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Earning a seat at the table

Well, I’m sure this post won’t win me many new friends among my fellow pharma vendors, but here goes anyway…

Lately I’ve noticed a new trend where vendor partners bring numerous people to a meeting and all of the partners take seats at the main meeting table.  This, in and of itself, doesn’t seem like a big deal.  However, at many of these meetings, there is not enough room for all of the attendees to sit at the table.  In these instances, I watch in stunned silence as clients take seats along the back walls or in corners, while their vendors stay in their seats at the main table.

These clients refuse to pull rank and make their vendor partners feel bad in a public forum, which makes them good and sensitive human beings.  So, for my clients who are too polite to say what should be said, let me do it for you. Read On

Four Ways Rare Disease Marketing is Different from Traditional Marketing

Individual in a crowdThe explosive growth in the number of filings and associated approval of drugs to treat rare diseases has outstripped the supply of qualified, experienced rare-disease marketers. Unless you are retiring in the next 5 years, there is a strong possibility that you’ll be working in a rare disease market. So, it’s critical to consider how rare disease marketing is different from traditional biotechnology marketing.

There are four key differences that immediately come to mind that any marketer or company getting involved in rare disease should keep in mind. Read On

Stop Seeking Solutions from the Originators of the Problem!

Albert EinsteinIf you’ve worked with Return on Focus in the past, you’ve likely seen our cheeky play on the Albert Einstein definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We believe wholeheartedly that this definition applies to marketing based on a phenomenon that we see over and over – Clients going back to the same vendors that provided previously poor outcomes and expecting improved results.

Let me provide an example.

A biopharma Client recently launched a new product to sub-optimal results. An internal post-mortem following the launch identified that an overly broad, undifferentiated brand positioning was the culprit. This finding resulted in the Client engaging in a repositioning assignment. Who did they hire?

Turns out they hired the same company that developed the original positioning. Say again.

Yes, the logic applied here was that the folks who developed the original launch positioning and supporting rationale would be in the ‘ideal’ position to re-engineer the brand positioning for success. In other words, they sought the ‘solution’ from those who created the problematic situation they now found themselves in.

At the re-positioning workshop, the lead for the supplier openly criticized the original brand positioning for being too aspirational and so broad that “it was everything to all people.” Underscoring the true insanity of this exercise, the re-positioning lead was the very same person who led the original brand positioning initiative.

This is just one example of the marketing insanity that ROF diagnoses and attempts to treat every day, but this illustration could have also been for launch strategy, DTC marketing, or physician targeting.

So, if you find yourself in a similar predicament, ask yourself a few questions before you decide how best to resolve it:

  • How will the same process be implemented the second time around to yield better results?
  • How can the same people, both internal and external, lead you to better results than were previously achieved?
  • What can be gained by bringing in fresh people and processes to look at my situation in a new way?
  • What are the potential risks to staying the course versus trying something new?

In our experience, the solution rarely lies with the originators of the problem. While it may be expedient to hire the same organization, employ the same process, and/or rely on the same group of individuals to tackle the issue at hand again, it’s highly unlikely that the outcome will change.

This is why Einstein’s quote still remains true to this day – doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results is a form of insanity. Choose sanity next time and give us a call.

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