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

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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

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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!)

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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!

CartBook in AZ

Having just moved to the Phoenix area I have had to make quite a lot of adjustments but the observations have been priceless at times.  I learned that the area is referred to as ‘The Valley” because that is physically where we live in a valley surrounded by beautiful mountains. Where I live in the valley of the sun is Old Town Scottsdale, which is the downtown section where you will find a concentration of restaurants and nightlife.  Old Town has been referred to as South Beach in the desert and if you have been to South beach, this is an accurate label.  Although, it certainly is not much by some other larger metro are standards, Old Town is kind of the middle ground between the South in Tempe where ASU resides and the high-end golf courses and resorts to the North.

 

Strolling thorough Old Town on a weekend, I noticed there were a lot of golf carts humming around making that noticeable noise from a low powered engine.  It seemed odd for a semi-urban landscape.  What was even more unusual was when a nice driver stopped to ask me if I needed a ride?  Why is she offering me a free golf cart ride – I said, “No thank you”.  I didn’t find out until later but this is a ‘free’ service where a cart will take you anywhere in Old Town free of charge just make sure you ‘take care of them’.  Witness, a multitude of cart-driven, 1 person entrepreneurs running through a 10-block radius.  Much like Facebook (FB), carts have grown organically where they will pick you up at your apartment or wherever you are at the end of the night.  Basically, existing on tip dollars and the faith that people won’t take advantage of them.  Judging from the amount of carts running around Scottsdale Thursday-Saturday, they are doing just fine. 10 years ago, we had e-mail but not FB.  Then Zuckerberg got the idea to setup a free social connection website was created and here we are still not paying for probably the most used site on the planet.  In new business terms, the system of creating something from nothing and charging nothing creates something of great value.  We all know in today’s new market, if you can get eyeballs or ‘users’ you need to give things away and value will come in getting that attention because people=value.  Just like getting a free ride to dinner in Scottsdale isn’t free but if you’re a user of FB or any of the other numerous ‘free’ sites.  Just think of it as a free ride that FB clients and shareholders pay for and provide to you!