Rewind for biotech brand managers: our Seth Godin interview
Learn what best-selling author, entrepreneur, and agent of change Seth Godin had to say about healthcare marketing. Take a look back at our personal interview with Seth.
Several years ago, I was reading Seth Godin’s Purple Cow, which I found to be an interesting book. It led to our agency’s reaching out and landing an exclusive interview with Seth at his office in New York.
After an extensive and fun photoshoot (see outtake above), we had a lively discussion about the state of marketing. Let’s take a look back to see if Seth’s advice still holds true for biotech branding.
DUDNYK: What would you say to pharma marketers?
SETH: I’d say don’t try to come up with a brainstorm that changes everything.
Instead, try to come up with a description of what the edge is . . . the scariest ad . . . the most coveted toy . . . the package that’s hardest to open. . . that’s easiest to open. Put that thought on the table, and lots of people you work with will gradually improve what you did. Everyone’s good at one-upmanship.
Like the Korean restaurant on Broadway in Manhattan that decided to remain open 24 hours a day. They went all the way to the edge. And by going all the way to the edge, it does more business than all the other Korean restaurants put together. It’s that simple. It’s about finding an edge and going all the way to it.
As usual, Seth’s counsel aligns completely with what I believe leads to the best creativity in the biotech and biopharmaceutical world: “try to come up with a description of what the edge is . . . the scariest ad.”
Here’s the problem: most biotech brand managers are afraid to even look at the edge, let alone go near it. That is why true creativity in a regulated environment is so difficult to attain. I encourage you to push your creative agency to that edge, and then push them past it. There are plenty of regulatory and medical folks to rein the work back in. So, push the work; you will be glad you did.
DUDNYK: When you look into the future of ad agencies, what do you see?
SETH: I think the ad agency of the future will do two things.
#1. It gets involved on the first day of new product planning. The ad agency ought to have a loud voice in what products get developed and in what widgets get built because that’s marketing.
And #2, the ad agency is better qualified to grasp big pieces of the marketing function than to just come up with clever execution. So that means that the marketing person needs to go to the agency and say: Okay, my goal is to have a million people in our permission base who want to hear from us every week so I can teach them how to do…So how do we start at the beginning and build a product and an offer that leads us to a million people who want to hear from us?
It doesn’t happen that way. What usually happens is that the product and the offer are all done and the company says, well, we need this typeset, we need this designed, we need a photo done. And the ad agencies’ hands are tied.
Let’s take Seth’s point even further. You do not have to wait until after the Phase III trial results to bring in your agency partner. You are missing out on the strategic thinking that an agency partner provides at this early stage. Benefit from that thinking earlier; untie their hands.
Click here to download a PDF of the entire interview with Seth.
To learn more about Seth, click here to go to Seth’s blog.