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What do Payer Marketing and Drinking Clubs have in Common?

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Given our upcoming meeting with the client brand team who doesn’t believe in payer or organizational customer marketing, I’m working on a story to explain our managed markets strategy and why it works.

Franklyn’s Organizational Customer Marketing Strategy a Raging Success for Drinking Club

My drinking club

I’m the current President of a cultural club in NYC. And when I say “cultural club” I really mean “drinking club.” When I first took over, the group was fragmented and dysfunctional. We would host events and no one showed up. It was embarrassing standing there with a fake smile in an empty room.  And attendance was a leaky bucket. When people came, they didn’t come back.

Obviously I had a fixer-upper on my hands. My first priority was to plug the attrition hole. At the time, I thought it was because event participants didn’t have much fun. Conversations didn’t get far beyond, “Hello, my name is…” So forlorn.

My first solution was straight out of event planning 101. Throw down an ice-breaker, play a little game. And just like they are at POA meetings, it was a little awkward and contrived. The needle didn’t move much.

I had another idea, which I thought at the time was revolutionary except it wasn’t in hindsight. It occurred to me that people didn’t come to our events simply have fun, really. You can have a lot of fun in NYC at any time of the day or night on any street corner. My members longed for connection. For a community. For relationships. And the basis of any relationship is collaboration toward a common aim, whatever that aim might be.

So I put my members to work. I appointed a venue selection committee, I told a few people they were on the welcome wagon. We formed a beer committee. I advised each committee to get together on their own and plan how they were going to proceed.

Today we have over 600  members and our events always have waiting lists.

One afternoon not so long ago, I had a moment of clarity. It occurred to me that my club strategy wasn’t some great epiphany. It worked because it was actually borne out of our payer marketing strategy. I’m very consistent, it seems.

Franklyn’s Managed Market Strategy Closes the Loop

It is fairly inarguable at this point that collaboration toward a common aim leads to trusted relationships. And trusted relationships lead to tighter collaboration.

Everybody has a vested interest in the outcome, and the outcome is mutually beneficial. It’s a cycle; and pharmaceutical or device sales numbers sit in the middle of that cycle. When the cycle picks up speed, it becomes the wind beneath the wings of brand growth.

Formulary access, year after year, at a value-based price, doesn’t happen for account managers who simply show up every now and then with a sales pitch and a good rebate. Continued access and pull-through happen for account managers who can be counted on to collaboratively solve problems.

Where Does our Story Go from Here?

Assuming that our prospective client is not aghast at the idea of alcoholic beverage consumption, we could talk about two things:

  • Why payers or the c-suite of healthcare organizations matter.
  • Or, how we operationalize our “Solve not Sell” strategy.

Hopefully, the client team will see that pulling off said strategy takes extreme cunning.

So what do you think? A good start?

If it walks like a Lunch & Learn…

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photo credit: www.employees-lawyer.com

photo credit: www.employees-lawyer.com

An old client with a new job at a new company asked me to come in to run a lunch & learn. Or, what I’m calling a lunch & learn. Officially, the meeting invite says “Capabilities Presentation.” And maybe it is.

The problem, from our biased perspective anyway, is that this group sees little value in a payer managed markets agency. They feel their brand AOR is more than up to any payer-directed projects. I’ve heard this before from specialized pharma, meaning brands that are included in DRG payments or medical reimbursements. Because providers are commonly seen as the primary decision-makers for these types of products, IDN & Payer decision-makers are viewed as influencers of mild importance. In other words, not worth a separate agency.

The prime directive of a normal capabilities presentation is, “Sell Franklyn, the Best IDN & Payer Marketing Agency Ever.” But in this case, we might be looking at a mission more like, “Sell the Value of Having an IDN & Payer Agency in the First Place.”

Is this a waste of our time?

Fifteen years ago, back when we worked with smaller businesses not necessarily in the healthcare space, I made a solemn vow. I had wasted massive amounts of time effectively offering free Entrepreneur 101 classes to unappreciative business owners. I swore that I would never take another meeting with anyone who did not believe in spending money on marketing in general. My bottom-line saw clearly the folly of needing to justify an entire discipline as a prerequisite to sell my service.

As Ian Altman says, “Those who are not a fit—we’ll call them non-prospects—pose a great danger to your business because they have the potential to suck in your energy and resources like a black hole.”

But maybe, this doesn’t qualify as a black hole…

In this particular case, the group certainly believes in marketing. They might even believe in IDN or payer marketing. They just don’t believe it’s a specialty. If this is true, then my job is not to provide general education, but to show that brand challenges are caused by payers in some way significant enough to warrant extended effort.

Then, I need to gain buy-in for my perspective on how the brand might overcome these challenges. And obviously, my perspective will include strategies that simply can’t be pulled off by an agency who doesn’t understand the our space like we understand our space.

Someone wish us good luck.

Are You Fascinating?

Posted by | Innovation, New Ways of Pharma Marketing | No Comments
image created by: http://www.sfsignal.com /archives/2013/06/ friday-youtube-every- time-spock-says- fascinating/

image created by: http://www.sfsignal.com/ archives/2013/06/ friday-youtube- every-time-spock- says-fascinating/

It all started when I took this crazy test to figure out how I’m fascinating.

Turns out, I’m a Maverick Leader. Basically, that means that when I am asked to do something requiring unflagging attention to painstaking details, my imagination sees me, slowly, sliding under the table and hoping no one notices while I crawl out the door. My special skill is surprising a room full of people with a solution that nobody else thought of.

This likely explains why I’m a long-time entrepreneur. And also why I’ve built a team that includes some of the most passionately detail-oriented people in this industry. They adore superscripts, they go in for 6-point type and lots of decimal places. They soundly defeat brutally strict Regulatory Review processes. They need me and I sure need them. We work well together.

Here’s the universal rub. Whenever anybody, including you and me, spends too much time doing what we’re not passionate about, our energy drains. We sink into a murky, anxious and frustrating place. Not that I often go around quoting Donald Trump, but I like what he said here:

“If you are interested in balancing work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them. Instead make your work more pleasurable.” ~ Donald Trump

Here’s both my point and my epiphany:

  1. Taking this “fascination test” is very gratifying because it gives you permission to be exactly who you are. I recommend it. Find the link [HERE]. At a minimum, use it to better align your energy with your talent.
  2. Many brand teams hire consultants to handle their strategic thinking or higher-level work because they’re too busy keeping up with other tasks.

    Get ready for some of my innovative thinking on display: Hire us to “block and tackle” so you can do what you love and why you took your job in the first place. (You knew it would come back to Franklyn eventually, admit it.) Let us manage the tasks that destroy your ability to concentrate on what you’re really good at. And that’s a problem because these activities– the ones you can barely find time for — are the activities that will, for real, move the needle for your brand.

Some of the largest companies in the world work with Franklyn and have the results to show for it. It’s clear that a team that spends the most time on the most productive activities is actually the most productive.

I made up a simple chart that shows what we have done for others to overcome this “no time” problem from an editorial perspective. If you work for a pharma company, payer, medical device company or established technology firm, [CLICK  HERE] and I’d be happy to send it to you.

Increasing sales in a tough managed market environment with everyday B2B hand tools

Posted by | Innovation, New Ways of Pharma Marketing, Sales Training, Training | No Comments

I read a lot of articles on content marketing, like this one: Keeping Content from Getting Lost. Content marketing is not news across most industries. Do a search on the term and you’ll get 982 million results.

Every time I read an article about Content Marketing, I think of our pharma marketing clients. I see two ways that content marketing applies to pharma: online and off-line. Most people don’t think of content marketing as having non-digital relevance; but I’ve never been most people.

Today, I’m contemplating only the off-line aspect … maybe because over the past week I’ve spoken with 17 DMs, each one for over an hour. My task is to help them increase sales of a particular product in a tough managed market environment. I listen to their challenges, I look at the managed market data for their district, and we discuss how they can bend their curve. Tomorrow.

In my opinion, one of the best ways to drive sales is to stop hard-selling the product and start considering why the HCP needs the product.

“People don’t buy a drill. They buy a hole.”

More than half of physicians and HCPs participate in ACOs or Medical Homes right now. What HCPs need are ways to meet the demands of these new compensation, reimbursement and management entities. The DM and sales team have a huge opportunity to engage with these individuals with meaningful, relevant content.

rogers innovation curve

What does this content look like? It looks like a conversation. It looks like the sales rep discussing with the HCP the quality standards that they are being tasked to achieve, talking about how others are working to reach those standards, and then. Finally. Showing how the pharma product is part of that standard of care.

Is this easy to implement nationwide? No. How do you do it? The only way to convince the masses is to convince a few individuals first. These few then talk everybody else into the idea. That’s why we work with selected DMs who have been identified as Early Adopters. Some call this a “pilot,” but it’s a pilot built to scale organically.

Don’t let me lead you to believe we came up with this highly successful best practice on our own. We simply follow the guidance of top innovation adoption experts like Seth Godin and Geoffrey Moore and Everett Rogers. It’s also the thinking that drives every single KOL program pharma has ever unleashed.

More blog posts: http://www.franklynhc.com/blog/