• jeffreypkiplinger

Marketing is Like Lab Work

You have an idea, you come up with an experiment (or several) to test it, you carry it out, you analyze the results. Then you try some more experiments, because usually the analysis didn't tell you much of anything the first time. You bet you can design it better.

I was thinking about what you have to do to shake up (hack) pharma culture. There are a lot of aspects to "a pharma company", whatever that means today, but one that helps define the whole system is the culture. In my companies I always tried to create an environment where scientists had a desire and an incentive to try stuff - easy to say, hard to achieve. Most of us fall back on the trite direction "you should spend 10% of your time on research, and only 90% on your job". What that does is tell your staff that the importance of experimentation is way low compared with production.

Over the years I realized that experimenting is not enough, and I started to create what I called a "track everything" culture. Any time you track production, efficiency, cost, time, resource use, success ratio - you create an environment where innovated people naturally experiment to move the needle. My lab directors wanted to reduce solvent costs. My junior scientists wanted to reduce glassware cleaning time.

In marketing at Averica, we started to track digital domain success with analytics tools back in 2015, and this started a huge cascade of experimentation with how to perturb the Google-verse in any way that benefited us over our competitors. As a cycling fan, I've been interested for a long time in how corporate sponsors of cycling teams (you see their names on the jerseys and team cars) benefit from their investment. Could a non-sports business like ours do anything with this?

Well, largely because we weren't afraid to experiment, and we had a high focus on tracking, we decided to try it and figure out the impact later. Here's what happened - the article was published in Outsourced Pharma in 2016. Enjoy!


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