Human Genome Sciences

Finally! Congratulations to Human Genome Sciences on their first product approval. It’s exciting for two reasons: it’s the first novel treatment for lupus, a truly devastating disease, and HGS discovered the B-cell stimulator for which the antibody was developed.

This is the spirit of drug discovery, I think. Find a need, no mater how difficult the trials are, and work to find a treatment. Benlysta will not be a miracle drug for all lupus sufferers. But, at least HGS had the courage to continue to study a product for which they believed in and for a disease that needed a treatment.

Congratulations to Dave H., as well.

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A moment of silence

Every time I see new photos of the destruction in Japan, I gasp at the horror of it all. I make sure that I stop and say a prayer for them. I know they will make it back, but the clean up alone seems like such a huge task.

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Ad Testing

Now that the Superbowl is behind us, and March Madness is going to be springing up, I’d like to reflect on the frenzy over the Superbowl ads. During the rest of the year, my family often comments on “what were they THINKING” when it comes to ads. Some might catch one’s attention, and the audience can replay the ad back verbatim – but what was the actual MESSAGE of the ad? What product or service was being presented? The purpose of ads, after all, is not strictly entertainment – they should be selling something as well. I think that companies have forgotten that tidbit in their effort to be more creative than the “other guys.” I usually wonder to myself, “what did the ad test results look like?” And, then I think, did they even TEST the ads?!?!

Companies don’t need to break the market researcfh budget on ad testing. I realize that more money should be put into the creative. However, the money should be well-spent and actually get a return-on-investment. A quick reaction to some of the ads mights even point out a few quick fixes that will result in increased sales if not awareness.

Please, marketing managers, do your customers and your bottom line a favor by testing the ads, even if it isn’t with the most complex methodology. In fact, a simple methodology might yield more actionable insights. But, please, please test your ads before letting them out inot the public.

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Global launch of pharma products

Good Morning, and happy Ground Hog’s Day!

I just read in the January 31, 2011 PharmaVOICE article, “Achieving Global Launch Excellence” http://www.pharmavoice.com/pdfs/2011/pv-0111/PV0111_AchievingGlobalLaunch.pdf. It’s a great article, and I agree with much that is said.

I find it interesting that, in the smaller world created by  the internet and social media, companies want to create a global brand, ignoring the many nuances of the sub-segments that technology has now given us access to.  I can certainly understand the global value the brand McDonald’s has, but they have also taken into account the tastes (literally!) and desires of the local cultures and customs.

Pharmaceutical marketing should have the same goal – an overall brand essence, but talking to the individual markets in their own language. I like what Ken Ribotsy of The Core Nation had to say: “At its core, a global product launch is actually a series of mini-launches that are specific to each market.” One-size fits all doesn’t really differentiate your product as well as one that speaks to the individual.

I have seen companies trying hard to find the least common denominator only to come up with a weak message that doesn’t really speak well to anyone.

Years ago, when micro-marketing first same into fashion, the technology wasn’t really available to do it justice.  it Now that the technology is at hand, some companies aren’t embracing it. Those companies that can speak their customer’s language will be the companies that succeed in the new global landscape.

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