Monday, May 25, 2009
Crisis in this sector is usually classified into the following
1. Death of patient
2. Sexual harassment charges
3. Medicine overdose
4. Duplicate drug
There are many situations where crisis can take place, but above mentioned are few of the important ones.
Incase of any crisis the thumb rule is:
1. It is very important to understand the crisis, talk to all the parties involved.
2. Inform the spokesperson and people affected to maintain a common statement for media. In the meant time setup an enquiry committee.
3. Keep media informed about the latest reports only after approval.
4. Get assistance of legal department/consultants.
5. Understand what media wants and diplomatically solve all the queries.
6. There are many aspects to deal with crisis so it is necessary to hire a communications agency.
Here I will quote a case study to better understand crisis
Molestation charges against male doctor by female patient during checking and no female attendant is nearby. And the doctor is not guilty, but how to prove it?
What, I have highlighted is an extreme crisis situation which can tarnish the image of the doctor as well as of the hospital. Here, it is important to understand the doctors’ side and the patients’ side of the story. Can schedule meeting with a psychiatrist of both the parties, whose reports can help to understand the reasons behind such incidence. The legal dept and the hospitals spokesperson should keep all channels open and interact with the media (the information shared with the media should be approved by the mgt). As far as possible the culprit should not speak to media and have faith in the hospitals management. If the patient is wrong their will be loopholes in her story which can surface during interrogation. It might happen that the patient was sexually starved and was trying to advance towards the doctor and he might have objected resulting in this claim. The other possibility can be that doctor was checking her heart beats and by mistake touched her breast. Only after discussions this type of case can be solved.
Once the case is solved both the parties (doctor & patient) should speak to media and convey the right message. Keeping media informed helps to gain positive respect from media which helps in the long run.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Indian Pharma companies have experienced a lot of R & D developments in recent few years. The innovations have placed these Indian Pharma companies amongst the top elite Pharma companies in the international scenario. This industry according to Ficci reports is growing @ 26% which is more faster rate than the retail sector.
The Pharma sectors traditionally have been investing funds in R&D and Clinical Research Trials. But in the recent few years a lot of investment is put aside for International Acquisitions, Research in new molecules and Patents. Though these companies have been competing with international counterparts to reach the top position in terms of net value of the company, innovations at the bottom of the pyramid haven’t seen any light of the day. I mean the no improvement in the training of the MRs, the sales representatives and the Brand Managers. The sales reps still carry the same old visual aids and the research papers to pitch about the company product to the doctors. Actually to think about it, I feel the Medical Representatives are the most neglected lot in the Pharma companies, coz nobody feels they are driving the company’s sales.
By the statement What at the bottom of the pyramid? I mean to say the people who directly impact the growth of the company; the other people are indirectly connected to the growth of the company.
The Marketing & Sales departments haven’t seen any innovations in last 20 yrs. The MRs (Medical Representatives) still visit 10 docs and 5 retailers as per the set target, show them the same brochures and visual aids, the same pitch and lastly the research reports. The only new development that was seen, late in the year 1998 was KOL based PR stories in publications, but can we consider it an innovation?
On an average when a new product is assigned to a Brand/Product manager he is given a budget to market the product which is peanuts. In that budget the marketing manager has to
Conduct product training for all the MRs,
Brochure development providing a brief on the product,
Conduct Research on the product stating how superior the product is from its competitors,
Sponsor CMEs of KOLs which helps in spreading the word of mouth publicity on the product and
Prepare visual aids to be given out to the doctors when the MR visits the doctors.
The Brand Managers decisions are mostly based on RoI, leaving a very little scope for innovation. He has a target to achieve, and advertising is out of question because prescription drugs cannot advertise as per the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical research), so uses the age old techniques to push the product details to the doctors.
Now once this is done, the Sales Managers job is to drive the sales of the products so he sets targets for the MRs to meet doctors. The Sales manager thought process is simple meet doctors and more doctors, meet them often, also meet retailers and more retailers, this will drive the sales of the products. Actually the Sales Manager knows the doctors will listen to the MRs only once and the next time will skip the meetings, but he knows of only one thing that will drive the sales, he doesn’t try to innovate something new which will help his team to achieve the sales target.
Doctors are fed-up of the same old story of the drugs and medicines, watching the same old visual aids, pitches from MRs, etc; this often forces them to skip the meetings with MRs, which are then bound to be quite boring.
But the BIG question is, whether any Pharma companies are doing anything to improve this situation? If the Pharma companies are not able to innovate something new to help in marketing their products, sales of the drugs might be affected in the long run.
What the Pharma companies really need is some great innovation at the ground level where sales of the products are been driven, word of mouth publicity another big avenue yet to be tapped and recommendations of the drugs. The Pharma companies should hire some ad agency to ideate or pitch to NID to think of some innovation which will be the greatest innovation for the MRs.
The story appeared in Financial express was a review of a book named:
http://www.financialexpress.com/news/Select-segments-to-dominate/350276/ The Marketing Mavens by Noel Capon: The article talks about Pfizers innovations at the Sales level, this is what the book had to say…
Pfizer rigorously schools its field salespeople to ask questions and feed information back to the firm. Target expects all employees who travel—whether on business or pleasure—to write reports on trends in other parts of the world. This kind of information gathering can give your business an edge. It can pinpoint needs that customers don’t yet recognise—needs that by definition won’t show up in traditional data gathering. You should be striving to meet and exceed customer expectations not only by solving their current problems, but by anticipating future ones, and then proactively devising solutions in existing and emerging market segments.