Your Customers Don’t Want Your Marketing, They Want Your Innovation! (Part 1)

“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.” ― James C. Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t

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.

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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!

 

 

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’)

Social Media & Systemic Marketing (hint -it’s not a channel!)

system
A lot has been written about how social media is misunderstood, particularly in regards to determining ROI for this very important media marketing device. Notice I didn’t say, “channel”. The mistake that is being made is that individuals and companies are thinking of social media as a channel. Social media is a system not a simple marketing channel such as direct mail or print media. Systems thinking is defined as is the process of understanding how things, regarded as systems, influence one another within a whole. In nature, systems thinking examples include ecosystems in which various elements such as air, water, movement, plants, and animals work together to survive or perish. In organizations, systems consist of people, structures, and processes that work together to make an organization “healthy” or “unhealthy”.

To be successful, your social media entity needs to be understood as a ‘system’ interacting with all of your sales and marketing to achieve your goals of acquiring a new customer, getting your message out or whatever may be your ultimate end. Tweets contain links to websites, Facebook contain videos (I could go on)– all which get shared and commented on and viewed by potential influencers or customers. This is the ‘nature’ of the system or ecosystem acting on itself to produce strength in the marketplace. Understanding this is critical and if you put a slide up there with social media as a channel, you are ultimately going to fail.

Next Post: Understand it, Track it, Analyze it!

Some of these are hard to believe, “When life depends on it, you use asbestos”?

Consumerist

Remember when you could buy barbiturates for the baby? Cover your house with asbestos? Or get heroin from the doctor? Okay, probably not, but thanks to the immortal beauty of advertising, you can take a trip back in time. Here’s our pick of some of the most ironic ads in American history.

UNION CARBIDE
“Science helps build a new India”

Ah, the innocent days before a Union Carbide plant in India obliterated everyone in sight. In 1984, Union Carbide’s plant in Bhopal released 42 tons of toxic gas into the air, ultimately killing about 25,000 people. The stench of this “new India” remains to date, in fact, as the Yes Men have duly pointed out.

(Image via Copyranter)

CORVAIR (1960)


The Corvair in action!
Impaling drivers with steering wheels!
Leaking oil!
Spiraling out of control!

You may remember the Corvair as the focus of Ralph Nader’s classic book…

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