Practical Perspectives


Philadelphia skyline in Fall

Selling Innovation (Change) inside Big Companies

I’ve lived most of my life in the Northeastern part of the US, and autumn is a special time of the year. Despite a few weeks’ delay likely due to climate change, most of us still look forward to the change of seasons and the fall colors that paint the trees like dominos falling from north to south. I took the photo above a few years ago in Philadelphia, and each time I look at it I hear that classic Hall & Oates song. Change is natural and inevitable, and humans have adapted for a very long time. In the

Read More »
Problem-Solution Matrix

Improve Your Problem-Solving with this Simple System

Sometimes when we’re faced with problems at work it can feel like we’re lost in the woods and unsure of where to start. In this post we’ll look at a simple system to solve almost any problem you face in your daily life. After you gain a bit of experience, like I have, you see patterns in the world and in the problems you encounter at work and in other areas of your life. Here’s a straightforward approach that I use, and you may laugh at how simple it is. It strips down and organizes all of the possible problems

Read More »
3 Magic Questions

Start Every Project with these 3 Magic Questions

There are three magic questions that we use at our agency to ensure we’re making the best use of our time and talent, and our client’s resources. Whether you’re designing a new innovation process for your company, running the annual planning process for a brand, or even starting a new project at home — the three magic questions can really help you focus, clarify and prioritize during the critical early stages of discovery and planning. A problem well stated is a problem half-solved. The first magic question is, “What problem are we trying to solve?” It’s a basic question, so

Read More »
Milan Faces

Is Differentiation a Lost Art?

Pharmaceutical marketing is a sea of sameness in which clever key messages, celebrity spokespeople and p-values do not compensate for poorly differentiated products. Do marketers and their agencies simply fail to understand their customers, or do they really believe that the science will sell itself? I concede that one major difficulty in differentiating an Rx brand is that the product itself fundamentally doesn’t change during its brief patent-protected life. Uses may expand, formulations may be tweaked, new data may be generated, and patient support programs may be created—but it’s the same medicine with the same properties it had on launch

Read More »
Dunking a basketball

Boost Career Success with a Better ‘Inside Game’

Over the past few weeks we’ve received more calls than ever from brand leaders, CoE leaders, and other managers and executives, all with the same problem: They’re trying to get things done within their organization, but they’re running into internal roadblocks, apathy and bureaucracy that stalls their projects and hinders their success. If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Across the industry, it’s getting harder for marketers and team leaders to get buy-in and internal support from colleagues within their own company. And when that happens, it can seriously jeopardize a team’s success and a manager’s career. Yet we know

Read More »
Road to the Future

Aftermath: BioPharma’s Brave New World

It has been difficult for many lately to focus on the next day, let alone the next week. However, if your work involves helping healthcare companies plan for the future, as mine does, creating 2021 scenarios is foundational for advising clients. Below are some possible futures and considerations for healthcare that may force the biopharma industry to change course in some fundamental areas. I hesitate to call them ‘predictions,’ because as of today they’re only half formed but still worth exploring. Creating future scenarios is foundational for advising clients. Since there’s no precedent, it’s difficult to predict what the US

Read More »
Build Your Creativity System

Build Your Creativity System

Despite Hollywood mythology, real-life creativity doesn’t usually happen randomly in a surprise flash of brilliance. Let’s take a look at some ways to dramatically boost our creativity each day. Even those with true natural talent often use these tips to increase the quantity and quality of their ideas, as they regularly feed their minds and souls with inspiration to solve important problems. How do they do this? Well, many design a simple system that helps them continuously discover, collect, connect and synthesize new ideas that they can apply to the problems on which they’re working. In order to summon creativity

Read More »
Social Media Logos

How Much Content Is Too Much for Your Brand?

Content strategy came into fashion in Marketing circles nearly a decade ago, driven mainly by a need to ‘fill the pipes’ created by the multitude of new digital and social platforms. Agencies and consultancies soon began to pitch it as a complex, expensive and essential gap to fill, and they were happy to oblige. To me, ‘content strategy’ initially was just a modern euphemism for ‘editorial plan’ – but it has since transformed into something else. An editorial plan or calendar lays out which content we must develop, for whom, and in which channels it must be delivered (by when)

Read More »
Secrets to Product Mgt

3 Secrets of Product Management

The craft of product management continuously changes. I’ve invested over 25 years in new product development and product management roles at several multinational biopharmaceutical and medical device companies. My responsibilities included blockbuster biologics, small-molecule cardiovascular drugs, digital therapeutics, and many things in between — yet across this diverse portfolio there are fundamental concepts that remain constant. In my current role as President of the biopharma Marketing agency, Health Accelerators, we coach many product managers on how to do their job more effectively, more strategically, to have more fun and continuously learn while doing it. No matter the product or category,

Read More »
Marketing Funnel vs. Cylinder

Is the Marketing Funnel Still Relevant?

A few Marketing concepts have weathered the past few decades pretty well. However, it may be time to give the ‘Marketing funnel’ a fresh look and see if it’s still relevant in our mobile-social-digital-data world. Before precisely-addressable channels like the internet, email, SMS and digital cable – there were primarily mass media like broadcast TV, terrestrial radio and print publications. The Funnel Is Inefficient I’ve worked in product management roles in which I spent upwards of $100M per year to buy broadcast TV media that provided a base level of brand awareness that we needed to stay competitive with peers.

Read More »