Chris Cherek | 02/06/2018
Healthcare. Modern medicine. Science. Its data-driven, research-based, regulated, and to the uninitiated, it’s boring. And nothing could be farther from the truth.
We hear of great teachers who take technical and or difficult subjects and present them in a way that engages students minds and makes the subject matter interesting. More popular examples include educators like Bill Nye the Science Guy www.billnye.com and or/ Science Bob Pflugfelder www.Sciencebob.com. But when it comes to most displays or live healthcare events, information is presented as if it’s 1918, not 2018. That’s not to say we need to light things on fire or blow them up to prove a scientific property. No, we can leave that to the late-night talk shows and earlier educational settings. But there is beauty and brilliance in how we are accomplishing our advances in healthcare. Let’s use that beauty to engage and inform and yes, dare I say it, entertain HCPs.
But what’s beautiful about a new drug or the way medical records are shared? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In my spare time, I’m a woodworker. Most weekends you’ll find me in my basement shop “making sawdust.” And if not in the shop I’m watching YouTube videos on woodworking. Most videos are pretty process focused, do this 1st, then this 2nd, etc. but some I find engaging, informative and I become transformed into a fan of the video and the project. Why not do this with your product? Instead of leading with data, lead with a story, or informative animation, something that sparks the mind of your target audience. I was speaking with a previous colleague who’s client commented that the molecule for their product was “Beautiful.” What did my previous colleague do? They made a large 3-D model of the molecule and placed it in the center of their booth at congresses. To many, this molecule looked like a mix of shapes, but to scientists and HCPs in the field, it was a thing of beauty and spurred many meaningful conversations.
And that’s the point. It’s not about promoting “pretty” or “cool” or ‘high-tech” just for its sake. The point is to use aspects of your product that is pretty/cool/high-tech to attract/engage and create meaningful exchanges of information.
And the tools we have to do this are expanding. Years ago, I was asked to develop an internal communications campaign and help a couple of brand managers “cut through the noise” and make their reps aware the products these managers represented were still relevant and worth the reps selling time. One tactic was to create a comic strip, physically printed and mailed to reps each month. The comic strip was different. It was drawn by a comic book artist and featured the products, the brand managers as heroes and reps as the real superheroes as agents of change. The program was a success because again it engaged, informed and entertained its target audience, but we could only deliver a strip once a month. Today we can do that in less time and less cost via digital delivery. But don’t produce a digital piece just because you can. An article in Med Ad News (Pharma Mobilizes, Dec 2017) states, ZS Associates did a review of healthcare-related apps “through the Android store and iTunes, and there are a little over 200,000 available. But a vast majority, more than 60% are downloaded less than 5,000 times.” In other words, this is no Field of Dreams. Just because you build, it doesn’t mean they’ll come.
And therein lies the secret sauce. Yes, we’re all busy and tasked with needing to do more in less time every day. But the next time you need to design how to attract your desired audience to your booth, or keep your audience’s attention at a national meeting, or make sure your reps remember to sell your product. Find the beauty, find the interest, go ahead and entertain them a little. The conversations and engagement that follow will be worth it.