It’s the “tagline” of one of my favorite shows, Survivor. I’ll admit it’s not quality TV, but it is entertaining, and each season I enjoy watching to see which player’s strategy will win in the end.
It’s a motto that serves marketers well, especially today. Budgets are tighter. Physicians are harder to see. We are facing an uphill battle, and those that reach the top, the lone survivors, will be the ones who outwit, outplay, and outlast. Is your brand ready for the “lone survivor” title? Consider this:
Are you outwitting your competition, or are they outwitting you?
Is your brand reactive or proactive? Do you find yourself constantly trying to “catch up” with the competition? Is your focus on blunting competitive messages instead of focusing on the steps needed to develop advocates? If so, your brand is reactive, not proactive.
Developing a proactive brand requires planning, foresight, and ongoing maintenance. It’s not about developing materials for POA cycles, it’s about launching with a smart, strategic plan. One that not only takes into account what your reps need, but anticipated market events, expected publications, and competitive intelligence that fuels key insights. A strong plan that accounts for future changes in market place dynamics. Should something unexpected arise, it should require tweaking your initiatives – not overhauling them.
Are you outplaying your competition?
It’s no secret that physicians are getting harder to see. Evaluate your tactics. Does your tactical plan feel like it’s dated? Is it the same plan you had five years ago? Frankly, if it is, it’s outdated – time to refresh, to dig deeper. Think smart phones, mobile apps, social media, tablet PCs…if you haven’t thought about them, it’s time to consider them. Regardless of your technical readiness, your efforts today may need to be disseminated through technology tomorrow.
Remember the last time you said “I need to advertise (here) because my competition is.” Or, “I noticed they launched (X), we need to do that too.” Now, forget those phrases – FOREVER. Don’t play where your competition is playing. Think about new, unique things that can set your brand apart. Take a risk – a calculated one to stand out.
Are you outlasting your competition?
When the doctor is with the appropriate patient and it’s time for a brand choice, is yours first on his mind? Evaluate your message. Is it relevant? Compelling? Does it give the physician a reason to care? Too often we sit behind the glass and have physicians rank messages based on how compelling and believable they are. It becomes a game of “which was least offensive” vs. “which was most impactful.” I could go on and on regarding what’s wrong with that approach, but I think that requires a whole different blog post. How about a different approach: Talk to your physicians, ride with a rep, uncover the needs of your target. Really understand them. Then, evaluate your messages and align them with those underlying needs. Meet your customer at their point of need with something (message, program, initiative) that really makes a difference for them.
Let’s face facts. The pharma world is no longer about who screams the loudest, spends the most, gives out the most samples. I’d argue that it never really was, but I’m sure some would disagree. It’s about being smart marketers. It’s about having the right vision for the right product, appropriately aligned to your customer needs. Outwit. Outplay. Outlast. Not outspend.Palio is a full-spectrum global pharmaceutical and consumer advertising, marketing, and communications agency that excels in brand creation and specializes in brand strategy, product launches, global marketing, and digital and integrated media.