced than the healthcare marketing zone where I have played for 40 years, and porting them over to my pharmaceutical clients. My German colleagues in my old GfK days taught me to describe this as “borrowing with pride.” Now that I think about it, following Rule #3 requires special skills. First, you need to be able to recognize an idea worth borrowing. Then, you need to figure out where it can fit into our vertical. Additionally, I have always found it helpful to borrow an idea with a unique, but nottrademarked, name attached. For example, years ago I borrowed the Rapp and Collins “micromarketing” mantra and brought it to my pharmaceutical clients. I also like to have a book that embodies the idea I am borrowing, like the book pictured above. I typically distribute them by the hundreds. Then I run a seminar to teach the new idea to the pharmaceutical industry. And then… Bottom Line. Like I said, borrowing with pride is a lot more efficient than starting with a blank piece of paper and innovating from scratch. BUT. You do need to know the right way to borrow with pride. I think I have figured that out!