Recently, I was talking with a Pharma client about signalling (or signaling as our American cousins call it) and how it can be extremely useful for marketing strategy purposes.

We are all signalling our intent, ideas and thoughts everyday in our daily lives, but imagine if you can aggregate information about a company or brands strategic intent around future business events?  This might take the form of numerous sources including press releases, analyst presentations, discussions with company employees or physicians involved with clinical studies, news articles, RSS feeds, web2.0 tools, online search, social media monitoring etc. 

In fact, you could look at the building of a picture about brand X or topic Y in a simple hub and spoke fashion like this:

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Now imagine monitoring those sources over time and clearer, focused, sharper picture emerges about the strategic intent of the competition and if you're aware of this intelligence, you can use it to your advantage by pre-empting defensive or offensive strategies as appropriate.

Of course, it gets even more fun when you factor in multiple products and companies around a particular topic or disease, with numerous hub and spokes and different sizes of systems depending upon how much information is available or collected and this simplified without intertwined links, which can make the whole picture more akin to solving an evil sudoku puzzle:


Picture 40

The beauty of seeing the big picture is that out of the chaos emerges patterns and trends that can be very useful to a marketing team wondering what to do next.  Playmaking and strategy aren't limited to NFL teams, but the smart Pharma marketers can use intelligence and customer driven data insights wisely to better position their brand either now or in the future.

We get a to spend a lot of time on these activities as consultants and thus over time we also get to see general disease area or industry trends emerging ahead of the mainstream.  Ultimately, helping our clients stay one step ahead of the competition can be a very interesting and fun experience indeed.