Category: Marketing Innovation

Buffy the Asthma Slayer

In our previous post, we talked about the need for pharma to be increasingly creative in its “visual storytelling” if it expects to get its message across to jaded consumers in this Zoom fatigued, hyper video streaming world. So here is a great example.

What you see here is Teva going all out to communicate appropriate use of its “smart” asthma inhaler that allows the collection of “objective” data, in an effort to eliminate the overuse, underuse, and misuse of inhalers which is apparently very prevalent among asthma patients. Start with hiring Sarah Michelle Gellar, who last time around was seen slaying mythical creatures. (Remember Buffy the Vampire Slayer???)

Add in a talking pink inhaler, roll it all up into a compelling (quick, clear, accurate) storyline, and away you go. 

Bottom Line. Good stuff! Like I said in the last post, the production elegance is now as important as the message. Spend a minute watching the video, and you will see that this visual story clears that hurdle handily.

Storytelling in a Zoom Fatigued World

Check this out. What you will see is a piece on how pharma needs to work extra hard in 2021 to capture attention. Much of our population suffers from pandemic-induced Zoom fatigue. Virtually everyone is awash in streaming media from hundreds of sources. The result? The bar for attention-grabbing has been raised significantly. What to do? Get over using simple graphics and move on to emotion-grabbing “visual storytelling.” Sophisticated cinematography. Speed, clarity, accuracy. These are all boxes that must increasingly be checked if we are to grab our increasingly sophisticated customers’ attention. As this piece points out, the elegance with which a spot is shot is now as important as the strategy underlying the message. 

Bottom Line. BUT. This is not just art for art’s sake. Powerful renditions, it is argued here, draw people into the story, raise emotions, let the viewer experience what the people in the story they are watching are experiencing. 

Gone are the days of “Pop Pop Fizz Fizz, oh what a relief it is” being all you needed to sell Alka Seltzer. 

Long gone! 

Does Virtual Become Permanent?

Check this out. You will be taken to the Intellus Worldwide website. Scroll down, and you will find that it is not too late to view the two days of excellent virtual presentations that were offered up at the 2020 Summit. These virtual presentations “live on” until June 30.  

I’ve taken the opportunity to view many of these presentations, and found this virtual approach, while very different from the education and elbow rubbing combination that usually constitutes Intellus sessions, to be extremely worthwhile. While I certainly missed the opportunity to renew old acquaintances and establish new ones that typically make up these meetings, I found the opportunity to pick and choose among myriad presentations from the comfort of my own armchair to be an extremely positive experience. As always, Intellus had assembled a great group of speakers, who provided important new insights on a wide variety of topics. The ability to visit consulting companies’ virtual booths and learn about their competencies was also very informative.  

I heartily recommend that you go there and check it out!

Bottom Line. I must confess that I was a little skeptical when I heard that the Intellus Summit was “going virtual.” While certainly understanding that it needed to go that route during the pandemic, I just didn’t know if it would “work.” It did!

Here’s my thought. Since Dr. Fauci is honestly telling us that it will be a “year or so” before we get back to “normal,” I think we are going to be using the next twelve months to make increasing use of virtual conferences like this one. AND. I think that over that time period virtual conferences will become increasingly engrained in our business lives. Will they supplant personal conferences? Nah! I think like telemedicine is presently doing in healthcare, they will establish a significant and permanent role in our business lives. They will supplement.

Intellus got off to a great start with this Summit. I would encourage them to continue, maybe with “mini-summits” being run more frequently during 2020 and beyond.  

Well done!

How Do Marketers Bring Value To The HCP???

Go here and watch the video. The founder of Elevate Healthcare, pictured above, argues that if HCP’s are going to give us their time, we need to bring them genuine value. AND. She recommends that the best way to do so is to find areas of “intersection” between the needs of the HCP and the capabilities of the healthcare company. But how?

Bottom Line. ThinkGen’s work in Habit EngineeringSM can provide us with some important guidance here. More specifically, habits grow more embedded by having the customer make “Investments” in a brand. Investments are things that make it easier to use the product and harder for a new competitor to take the customer away.  

SO. We need to look for forms of assistance we can provide to the HCP that meets some of her needs for greater practice quality and efficiency while meeting our needs to have the doctor become more invested in using the product. Lorna Weir suggests getting the doctor to “lean” on your patient educational materials as a good way to do this. Makes sense. What else?

Put your thinking caps on!

No Kidding!!!

STAT Check out this piece. It describes how healthcare related charities fine-tune their solicitation lists by leasing the customer lists of high-end retailers. Bottom Line. I know. Not a lot of news value here. BUT. Study the article in greater detail, and you will learn how purchasers of high end women’s clothing, runners and wine drinkers wind up being especially juicy targets. Why? Wealth AND responsiveness must be taken into consideration in targeting efforts, and people on these lists tend to have/be both! What can we learn from this?

How Many Of These Will I Need?

Buttons I frankly can’t decide if this really neat, really scary or both! Check out the new Amazon Dash Button. (Spend literally a minute and watch the embedded video to really “get it!”) Fascinating technology, simple concept. Program the button for a specific item and quantity through an app. Mount the button someplace close to where you use a particular product. See you are running out? Press the button, and a “Happy Box” from Amazon will soon arrive at your doorstep with the goods. Bottom Line. I’m getting a funny visual here. My entire house festooned with buttons for dozens of products that we use. Besides appearing a little sci-fi, I’m wondering if this will actually save me time or make me crazy trying to remember what buttons I have pushed and when. A logical application of the IOT (Internet of Things)? We will see!

Micromarketing Revisited

PMI Some of you may recall that a few decades ago, I was in a joint venture with Medco. Remember? It was called Physician Micromarketing Inc. At PMI, I used the Medical Marketing Group’s individual physician level prescribing database to institute “Call Guidance” at a number of major pharmaceutical companies. I preached that Call Guidance had three levels. Level I was good old-fashioned targeting based on prescribing volume. Levels II and III added media mix optimization and threw in guidance as to the message to be employed. Only problem was, this was all prior to the advent of the digital age. Remember hard copy “Visual Aids?” Since iPads hadn’t been invented yet, one of my clients went slightly overboard with these customized “detail pieces.” For one detailing cycle, they had their Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives’ trunks filled with over 140 separate sales aids. The rep had to pick and choose among them based on a target physician’s call guidance profile for each of the products that was going to be detailed on a particular call. Needless to say, this system was not very popular with that company’s reps! Scroll forward. Literally. Read this article and you can see that Call Guidance has now been reborn, and digitally empowered, under the Customer Relationship Manner banner. Predictive analytics are employed to help less experienced PSR’s learn from their more experienced colleagues. Interesting stuff. I think the philosophy of sales-approach customization was right when I preached it, and is still right today. HOWEVER. One big challenge remains. ZS Associates, one of the partners in this venture, publishes an annual report on Physician Access. Guess what? The percentage of doctors willing (or able, if they are employees being told what to do) to see PSR’s continues to drop. AND. HCP’s are increasingly likely to want to dictate the length and the nature of any “sales” interaction that they do permit. Bottom Line. Predictive analytics work well in the hands of such marketing giants as Amazon. They are really good at making recommendations, based on my past purchases, that cause still more “happy boxes” to show up on my doorstep. But how well will this approach work in the healthcare marketing sphere? Will this work better than “Closed Loop” marketing, a previous fad where a physician’s own response patterns to previous presentations helped to customize the next digital presentation the doctor got to see? Time will tell!


Radiologist Understanding. Really understanding. Viscerally understanding. How do we do it? We have talked before about “Patient Journey” research, aimed at coming to grips with what it feels like to walk a mile in the moccasins of a patient with a specific condition. Recently, I sent you to a URL to explore what poetry can do to help us to understand patient feelings. How about cartoons? Go view this blogging Radiologist’s work, and get an understanding of what cartoons can tell us about the psyche of a medical specialty. Bottom Line. Consider cartoons, poems, infographics, etc. There are numerous windows that we can open to obtain better understanding. Knowing which one to use when, and how, will become increasingly valuable expertise.

Digital KOL’s

Digital KOL's Here is a piece that cogently lists the 5 reasons why we need digital KOL physicians to help us to navigate the complex new pathways of digital health and wellness. In fact, the blogger makes a good case for physicians being the only ones who can help us to separate out the app’s that will really make a difference in health care from those that are just “gee whiz.” Bottom Line. I smell a significant business opportunity for the first research consultancy that sets up a panel of such digital KOL’s. Any takers?

It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

NACDS I know you are tired of my using this stupid headline time and time again. BUT. Unfortunately, in health care we often see the same “realization,” “finding,” “innovation,” etc., time and time again. Take, for example, this breathless report of a “new” finding. Seems that about one third of new prescriptions never even get picked up at the pharmacy. Hard to have patient adherence/compliance with dosage regimens when the first script never even makes it to the patient’s home. Bottom Line. Here is my problem with this. Over the entire 40 years or so that I have been thinking about these kinds of things, the concept of “orphan prescriptions” has been a well-known problem. Interestingly, the percentage of such scripts has always hovered at “about one third.” So what’s new? Rather than continuing to bemoan the same statistic, how about a dose of disruptive innovation that might significantly reduce this extremely troublesome number?