The other day I was mapping out a basic marketing plan for a pharma client and realised that I was in grave danger of thinking too much. Why? Because while there are many many components of a marketing plan, indeed, any strategic plan, sometimes simple is better.
Here's the complex plan I started, and thankfully, never finished. It looked something like a dark ominous spiders web (a function of the NY weather this morning when I took these shots for the blog):
The actual detail doesn't matter, you get the gist that things can get quite complicated even when you look at the big picture. Now, while drawing more various components on another sheet, I realised this morning that things could be simplified in a way that would focus the goals on the real objective, which is how can the product compete when it's 24th (or whatever) to market. You see, marketing and a market driven strategy at it's heart is very straightforward. It's just we humans who sometimes over complicate things. Instead, it is often better to think about what is the very essence things can be distilled down to?
Take a look a this – simpler, cleaner and altogether more obvious:
What this more elegant approach allowed me to do was stimulate discussion on the teleconference around the key issues, namely what is happening in the market now, what do we know about what the unmet medical needs are and what could the new product in development possibly do differently, if positioned towards those unmet medical needs.
With the original, I just took a photo on my iPhone and emailed it over. Then, the brainstorm was captured on a whiteboard during the teleconference, photographed on a Blackberry and emailed back to me. Who needs to waste time drawing fancy slides when you can have instant communication remotely?
We're now all clearer which needles in a haystack we can test for in market research rather than wasting time looking for needles in a haystack and vaguely hoping the physicians will tell us. We can use web2.0 tools and social media monitoring to mine for what consumers think, but at least we will know what we're looking for. After all, you wouldn't expect a blindfolded archer to hit a target he can't even see.
Ultimately, it's not about being first to market but about thinking and listening so that the product you create is simple and meets redefined needs. Sometimes, simple ideas from thinking outside of the box can give you new glimpses about what might be possible if you reframe the questions to start with.
That's the true value of insights and thinking clearly rather than getting bogged down in analysis by paralyis.
What we are ultimately trying to achieve with new medical treatments is find a way to match a therapy with a particular group of patients, but very few Pharma marketers actually remember this:
Apologies for the dark cartoons, they are hardly Hugh's standard 🙂
Thoughts and ideas from folks? What approaches have you found useful?