Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Tequila punch


The Tequila is an interesting alcoholic drink concept. The charisma of Tequila lies in the way it is consumed. The wikipedia way: first, take in some salt by licking it off from near the palm of the hand, where it is applied, and then down the entire drink all at once. After downing the first shot, a lemon slice is quickly bitten.

An alternative method, is placing some salt on the back of the palm, squeeze some juice from a slice of lime on to the salt, gulp the drink at one go (bottoms up!), and then lick off the salt + lime.

Well, whichever way you follow, you will realize as you down the hard- drink in one go, it is really hot on the throat and it hits you really fast and hard!

Question: Hey, but what does the Tequila drink have to do with healthcare products?

Answer: The Tequila punch is required for new product launches.

Explanation: Today doctors are burdened with a plethora of new brands and product concepts. Each day, atleast one MR launches a me-too brand or a new product concept. And all this hectic new product launch activity has made the doctor inured to new product (whether new concepts or me-too brands) launches. Thus, it has become a 'nightmare' for a healthcare or pharma marketer to get the new brand consumed by way of prescriptions.

The way out? Give the Tequila punch!

Giving the Tequila punch does not mean literally pouring the alcoholic drink down the doctor's pharynx (ie., throat).

Apply some salt first: Tease the doctor with a campaign to evoke the attention and interest in the product or brand concept. There is a need for a logic in the product launch, some important emotive points in the promotion, and a lot of marketing gimmicks to engage the doctor. That is the salt.

Then, give the drink: The doctor will surely not take to the product - it needs to be sort of made-to-gulp by the doctor, even if the 'drink is hot in the throat', and the product should give a never before high to the doctor. It should excite him.

Do not forget the lime: The doctor ought to be then exposed to the 'lime of another marketing gimmick' or the brand will slip out of his or her mind.

Today, no doctor will come out of his or her 'comfort zone' and experiment with a new product concept or brand concept in his or her clinical practice very easily. Only the Tequila shot or Tequila punch will get him or her to shift his prescribing behavior.

Some live examples from the marketing lore are given below:

Here are two marketing concepts (live case studies) that have rocked the market. Both are examples of product launches by Wockhardt.

Launch of a brand of lipid lowering agent: In this case, to preselected target doctors, the MR visited with a bright big gift package. After a small pre-detailing pep talk the doctor was requested to open the bright big gift package.

The doctor would obviously have opened the package with glee. Imagine his surprise, when on opening the lid of the package, a hydrogen filled balloon with a string tied, rose up, and hit the ceiling.

The enterprising MR then went on to detail thus: 'Dr., when the lipid levels in blood go up, please recommend ........ brand which reduces (etc)'.

While detailing all the points, the MR was to slowly pull the string down with every detail point of the brand, and finally the MR puts back the balloon in to the box and closes, triumphantly announcing that Brand X reduces lipid levels to normal levels.

Needless to say, the brand became a success.

Launch of Freecad: Wockhardt was a rather late entrant in to the booming antioxidant market. To gain mindshare, a very novel strategy was implemented to the early adopter and innovator opinion builder doctors.

Each MR had to select 3 to 5 such doctors in his territory. And he had to take permission to visit the doctor's house early morning on a particular date.

The MR visited with a pigeon in a cage. The doctor was asked to come out of the house or on the terrace, the doctor was asked to release the pigeon. The doctor would have perhaps done it with a lot of questions in his mind! May be he would have been flabbergasted too!!

Anyway, as soon as the pigeon was released, the MR would then announce that the doctor has now ensured 'freedom from coronary artery disease' through Freecad. And the MR would detail the product. Needless, to add this marketing brand gimmick ensured that the product went on to become a big hit in the antioxidant market.

Hey, wait do not raise holier-than-thou points that clinical aspects govern the prescribing behavior, and not such 'SILLY MARKETING GIMMICKS' as described above.

Let us understand, buddy, doctors are human. They have enough of pharmacology and scientific evidence bombarded from every direction - through MRs, peers, mags, journals, internet etc. NOW WHERE IS THE FUN?

It all comes from such interesting MR activities. And they influence brand sales significantly. Marketing requires one to wear the green cap of creativity (green is for creativity as per Edward de Bono - the messiah of lateral thinking). And this can lead to transformational results.

Hope this blogpost was as exciting as a Tequila punch! Please scroll down and read all other posts, do click on older posts to read all other blogposts. Thanks for your time. (PS: this blogpost is put up from nearby cyber cafe at 7.36 pm)

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