Sunday, February 11, 2007

M - detailing: Narendran's tactical innovation

M – detailing: Narendran’s tactical innovation

Innovation in business circles is not just a buzzword. This is a strategic imperative in a globalized world. The focus on a culture of innovation is such that there are innovation councils and even VPs leading innovation in a company.

Innovation is a continuous process. Innovation has become the key to success. Innovation is in the form of design, delivery, packaging, and implementation and so on. Given below is an example of a native tactical innovation by Narendran - the second line manager for Karnataka and Goa with Juggat Pharma, Bangalore.

Narendran has a 6600 Nokia mobile phone. With this great device one can talk, take snaps, see small movie clips, record voice and moving pictures, mms, sms, bluetooth…. Narendran’s inventiveness is in using this tool to enhance communication during his doctor calls and thereby increase the in – clinic effectiveness. Narendran uses his mobile tactically to show short product movie clips to doctors during in clinic calls. It is if you like m – detailing. Narendran uses this mobile to record short feedbacks from doctors (as they talk to him) and after taking their permission, uses this recording to influence the prescribing behaviors of other doctors (by replaying the recordings). Narendran takes snaps of competitor products, competitor promotional literature (sends these to his superiors at HO) and Narendran plans his follow up on overdue payments, all with his mobile. As such, Narendran’s 6600 mobile phone is much more than a tool to keep in touch or follow up with his reportees on sales, field activity and collection (of payments from stockists) – Narendran’s mobile is also a valuable and influential product promotional tool.

The above is classic innovation – necessity being the mother of inventiveness. This culture of tactical innovation helps Narendran stay ahead in the market place. And this is not a company provided mobile – it is his personal one.

The focus of businesses as is well known and perhaps a cliché is to provide value to customers. Innovation gives a window of opportunity to provide this. Innovation creates killer apps (applications); innovation helps create CATEGORY KILLER PRODUCTS. For eg. Hero Honda in India with their 4 stroke engine motorbikes achieved just that. They created a category and killed the market for other competitor two stroke bikes. Marati Udyog did just that with their flagship car brand Maruti 800. Even to this day it is the darling of masses in India. Merck is having a CATEGORY KILLER in its hands today – the Gardasil vaccine. In Texas it is already a mandatory vaccine for girls of 12 to 13 years as the three injection shot Gardasil protects girls from cervical cancer. Thus delivering value to customers through innovative ‘category killer’ products can create multi billion dollar products for businesses.

Wipro, the Indian software major, has made innovation a part of its company DNA. Wipro in fact has a dedicated innovation council and believes that if you don’t constantly improve, you constantly fall behind. Innovation is every body’s job at Wipro.

Today product driven companies are realizing that services are booming businesses. Hence to deliver value to customers and realize better revenues, more and more companies are mingling products with services. Ultimately companies have to focus on customer value and this is possible for product-oriented companies through a ‘hybrid of products and services’ in its value delivery process. And if product oriented companies have to blend services in its value delivery process, they better put on their green creative caps for some innovative action.

In the pharma field, value delivery process to doctors is mainly through MRs. However, it should be realized that the web and mobile are ubiquitous devices of connectivity with the medical fraternity; the web and mobile are certainly the future theatres of communication between pharma companies and target doctors. The contemporary vistas of communication in the pharma field are:

a) MRs and their support tools (visual aids, tablet PCs, leave behind sheets and so on)
b) Print media: advts. and sponsored articles in journals, magazines etc
c) Web 2.0: e mail marketing communication activity, eMR concept, blogs, message boards, e newsletters etc
d) Mobile phone based marketing communication activity: m – marketing, sms marketing, m – detailing and so on
e) CMEs, group meetings, seminars, conference promotion (in-stall activity) etc

A market savvy pharma company will obviously use all of the above vistas. After all, how will you communicate with a noted doctor like Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty or his team members – it is a Herculean task for MRs to meet such doctors regularly.

Clearly the need of the hour is constant innovation in all spheres of activities of a pharma company. Particularly in a globalised world this is all the more vital as disruptive forces operate @ speed of thought. And Narendran has shown the way through his tactical innovation – enriching in-clinic activity through his mobile-based m-detailing product promotion. That’s the way to go Narendran – keep it up.

(This blog post is dedicated to Narendran, ASM (second line manager), Juggat Pharma, Bangalore his mobile no. is 98458 27120.)

This is Sunil S Chiplunkar, mob. 9980800023, Marketing Manager, Himalaya Drug Company, Bangalore writing this blog post at

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