A clear map of where you are and where you are going is certainly a critical step to leading your team into a successful Digital Transformation. I spoke about this during my talk at the 2019 Digital Pharma East conference in the video below.
Remember to subscribe for future content updates and reach out if you would like to talk and share some of the challenges on your journey: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I recently spoke on digital transformation in pharma at the Digital Health Coalition (DHC) Summit hosted by AstraZeneca. Here is a link to the featured content of the Summit: DHC October 2019
Virtually everyone that spoke to me after my talk pressed me to provide more details surrounding the MOLE concept that I presented and asked for more information on the 2020 workshop. I’m proud to announce the workshop is complete, I’ve setup some events and I’ve summarized some key elements of the MOLE workshop for you in this series of 2 blogs. Enjoy…and please reach out with any questions or comments below.
We all need to recognize that the amount of marketing budgets misappropriated due to lack of strategic framework around achieving digital transformation is mind boggling. I believe this is what has driven the interest in the MOLE system. The figures aren’t quite in yet for 2019 but the IDC forecast for global spending on technology and services that enable digital transformation reached $1.18 trillion in 2019, an increase of 17.9% over 2018. Here’s a link to more of the details: IDC Forecast
Given these figures, it’s an absolute imperative to have a solid plan with performance indicators for creating a culture to drive your company and brand strategy into digital transformation success! What we call efficient marketing is not effective marketing. Therefore, if you hear, “But didn’t we get those e-mails out last month?” Or, “We reached our click-through rate and number of page views” you have not set a high bar for your digital marketing effectiveness. After presenting and running a few workshops on this topic in 2019, I concluded that we have been approaching our journey to digital marketing success with blind faith in old approaches and concepts, so I took what I learned and created a different approach. I’ve called this approach M.O.L.E. (MOLE). We need to all agree that innovation is understanding that the value of a system is how you look at your problem, standard approaches are an extraordinary mistake we have made during our journey into digital transformation. Specifically, innovation is clearly not found in conventional logic or those companies with the deepest pockets or best analytics would have solved digital transformation a long time ago (see IDC forecast above). The kind of culture created through utilizing a MOLE approach is inherently different than the logic you are accustomed to, now we analyze results based on software, click-throughs and eyeballs not properly judging good talent and the kind of chemistry which can be created through a MOLE approach. So, a good CRM system and/or data plan correlates with successful digital transformation? Absolutely not.
I’ve discussed with many leaders in the pharmaceutical industry the system and concept of transforming your digital marketing approach in “Building a Center of Excellence for Customer Engagement.” I’ve included a few slides on MOLE in my talks in 2019 and several who have seen it have asked me about creating more content describing the MOLE framework and a tool for evaluating a company’s ability to create digital transformation for achieving measurable progress in digital transformation. Real goals that can serve as a driving force for your customer engagement rather than a new variable on a spreadsheet or strict budget management. So, how exactly does this approach work? I’m not able to show you the whole workshop in a blog but I will attempt to provide a top line review. MOLE is a series of strategic and systemically connected steps in a VERY specific order that you can undertake for your team and organization, allowing thoughtful planning, goal setting – providing the innovation you need for real digital transformation.
MOLE stands for:
“MOLE is a tool
with a defined system that provides a guideline for defining where you are in YOUR
digital transformation with careful planning towards the next level of strategic
success in your marketing and CRM. “
What do you mean? (just kidding) The real question is – Do you have the Means to see your digital transformation problem as it really is? What are your real goals? The primary goal of your Means is to ask these types of questions. We don’t always enter discovery aimed at asking the critical questions for success…These categories of questions rank 1st when we determine our Means in the MOLE process. A misunderstand of your Means will result in a derailment of your transformation. So what do we do? Key members of your team will review what is driving both failure and transformation, determining the level in the Means scoring process as part of this step in the MOLE transformation workshop. The Means score will become your business advantage to drive success on many levels. Marketers currently use objective measures of digital marketing performance of behavioral science such inputs such as click-throughs, views, open rates, brand awareness, etc. A Means score utilized properly combined with the system of MOLE will change this dynamic. How many times have you been asked to defend your media or digital plan and provided KPIs? My argument is the evaluation of your Means will create a new multi-level dynamic for understanding your specific customer engagement and digital transformation and how it relates to your overall strategic brand objectives – this will be your 3rd eye not a new project, marketing economics or traditional theory. I’ll provide in-depth data on this in Part 2 of this blog.
What is the opportunity we desire to create through digital
transformation? The goal of the Opportunity step is to determine what
result you need to manifest for your brand and company. In the Opportunity step of the MOLE workshop,
the goal is to agree on 3 definitive opportunities you can create through
digital transformation These opportunities need to be strategic in nature. MOLE
creates the following 3 categories in its framework:
Customer Experience: Design Strategy
Operations: Digitizing core
processes: Software & Data
Business Model: Center of
The realm of Opportunity can be misinterpreted, creating a
misguided track if not followed in a step wise approach. For example, approaching your operations as a
system rather than an asset (an opportunity) within your business model will
lead to focusing on constraints rather than potential growth. Once the 3 Opportunity elements are determined
and the appropriate connected elements are reviewed such as value proposition,
defined engagement and digital goals – these opportunity factors become a
driving force for creating intelligence and clear communication for reaching your
digital transformation goals. The MOLE system
is represented below:
& The How HAVE to come 1st
So much has been said about how digital transformation has taken over marketing in our industry, due to the fact that very few pharma/biotechs have figured out how to define the transformation let alone lay out a plan. What 2/3 of companies undertake is the Who (assign tasks) and the What (CRM Software or tech stack) before the Means and Opportunity – this old design sequence is doomed for failure. MOLE will show you that we have been operating backwards. You must undertake your means and opportunity (Why/How) to innovate BEFORE the Who and the What to find success. It is clear that a MOLE approach will guide you in thinking in terms of designing rather than structuring to achieve velocity and intelligence in mapping out your digital transformation of the future! I will review Leadership and Execution in Part 2. I welcome comments and discussion – please re-post if you like the content. Speak soon!!
The pharmaceutical industry’s implementation of digital marketing and use of a true multiple channel strategy has been under pressure for the past 10 years as virtually every other industry and sector has surpassed them in both customer-centricity and progress in digital marketing. Many pharma companies both big and small have been testing the integration of a customer engagement digital commercial model during this time. Some may ask, Neil, “What exactly is digital transformation?” Brian Solis, a digital analyst and best-selling author, has done significant amount of work in the digital space defines digital transformation as follows:
“The realignment of, or new investment in,
technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at
every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle”
Notice that Brian defines the ‘transformation’ as both technological and customer experience dependent. Our business goal should be to have an internal capability for executing a digital strategy while utilizing internal resources, maximizing a real customer engagement – creating digital transformation for your brand and hopefully your company. However, most in the industry would say that full digital and multi-channel system integration has not been achieved in the industry. I spoke about some of these areas of success at Future Pharma last year, specifically how companies need to evaluate these challenges, take a look at my content @ https://www.slideshare.net/NeilKeene
The concept of digital transformation has become a major focus for how we improve marketing capabilities in multiple areas and the time for customer centricity and digital transformation is now. In fact, 40% of all technology spending will go toward digital transformations with enterprises spending in excess of $2 trillion by 2019, according to IDC. The challenge is to create an improved digital marketing plan with this important investment.
Leadership in Digital
Another sobering fact is that some of the largest pharma companies have not prioritized digital as part of their leadership goals. Only seven of the nearly 30 pharma and biotech companies valued at more than $10 billion rank a chief digital or information officer alongside their heads of science and research on their executive committees.1 Companies need to make the organization nimbler, which is quite a task for an organization valued greater than $10B. To start, the strategic goals should be to create a more customer-centric organization, which requires skills and structure that cannot be supported by the traditional CMO role. The best fit for these roles are those who are able to work at the C-level across functional silos AND who are capable of understanding the potential customer marketing disruptions enabled by these technologies.
There are several fundamentals requirements that have forced us to delay a holistic digital transformation. It’s no longer something that only the large companies do, everyone has to be deploying a digital strategy of some kind. Some major questions come to mind – What defines success? Who is doing this effectively? Is it the Billion $ global companies? Clearly not, if success were to be achieved through allocating the largest budget to digital for pharma/biotech firms, then the companies with the deepest pockets would all be beating everyone else but that has clearly not been the case.
to start somewhere. The following 2 change/success
drivers need to be part of what every company is working towards in digital
Capabilities & Operations: A significant strengthening of a company’s commercial capabilities in digital marketing while integrating and functioning in the customer engagement strategy functions will need to evolve rapidly.
Systems & Things: A new system of how a company designs, implements and executes a digital strategy while moving away from the reliance on outside agencies and building its own multi-departmental digital Center of Excellence (CoE). The creation of a system of executional and strategic excellence will have to formed as part of a be a multi-disciplinary, company-wide initiative.
is the Time for Action
In a recent small roundtable discussion hosted by the
marketing agency OgilvyOne Business, the following conclusion was reached, “Everyone is talking about digital
transformation, but there is a lack of doing.”
Basically, we are talking about and investing in digital and customer
engagement but not getting results.
In the past 5 years, pharma and biotech have been doubling down on their digital transformation, however, we have not seen results that would be expected given the level of investment. This has largely been due to the implementation being executed under the old models of siloed capabilities in pharma driving each company’s sales and marketing capabilities. The e-mail group is separate from the digital group, the enterprise group from the analytics and so on and so on. There is the continuous need to improve and pharma needs to invest in the change needed to build the customer engagement for the expressed goal of a go-to market digital plan.
Overcoming internal silos that I mentioned earlier and the development of new capabilities to encourage the innovation within your organizations has to come from senior management and demonstrated with sound budget investment followed by an aggressive but realistic long-term digital plan. The bottom line is that customer-centric, digitally enabled commercial strategies are the future prerequisites for growth, competitive advantage and market leadership, enabling pharmaceutical companies to finally be successful in implementing a successful digital Center of Excellence.
Now that we are well into Q1 of 2018 with Sales Marketing plans into the implementation phase, each of us our scrutinizing our brands and evaluating how to improve efficiency. It’s time to be able to quantify your strategies and tactics while adjusting to the unique market changes and fluctuations we are all faced with today. As we all know, technology has taken pharmaceutical marketing and revolutionized it in the last 5 years. Channels proliferated, and then converged; information turned into a monster in the cloud and MCM expertise and experience has become a premium for all sectors of the marketing economy.
I would also like to address is a persistent misconception associated with our creation and execution of your MCM strategy. Many say that you can plan to be in multiple important channels to reach your customer without creating or updating your MCM marketing platform. Any company can purchase a platform. What I am referring to is a platform that is structured to work within your marketing plan, targeting, tactical execution and finally results analysis. I don’t want to mention the hundreds of platforms out there available and we all have used some of them but when we implement them; if we don’t also develop the executional excellence driving the use of the platform, your productivity is drained! A marketing team can be using the most expensive software for execution in your Center of Excellence (CoE) but not have a plan to use the platform properly and the result will be exhaustion, lack of results and failure.
I have led many projects in pharma companies large and small to create a MCM CoEs and have found one of the top 3 strategic elements of this process is the creation of a platform for executional excellence. I spoke about this important topic at the PharmaForce conference last Sept. take a look at the slides and my speaker notes when you get a chance, here check out the link: Building a CoE. It should be noted that speed of change in strategy is critical. For those of us operating in the pharmaceutical marketing space, our experience has been that we don’t have the luxury of quick adjustments in this highly-regulated world. However, the introduction of Integrated MCM Omni-Channel marketing systems and digital marketing into our space has allowed pharma marketers to increase efficiency and create a more nimble platform for quick change, adjusting and adding to marketing tactics more quickly than we have in the past (so we would hope). However, marketers are still not reaching the channels and new customers they need.
Over Half of Marketers Can’t Reach New Channels!
In order to optimize, you need the framework to operate efficiently with an integrated platform and the urgency to test/control and execute your digital strategy across all relevant channels.
I have to share the results from recent multi-channel digital marketing report I reviewed which revealed the following statistic: “51% of marketers can’t react to new channels, devices, trends or competitors using their current tech.“ That’s over half of marketers who can’t react at all to market forces due to the inefficiency of ‘tech’! I would argue this is a direct result of a platform being used or not being used effectively. We can say we understand the dynamics of MCM and how the strategies are implemented but if you don’t have the ‘current tech’ how will you have the platform to execute and MCM strategy for your brand??….at least not one that has a desired ROI – because you probably will end up using your service or ad agency to run all of your marketing, resulting in skyrocketing costs and work that doesn’t contribute to your bottom line. If your organization has a high-level of trust in its data, then you are the exception to the rule.
Another breathtaking channel statistic – believe it or not: ”Only 14% of organizations say they are currently running coordinated marketing campaigns across all channels.” (CMO by Adobe, Three Issues Hindering Progress In Multichannel Marketing) This is an incredibly low figure! In fact, many companies that I have consulted directly in the past 5 years did not even have lead capture on their company/brand website or fully automated and/or 2-way connection to their overall salesforce detailing. Of course, I can’t discuss MCM without mentioning the importance of content. We have all read about the fact that content is king, which is true to some degree, however, good content delivered to one channel and a limited segmentation will not yield even close to acceptable results. It’s known that, “Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads” – DemandMetric. This quote should also say, “When the system is run correctly!” In addition, your opportunity to generate leads will be lost if you are unable to track and analyze this content quickly and efficiently using your CoE platform. You need to define your ‘mess’ as I reviewed in an earlier post: Defining Your MCM ‘Mess’
Apps are NOT Platforms
Another common misconception is that applications are platforms for executing a MCM plan – they certainly are not. Your company and brand need to reside on a platform integrated into your marketing that connects ALL channels AND apps to maximize learning and ROI. For example, there are more than 300+ applications dedicated to managing, engaging and measuring for Twitter. It should be clear that you need to have 1 platform for your MCM that manages Twitter and all other apps residing within your CoE platform that connects ALL of your channels of communication to customer segments. Easier said than done!
A phased approach is necessary to execute your plan, including clear objectives and costs. Clearly, developing this platform for your CoE and multi-channel marketing efforts will create a system of executing your marketing with greater efficiency.
Please respond below with your thoughts on this entry and share your experiences with building a MCM platform for success! What has been your experience in developing executional excellence in MCM?
It will take some disciple to determine your content problem, the ‘beast’, which will lead to your plan of attack, utilizing a new content management framework for success. It probably has been an easy task to figure out where you want to go in your marketing strategy, including content marketing. However, to really map to your planned ‘end in mind’ there has to be a step of discovery that includes a deep analysis of your failure. There is a bit of psychology involved here that works with all things – you don’t know where you’re going until you have figured out where you’ve been as a leader of your marketing or the company as a whole. A simple way to do this quickly and effectively is to ask yourself the 2 questions below and then take a look at the 3 quick fix categories. Then, review, discuss and analyze the failures without pointing at external factors as the only reason for failure.
Question #1: Did you have a strategy? If you did, what were the metrics of success and did you achieve them. No marketer should be afraid of failure and you won’t achieve success unless you are fearless and not afraid to fail. So, dig into your strategy and figure out where the gaps were and now that you have taken this step to analyze your failure – map it back to your strategy or lack thereof and document how you would do it differently.
Question #2: Was your content crap? This may sound harsh but the question needs to be asked of you and your team when in the step of analyzing your failure. Your audience is not engaging because it seems like the same thing that is out there and it’s getting lost in all the buzz words and the strength of your competition will drown your message. It doesn’t mean that what you were publishing isn’t important but it hasn’t stood out in the massive amount of noise in the marketplace that is social media and content marketing. Ardath Albee has written a great book on content marketing called, “Digital Relevance, Developing Content Marketing and Strategies that Drive Results.”
Author Albee explains, “Publishing content without a strategy isn’t moving the needle. Time, effort, and money are flushed away without a quantifiable impact on business performance.” This is a serious problem for marketers. Their companies expect results. Their jobs are on the line. If not now, then soon.A I agree and this should always be the 1st part of your publishing strategy. You can explore common and important topics and subject matters; however, it has to be engaging and stand out. If you feel you need to improve, don’t worry there are a few quick ways to fix this:
Be customer-focused in all topics! Don’t publish items that just interest you or your staff but items that engage your readers, prospects and customers.
Provide insights that create value -Enough said!
Don’t focus on how your customer can do business with you or buy your product. This should be the last thing on your mind when you are blogging or creating content for your readers. Your prospects do not want a sales pitch!
I will go into a great deal of detail and provide exercises in future chapters that you can use for yourself or for your team in later chapters to create these fixes and make sure it becomes part of the new paradigm for you content the business of content marketing on your website, blog or integration into your marketing strategies and tactics for the future.
Chapter 2: Create the new Customer-Value Paradigm: Providing innovation and quality content for and not ‘to’ your customers.
What do you think? – I would love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to comment or reach out to me. Part 2 is coming Soon: “Innovating Your Content Marketing System” @neilkeene.
Good to Great was published back in 2001; however, I believe the quote above still serves as an overall guide for marketing organizations’ need to create innovation in driving a new discipline for developing and improving your marketing system. The Content Marketing Institute defines Content marketing as: “The marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” This definitely serves as a solid foundation for a customer-focused content marketing plan.
In fact, I believe it can be very simple to transform your thinking about creating and executing effective content marketing. It’s now 2017 – Happy New Year! The next generation of marketing is upon us this year, which means something other than your existing marketing framework needs to drive your content marketing/management systems. This should be a new ‘framework’ of customer engagement rather than a patchwork content approaches. Specifically, you should avoid the approach of creating a strategic plan vetting it out resulting in a tactical plan that defines your marketing plan for the next year…which are tactics. I’m suggesting that your strategic and tactical plans need to give way for a customer plan that includes a specific method for engaging your customer through quality content, engagement and overall value. In order for all of us to be successful, it’s still required that this new system of engagement includes multiple channels and platforms both new and old, using multi-channel marketing constructs and plans (we all know this). However, the change to enable is innovation driving how we approach this strategic area of marketing in 2017 and beyond, creating a meaningful and powerful strategic marketing plan.
As Good to Great explains, the difference between failure and success is often a very small and small strategic changes in the content marketing framework will lead to success. Good is the enemy of great and the focus on tactics are the enemy of great content for customer engagement. The core of the current problem in creating and implementing your content marketing is the system of beliefs that content marketing is a task, tactic or strategy. This leads to the analgesic excuse of “At least we’re doing something” – on the contrary this should be new innovation transforming how you engage with your key customers! Content marketing is implemented successfully as an innovation in your system of marketing not in simply creating content as you would a tactic or a marketing plan.
What is meant by innovation is that your marketing approach needs to emphasize the importance of systemic connectivity to your customers and new organizational capabilities. We all know that the successful content marketing system is a success when you are not only able to engage and interact with your target audience but drive profitable customer action. Nonetheless, despite the fact that there has been progress in the direction of content marketing, especially in the pharmaceutical/biotech industry, the predominant logic of just creating content without a content management framework still remains one of the primary reasons leading to failure. Unfortunately, the primary focus of attention continues to be just the creation of content and ‘Marketing’ rather than customer-value approaches.
This year, as CMI’s recent B2B report for the year showed, content marketing was heavily on the uptrend in 2016 and our new approach for success is all something we need to master in 2017! In case you don’t get a chance to read the CMI report, here are some highlights:
A whopping 88% of B2B marketers use content marketing.
Interestingly enough, though, not everyone is using strategy and documentation efficiently – this went down by 8% this year.
The most effective marketers allocate 42% of their total marketing budgets to content.
79% of the most effective marketers have clarity regarding the success of their content marketing.
31% of marketers report that sales lead quality is the most important metric they use.
Finally, if we can agree that content marketing really needs to be a systemic task of innovation rather than just content, there are 2 important next steps:
1. Analyze Your Failure: Determine your content problem (the ‘beast’) which will lead to your plan of attack, utilizing a new content management framework for success.
2. Create the new Paradigm: Providing innovation and quality content for and not ‘to’ your customers.
What do you think? – I would love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to comment or reach out to me. Part 2 is coming Soon: “Innovating Your Content Marketing System” Follow @neilkeene.
Report Hive Published a New Report Title “Evolving Pharmaceutical Marketing Strategies: Digital as a Key Component of Multichannel Marketing” on its Market Research Database The pharmaceutical field has always experimented with and adopted technology to provide medical advancements, leading to robotic surgery systems, gene therapies, stem cell treatments, next-generation synthetic limbs and cameras that can […]
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’?
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…