The Value of Defining Your Omnichannel ‘Mess’

I like to ask, “What’s your system and how does it work?” In my time studying system thinking with Jamshid Gharajedagi, I transformed my thinking about organizational change for the future. If you haven’t read his book, “Systems Thinking, Managing Chaos and Complexity. A Platform for Designing Business Architecture”, I strongly recommend you check it out: Systems Thinking.   I believe and still adopt today that the 1st step of taking on any project is to define the mess.  Specifically, we need a preconceived understanding of the whole before we attempt to fix all of the parts of our mess.

This process cannot simply be a partial definition as is often thought for omnichannel solutions today, such as software, platform or strategy.  If you only understand 1 or 2 parts of your mess, you will ultimately fail in your attempts to build an Omnichannel system that works for your organization.  In attempts at a quick sales and marketing solution, practitioners often gravitate towards a software solution in the endless complexity of driving towards some demonstration of progress. We are all searching for the most effective way to create a connection with key customers, the intention is always there.  However, the 1st step of this search needs to be understanding and defining the mess to find the optimal solution to implement success.  We all know and have heard about how to achieve success in customer engagement through content management, implemented through system platform and software solutions.  However, none of this can be achieved without understanding your ‘mess’ – a stepwise process that begins with defining the mess will create a pattern of thinking for yielding the ultimate Omnichannel solution we are all trying to achieve.  Think back in your career.  We have all engaged in projects lead by well-meaning consultants where we participate in a discovery process which is quickly turned into the project plan.  A project plan without willing participants and shared values is like a smartphone without an OS.  It makes a good drink coaster…

I knew people who worked at the company known as Bear Stearns, there were some very smart people working at that firm which was in business since 1923.  In November of 2006 Kyle Bass met with Bear Stearn’s entire risk management committee and walked them through a 90 minute presentation related to the risks of their completely over-leveraged holdings.  Check out this interview: I did not want to see Bear Stearns go down

The leadership of very smart professionals listened and really hoped he was wrong.  We all know what happened to Bear Stearns in a matter of days beginning in March of 2008.  There are many other examples in business history where leadership refused to understand the need for change or ignore risks in the face of adversity. It was always understood at BP that you could get fired if you raised safety concerns that might delay drilling: Rig warning signs

The point I’m trying to make is if you don’t think there is a mess, you won’t evaluate how to find a solution and failure is inevitable.  Some good places to start in your new journey:  What are the drivers of your current system?  How are key interactions behaving and where?  Finally, make certain you are not afraid to ask the tough question – Is the architecture of your company department and/or your system, operating optimally for your team to achieve sales and marketing goals?  Ask yourself and your team – How well have we defined our ‘mess’?

7 new movie trailers you need to watch from this past week — BGR

That’s right, movie fans, one more week has gone by, and that means we’ve got a few trailers to watch including a new Bruce Willis movie, a fun Netflix exclusive, and a few new horror titles. In addition to the seven new trailers below, we also have a brand new Batman vs. Superman trailer that teases the…

via 7 new movie trailers you need to watch from this past week — BGR

Re-Think Your MCM Journey

So, where are we now?

I recently have spoken with a few industry leaders at pharmaceutical industry conferences and inevitably they ask “Neil, how can I re-organize the way we do business to maximize my Multichannel and content marketing strategy?” This conversation inevitably leads to a series of specifics about the challenges faced in our industry once implementation is at hand. I’m sure if you’re reading this that you have had many conversations both online and offline about Omni-Channel Marketing and how this new dynamic system is fitting in within marketing throughout the pharmaceutical industry. Companies have now shifted their focus from implementation of applications and software to the strategy of managing and automating marketing, creating a more profitable and effective marketing and communication capability in our quickly evolving pharmaceutical market environment. The Omni-channel approach of evaluating channels, content and messaging within a fast-acting system has become the reality of achieving success. Obviously, the focus on changing and implementing software to improve your marketing system is over. Let’s take a look at this new landscape…

The Shift in Landscape

In my experience, shifts within a business marketing paradigm can be achieved effectively three system change categories:
1.A change in the dynamics of your system
2.A change in the nature of platform and/or
3.A change in the method of execution

Omni-Channel marketing requires a change in all of these categories. The new industry discussion has been how to best become a leader in the paradigm shift from Multi-Channel marketing to Omni-channel Marketing. Pharma and biotech executives are now searching for the optimal way to leverage the success of their legacy multi-channel marketing strategy which has largely been driven by the digital channel only into what I refer to as the Omni-channel ‘system of success’. This includes the physician or HCP with the appropriate and targeted message, utilizing the correct message and the optimal time of impact.

However, thinking of this next generation method of marketing as an extension of the Multi-channel Marketing (MCM) approach will slowly breed failure. How is this you might ask? Because Omni-channel marketing is a system and each marketing system has fundamental principles, with supporting information that inherently will be inefficient without the application of the Omni-channel disciplines. Create and nurture the understanding to support the development of strategies to address a business transition to this new way of effectiveness for implementing the pharma-specific strategies of success (This includes proper advanced measurement which I will review in a future blog). The Omnichannel approach is not just any strategy, but strategies which have a very high probability of working when applied.

In conclusion, if there is not understanding of the true nature of how Omni-channel-marketing and how this new way of operating will help your specific business challenges, you will have a new system that doesn’t address the issues at hand. Essentially, these changes will result in greater costs and less efficiencies. This is can be avoided by defining and organizing how your fundamental marketing works before implementation or what systems thinkers refer to as the process of defining your ‘Mess’.

Next Post: Defining the Drivers of your “Mess” to Create the Omni-Channel Solution

MCM Disruption Fueled by the Burst of New FDA Approvals

We all know that the new Multi-Channel Marketing (MCM) can bring a stronger and more efficient focus for your integrated marketing efforts – regardless of your industry vertical.   In the past 5 years, I have launched several new products in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry and there has been a shift or ‘disruption’ with more focus on how to reach the HCP in every form more efficiently. Also digital has manifested itself more into the drug industry and I believe these factors have unveiled some of the MCM secrets to a successful drug launch

marketing-the-art-the-science

A burst of new drug approvals at the FDA just before Christmas in 2014 which pushed the total to 41 for the year, the fastest pace in the past 18 years and a fresh sign that at least a few of the lead players have learned how to efficiently target new therapies for development and utilize MCM for a more targeted launch effort. Basically doing more with less and hyper-targeting in MCM…Well I hope so! Some recent data to shows this:

Added together, 2014 marked the second highest year on record for the approval of new chemical entities, with 1996 topping last year with 53 recorded FDA approvals.

According to research by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), biopharma companies that have adopted a disciplined approach to customer excellence have seen productivity gains of 10 to 25 percent. The gains can be taken as cost savings or reinvested for growth: some companies have saved hundreds of millions of dollars in costs, while others have achieved revenue growth of more than 7 percent annually.

Effective MCM can boost top-line growth by more than 10 percent, reduce costs by 10 to 25 percent—or both. Only those drug companies who realize the benefits of utilizing a MCM strategy in launch while managing to invest and allocate budgets properly will succeed. This goes for the small start-ups and large pharma companies. In a way, this new upturn in innovation and reality of the hard work required to revamp the current model has put the spotlight on real returns. It also embraces the notion that customer excellence provides a competitive edge, and thus is worth investing in, and recognizes that pursuing customer excellence is a continuous effort that delivers high impact both in the short term and in the long run.

Too often in our industry MCM is poorly implemented or put aside as ‘too complex’ to work in the field. One key is to keep things simple: employ practical approaches that are based on deep customer discovery and capitalize on this new upturn in innovation to ‘build-through’ a commercial MCM capability for long-term growth!

 

 

How the rise of mobile apps is making everything easier

With access and less complication comes the rise of the app.

BGR

There was a time when Googling for “how to erase background in Photoshop” meant something. Budding graphical wizards understood that software existed to accomplish fantastical things such as removing a background and coloring it with something else, but the process was complicated. It required supremely expensive software, plenty of time for research, and the patience of Job. But it was easier than doing it by hand, so we were grateful.

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On the Edge of Failed Leadership: Start-up Mentality and Desire

Minolta DSC

I recently watched a profile on 60 Minutes that profiled the author Alison Levine which motivated me to blog on some important insights into leadership. In case you don’t know her, Alison is the author of the New York Times best-selling book, “On The Edge”. The Edge reflects on the lessons learned from her various expeditions, making the case that the leadership principles apply in extreme adventure sport also apply in today’s extreme business environments.
Her accomplishments are impressive. She has skied to both the North and South Poles—a feat known as the Adventure Grand Slam, which fewer than forty people in the world have achieved. In January 2008, she made history as the first American to complete a 600-mile traverse from west Antarctica to the South Pole following the route of legendary explorer Reinhold Messner. Levine completed this arduous journey on skis while hauling 150 pounds of her gear and supplies in a sled harnessed to her waist. Her success in extreme environments is noteworthy given she has had three heart surgeries and suffers from Raynaud’s disease, which causes the arteries that feed her fingers and toes to collapse in cold weather—leaving her at extreme risk for frostbite.
Now let me take you from leadership to desire. Chen Lizra defines Desire – knowing what you want and then going after it. It seems like an obvious definition but sometimes we all need to be reminded of the simple concepts and seeing these in plain English helps the brain to process these concepts. It’s my contention that Leadership and Desire are the two most important elements that make up a successful start-up. Those in leadership have to have desire plugged into company success metrics not their own selfish desires. I’ve been part of several start-ups over the past years and like Alison I learned that once you make a decision you can’t second guess yourself. This is the feeling she described when she reach safety after turning around before reaching the peak on one of her journeys. She did not consider this a failure but a learning experience.
The success or failure of your company will ultimately be based on your decision making and how the leadership team cultivates everyone to participate and everyone needs to feel part of the team, motivating by inclusion. The most glaring sign of impending failure is when what I call a ‘cult of personality’ is created. This develops when one person in leadership acts without governance and dictates decision making for the company unilaterally. Ultimately, these decisions will be based on his or her benefit not the company’s. One of Alison Levine’s rules of Leadership is simply, “Everybody needs to have skin in the game”, what I call the ‘skin factor’. This means that everyone needs to have shared risk in the company, which builds confidence and leadership. If you don’t feel that your leader/CEO shares similar risks as you, your company will most likely fail – think disparate pay. How can you follow someone up the mountain if they’re not shoulder to shoulder with you in some way?
I have many friends and former colleagues in the VC business and they all have said the #1 reason for company failure is executives who are usually legally paying themselves way too much for an unprofitable company burning cash. These are individuals who will not feel any pain if the company fails but gain as the company is failing, defying the primary rule of the skin factor in Leadership. They take what they can and if they company fails…so what. This doesn’t mean that everyone has the same compensation but relative ‘skin’ is required. So-called ‘Leaders’ focus of desire is financial not company success. We have seen throughout collective failed companies, once investors find out there are quarterly bonus checks being written to the CEO. I had a CEO tell me once when discussing funding options, “Companies don’t go public until profitable.” I didn’t know if I should laugh, refer him to the WSJ or begin a lecture. Then it dawned on me that there would be no public offering – that would require disclosure.
In summary, bad companies are led by the desires of poor leadership for financial gain. So, be mindful of the following seemingly obvious signs of failed leadership:
• Lack of financial transparency and overall corporate governance
• No budgets allocated to any key functions or departments, which allows for 1 person to control all functions (warning: Can be masked as, “I want to be involved with everything”)
• Important company decisions are made by President/CEO without conferring with anyone (see above: ‘unilateral decisions’) BTW – telling everyone how great a move is after the decision is made doesn’t count.
• CEO/President compensation beyond reason (see above: ‘quarterly bonuses’)

Required Reading for Entrepreneurs: You Call the Shots by Cameron Johnson

Required Reading for Entrepreneurs: You Call the Shots by Cameron Johnson.

WhatsApp Founders: From rejection to $Billion payday

Their no-nonsense commitment to keeping WhatsApp free of advertising and respecting users’ privacy is what drew millions of users to the app when it launched in 2009. Two recent interviews—one with Wired UK and another with Forbes—dig deep into the founders’ backgrounds, revealing an incredible rise-and-fall tale of winning, losing, and winning again. If you didn’t believe in the worth of “try and try again” before, read on to uncover the amazing story of this remarkable tech duo. It’s a tale for anyone who has ever experienced failure.

Check out http://www.readwrite.com blog for the full story.

What’s Not on the Page: On Acting and the Latest Coen Brothers Film

Must see in Oscar season.

IN A LONELY PLACE

There’s a scene in the Coen Brothers’ new film, Inside Llewyn Davis, which demands a closer look.

It takes place past the halfway mark. Llewyn Davis (the excellent Oscar Isaac) is in Chicago, at the famed Gate of Horn nightclub, where he has taken himself to audition for folk impresario Bud Grossman (F. Murray Abraham) modeled on the real life Albert Grossman, who opened the club in 1956.

Llewyn arrives wanting to know if Grossman has had a chance to listen to his debut solo album, Inside Llewyn Davis, and he says no, but he’ll hear him sing something now from the album. Llewyn sings ‘The Death of Queen Jane,’ a deeply melancholy traditional English ballad about the death of Queen Jane (Seymour) after giving birth. The song provides an affecting look inside Llewyn Davis and how he is feeling at this point in the narrative. What Grossman doesn’t…

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Journey Into Your Day

It was a journey.  That is what you will say at the end of your career, your life, your day.  Will that journey be something you will take you forever to relate and something that you can use to inspire others, perhaps your children, in ways that create a new direction and journey for them?  That journey is a day by day experience that transpires without any thought on our part.  Meetings and deadlines with goals attached to them are a part of your career and finding success

It’s amazing how each day we reorganize our priorities.  Which coffee shop to stop at? What to write in your Facebook or Twitter updates? When you woke up this morning what was the first thing you did? Check your smart phone, e-mail, FB, Twitter?

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