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Posts Tagged ‘medical device

Please, Back Away from the Controller.

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It’s about interest, not control.

It’s about interest, not control.

It’s not like you can just adopt this new channel, buy space and you’re good to go.

It’s more like learning to be a friend again. I described the equivalent of “winning the lottery” in a dialogue-based medical device marketing context, but Seth Godin takes the next step with his Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. Instead of focusing on the tools of social media we all find so interesting (or not), he posed the provocative question “Who is it we should be leading?” His question presupposes this inward-looking beginning point for any who care to begin dialogue: “What change am I passionate enough about to lead?”

I like that Godin helps me see that the coming dialogical world is much broader than today’s set of bloggy-twittery-searchable tools. The questions we ask when moving from monologue to dialogue have more to do with what we all care about together. Finding what we care about together is a necessary stop on the journey. And knowing what we care about together is a step beyond carefully controlling the conversation with fine-tuned messages.tribeimage-10062009

What we care about together as humans has always been different from the one-dimensional messages with which we’ve surrounded our product messages. The secret to dialogue is what we learned years ago when our first friend showed up that summer day: we look for common interests. We expect give and take, and a willingness to hear and try something new. Friendship is formed when we stop claiming to know all the answers. Inviting marketers to rethink friendship is a step toward dialogue and a step away from monologue. Inviting marketers to find their place of leadership within friendship and within dialogue is a step toward freeing them to be the leaders they secretly want to be. The tribe-formers we need them to be.

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Medtech Using Social Media #4: The Power of the Question

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Yes--what is your question?

Yes--what is your question?

A question changes everything. A question mark sets a thought on a pedestal in the street and invites comment. It says, “I don’t know the answer—do you?” When I teach, a question is one of my most powerful tools. With a question I ask for input while simultaneously implying “You’ve got something valuable to say and I want to hear it.” The best, most fruitful discussions happen when I present what I know and then invite students to contribute from their experience and thinking. Something alive often happens, something I could not plan for or even predict. Something that moves us all forward.

For marketers, the question is equally powerful. If we’re lucky, we’re in a team where we can ask questions openly rather than pretending to own all the answers. Our usual path to outward communication is to ask our questions in the (relatively) protected environs of conference rooms and among colleagues. Then we polish and hone the messages into one-way barbs to shoot out through our media channels. But what if the questions themselves were our communication points? What if we started with questions to our growing community of similarly-interested people, long before we ever started polishing messages for public consumption?

Once upon a time my team worked on promoting a new heart failure device. We identified a single main message that incorporated three strong benefits (based on market research) which became the core of our campaign. We tested our messages informally, received anecdotal feedback and pushed forward. Today, with the help of social media, that scenario might look like this: take the received market research, our questions and immediately begin dialogue. Proceed with message polishing and honing  even as the community dialogue continues. At some point the internal and external dialogues blend and the end result is something beyond what we could conceive on our own. Best of all, this new something already his mind-share in a community of interested people. And if you have a sales force, you know that mindshare is a key gear for turning sales.

 

Next Up: What would dialogue success look like?

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Photo credit: Colt Elementary PTO & JustHost.com

Medical Device Firms Using Social Media, Step #2.1: Curious People Make Better Conversation Partners

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I'm interesting? You're fascinating!

I'm interesting? You're fascinating!

Frenemies are talking—according to one medical-device insider—but mostly because the genie is out of the bottle.  What we need is a wave of curiosity to beset our organizations.

You know and love curious people: they are the ones who unearth some fact about you when in conversation, find it fascinating, and then probe your knowledge of it. And when anybody finds us fascinating—they are instantly fascinating themselves.

Seth Godin, in Tribes, describes the difference between a fundamentalist and a curious person. He wasn’t talking (only) about religion. A fundamentalist receives new information or experience and immediately compares it with established dogma with the intent to reject (or perhaps even approve). In contrast the curious person receives the new information or experience and immediately engages what they have learned with what they know, looking for areas of overlap and disagreement. The curious will also reject ideas, but not before engaging, understanding and even mentally giving the idea a test drive.

Bless the hiring managers who incorporate curious regulators and lawyers into these positions—people willing to explore a changing communication landscape even while respecting the letter of the law.

Can we resolve to test for curiosity before hiring?

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Photo credit: OpenPhoto / Sarah Klockars-Clauser

Written by kirkistan

September 25, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Medical Device Firms Using Social Media, Step #2: Make Nice with Your Frenemies

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Counter-intuitive: Build from the top down
Dialogue starts inside a corporation.

Swapping one-way messaging for dialogue in medical device marketing starts with a question. But “Who am I talking with?” is just the beginning. Conversation requires more than just a change of audience—it requires a reversal of communication style. Preparing for this change starts deep inside the protected medical device community. Marketers must talk with regulatory folks. Lawyers need to join the same discussion. It’s important that all the right people join the conversation so it steers clear of the legal and ethical issues different sectors of the medical device community are currently answering for.

Starting conversations with the right people has always been something of a tightrope walk: back when internal regulatory folks and lawyers were thought of as enemies of marketing, they were not invited to the discussion so as to quiet their nay saying—at least until the final review process. But those days are gone—and thankfully so—because the different disciplines will have the best discussion when they speak openly about the requirements they represent, but with the willingness to bend as much as possible to service their patients, physicians and clinicians.

The kind of conversations needed are far from adversarial. Marketing, regulatory and legal need to open new ground for discussion. Opening that new ground includes the goals and parameters of each disciplines. It also includes the rhetorical elements of conversation: the giving of an idea and the listening to what someone else says. It’s just regular, ordinary dialogue. And if it cannot happen inside a medical device company, can it really happen outside?

 

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Written by kirkistan

September 14, 2009 at 7:10 pm

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