Sunday, July 8, 2012

The development mantra

E-mamta is an exciting project of Govt. of Gujarat that is impacting mother and child health services positively.  The fact that developmental approaches are popular and striking a positive note in society is an indication to marketers on the way ahead to approach marketing problems and solve them.

The universal core of marketing problem is about increasing consumption in an ethical or responsible way.  In pharmaceutical industry it is about increasing the consumption of healthcare products.  An important avenue is by generating prescriptions in favour of the promoted generics/brands.  So how can we adopt a developmental approach to solving such marketing problems?

The development mantra!

Improvement of one's lot and positive developments in one's society is a strong desire among the laity today.  There was a time where a safe status quo was desirable by many, the need was for stability and certainty, very great developments was not the need, only stability was the need. 

However, the picture is different today, along with certainty the contemporary needs in India are for development and self-recognition, the youth longs for a platform for achieving and mirroring one's achievement.  Hence, all development oriented programs are a great hit in current society. 

Today, in the media, talent shows, or other programs that challenge status quo and seek better solutions are a great hit.

This is a major trend in society, which marketers ought to make a note of.  Today, people implementing marketing programs, for instance the field personnel (MRs, field managers etc) and the recipients of marketing messages and marketing programs desire self-development and self-recognition.  There is hunger for change in the air!

There was a time when prompt salary payments and timely reimbursements of expense statements gave a stable field force or a stable set of employees to a firm, now these are taken for granted, the youthful employees yearn to gain more, employees desire self-development and recognition, the customers also want these factors.

Development is change management

Development mindset is a different requirement from traditional mindset.  Development is constantly challenging the status quo, setting new standards, toying with paradigm shifts, creating and managing disruptive patterns, learning how to manage market disruptions and creating valuable solutions.

In the contemporary pharmaceutical market, there is a churn, with a lot of buzz on unbranded generics.  Patients and regulatory systems are seeing if it is possible to create an economical unbranded generic market.  With production sytems well in place and hypercompetitive conditions, there is scope for unbranded generics.  This will definitely stunt the growth of branded generic market, this is a new paradigm - it is not an exaggeration to call the pro-generic or unbranded market - a disruptive market force.

In Maharasthra exuberant drug regulators are preventing MRs from carrying sales stock to pharmacies (so that adjustment is not done!), non - allopaths are being prevented from prescribing allopathic drugs ... well, all these flash in the pan moves will die down.  Because societal and marketing realities are different!

Change means constant learning

It is said, minds are like parachutes, they work only when it is open!  If change has to happen -learning new forms of work, or new procedures and approaches is required,  and if learning has to take place there should be zeal for the same, it cannot come when the mindset is closed and refuses to look at things in a non-judgmental way.  Open minds are necessarily non-judgmental, if minds are judgmental, learning is difficult and change management is challenging.

How to inculcate change management?

To engineer changes, organizational flexibility is required.  Control of information by power mongers should go, disruptions should start in the internal environment!  It is not a prescription for organizational anarchy, it is about creating ferment and bombarding information or knowledge at organizational members, it is about creating a knowledge immersive environ.  Change can come only when there is knowledge energy going around.

Doing the same things won't do!

Responding to changes in the environment is normally by harping on the current approaches to a greater extent.  If gifting works, then go on increasing gifts to get better outputs!  Yes, the time-tested approaches are vital and will deliver, however, survival and growth of organization will not depend on this, it depends on weaving new strands of strategies, which will create a cachet and differentiate the value offering and thus promote top-of-mind-recall!

The marketing code is getting disrupted!

The greatest challenge to marketers today, is that the marketing code is getting disrupted!  Dept., of Pharmaceuticals wants a value based marketing approach so patients are not fleeced by the doctor-medical testing lab-pharmaceutical industry axis!  To a certain extent strict implementation of the marketing code will create some change - but the major change cannot happen, unless something more disruptive and in favour of patients is done ...

... a change in the Drugs and Magic Remedies Objectionable Advertisements Act is required!

The above out-dated act prevents "prescription only drugs" from being advertised to potential purchasers (currently advertisements targeting prescribers through medical journals is possible!).

This is the crux of the problem, bold thinking and regulatory changes are required, so that the layman atleast gets to know the brand names of the same generic drug.  Advertisements of brand names and generic should be allowed, without informing the usage or indications.  This way the purchaser can get empowered through the messages, and can ask the pharmacist to provide alternative options for a prescription drug.  This will also prevent the pharmacist from 'pushing a brand' which provides better margins to him, making the patient a sucker!

The conundrum here is that the layman is totally in the dark, the patient is hostage to the doctor-medical lab-pharmaceutical firm axis, so now is the ripe time to create disruptions and break that axis, in any case this axis is now aweary!! 

Top pharma firms are themselves tired of the unethical practices of marketing!!!  Unethical pharma marketing is now a millstone round the neck of each pharma marketer, and a disruptive force that will weaken the doctor-medical lab-pharma marketer axis will be a welcome change (for pharma marketers also)!!

Moralizing has limitations, change can come from overcoming inertia of status quo, this will require adopting the development mantra.  Mr. Narendra Modi, the development oriented CM of Gujarat is able to tide all criticisms and politico-legal problems only through his adherence to the development mantra!  A developmental approach to solve marketing problems or other organizational challenges is the need of the hour.

Hope positive developments will take the medical profession and pharmaceutical market to greater heights, with societal benefit, ethics and 'profit surges' going hand in hand.  Thanks for reading this blogpost, please recommend this blog to your acquaintances, scroll down & click on older posts wherever required to read all other posts.

1 comment:

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