CL Takes SXSW - Day 3

Art of Negotiation, Product Development, Lessons from Retail Marketing and Mass Meditation

Our third day proved to be just as busy as the first few. We continued attending sessions around core ideas of storytelling, product development, AR/VR and had a deeper dive into experiential marketing.

At this halfway point in our time at SXSW, we can see correlations and connections between sessions we're attending now and what we've already heard. Some ideas reinforce others, other times there's a bit of a conflict in the ideas and theories. The different perspectives are welcome, as they push us to be open minded and think more critically about what is being shared.


How Healthcare Can Learn from Retail’s Crazy Collaboration Mania

SXSW Session:    

You can’t escape it! Wherever you look it seems that retail is in a frenzy over collaboration. Whether it’s Levi’s and 13 Witness or Adidas and Alexander Wang, retail is having a collaboration moment. Of course, you don’t have to tell that to panelists Rachel Arthur from The Current Global, Paul Dillinger from Levi Strauss, Aaron Levant from Ntwrk and Ferdinando Verderi from Johannes Leonardo. They are all at the forefront of the collaboration craze and argue that the real value of brand collaboration lies in its ability to elevate the profile of both brands, blending the best of what each has to offer and providing a unique experience to consumers in a way that a neither brand could accomplish on its own.   
So what does this mean for pharma? As new molecules are developed that build on existing treatments, or as new classes of drugs enter the marketplace to treat familiar disease states, pharma marketers have an enormous opportunity to leverage the brand equity that already exists for products and brands that are more familiar to HCPs and patients. Whether it’s co-branding an older treatment and something newer to market or lending a manufacturer’s branding to an otherwise unbranded campaign, this collaboration allows pharma marketers to reap the benefits of the brand equity they have already built to grow acceptance and loyalty for new brands, versus starting from the ground up. 
In the world of marketing (and especially in the world of pharma marketing) there are no shortcuts, but it never hurts to have a partner.


The Art of Negotiation Details

Link to Session:  

We all have to negotiate at some point in our lives whether it’s with coworkers, clients, or kids. Taking the anxiety away and learning how to do it well can be a powerful tool. Kyle Ali, Staffing Channels Associate Team Lead at Google led a session about interest based negotiation.

There are five central strategies to this type of negotiation:

  • Alternatives - what can you do without the consent of the other party
    • Enhance your best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA)b. Never agree to anything worse than your BATNA
    • Interests - positions are what people say they want, interests are why they want them.
  • Options - brainstorm options to meet interests. Create many of them!
    • Separate inventing options from deciding on them
  • Legitimacy - seek legitimate criteria to guide decision making
    • Legal precedent, industry practice, market prices, expert opinion
  • Commitments - make sure the commitments are practical, durable, and understood by all.

This was a new take on negotiation that made it possible for anyone to do it. It’s about creating options and thinking through what the other person is going to say. This method isn’t a take or leave it and it was refreshing to hear!

Kyle shared several resources if we were interested in learning more:


Research & Development

SXSW Session:   

Everyone loves to say innovation is something their teams do, but they often don’t have anything substantial to back that up. If we want to be true innovators, we have to start building for a world that doesn’t exist today through research and development. But that comes with adequate risk, so how can it be done with reliable effectiveness? 

A common mistake is focusing too much on designing the perfect solution rather than getting it in the hands of users in order to solicit feedback and correct course. Completing an MVP can take years; you want extreme utilization (usually through internal teams) as soon as you have a single, workable component. As a result, it becomes less about pinpointing investments based on predictive research, and more about responding to the iterative insights you gather from users. In other words, your R&D shouldn’t be a guessing game; it’s about ensuring you’re getting the feedback you need as quickly as possible to continue moving in the right direction. It’s important to remember what Darrell Huff once wrote, “If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything.” 

Some other tips:

  • Understand not only your own measures for success, but also your customers
  • Consider your customer’s customer
  • Don’t be afraid to follow research others have already proved out
  • Provide a safe cultural environment for contrarian points of view

Take a moment to meditate... don't forget the organic beer.

How do you get 2000 people at SXSW to meditate at the same time? Make it part of an experience. Former closerlooker Ari Swanson (now at Mosaic) led the team from Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold to create the Pure Golden Hour, a sunset mass meditation. The event was hosted at the Long Center for Performing Arts, a beautiful outdoor venue with amazing views of the Austin skyline. Beginning at sundown, the 10-15 minute meditation (I was so relaxed I didn't know how much time passed) was led by The Big Quiet, a group who organizes 'mass meditation for busy people'. The event continued with with acoustic performances by Cautious Clay, Bishop Biggs and Miguel, artists who support the idea that balance is needed in modern life. The evening ended with a DJ set and healthy snacks paired with organic beer.

As marketers, our job is to figure out how to engage with potential customers in an authentic and meaningful way. Beer, pharma, CPG, retail, many, many brands use this method to reach customers because creating an experience for people provides a greater likelihood they'll remember the brand in a positive way and repurchase it again.

Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold is targeting an audience interested in health and wellness, and in a festival full of experiential marketing, the Pure Golden Hour was a unique one. As pharma marketers, an event like this may be challenging to pull off. However the notion that a positive experience with a drug or a treatment still applies. If it's a 2nd or 3rd line product, can we make it easier to navigate filling the prescription by providing tools and resources for faster pre-authorization approvals? How about information and support for caregivers to help the patient stay on therapy or refill reminders for better adherence?


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