I’ve just finished Seth Godin’s Purple Cow. Although the story is not new, it came to my knowledge recently when I decided to attend a marketing lecture promoted by ESADE here in my town in Seville, Spain.
To say it in few words, I’m a medical doctor specialized in Endocrinology and Diabetes slowly getting away from my comfort zone. I have written a couple of novels and I’m currently exploring the world outside the medical profession.
My first novel – not translated into the English language as yet – K.O.L. Líder de Opinión, depicted les liaisons dangereuses between medical doctors and Big Pharma. Much of what is written thereby is based upon my own experience. The story was welcome by some international academic authorities.
Having read Seth Godin’s book, one has in front the perfect manual of Big Pharma’s action to persuade and to operate in the global health business.
1. Differentiate yourself. Differentiate your products. Obtain the purple cow. Your product must be unique in this or that.
2. Forget old mass campaigning. That belongs to the past. Today, doctors are busy people and do not pay any attention.
3. Explore your customer – in this case the prescriber -. Know him, her. Know about his, her doubts, problems or anxieties.
4. Do not attack the mass – the centre of the Moore’s curve (see picture) -. You must address your messages to the left angle (“innovators”, those loving the problem, those having an otaku about the issue who will be delighted to use everything that is new and to communicate the others, assuming thereby the role of transmitters, freeing you from boring – and expensive – investments in pub).
5. Sustain the movement from the left to the centre in order to let your purple cow grow and grow until you find a new purple cow to delight innovators once again.
When we speak about drug marketing, the process is expensive and sometimes dangerous. We’re not dealing with a toy or a PC. Rather, it is the others’ health, supported by the others’ pocket. The equation becomes a little bit more complicated. Innovators are often paid to expand their message to early adopters. You have here the Key Opinion Leaders (International), who deliver the message in selected articles or congresses to Key Opinion Leaders (National or Regional), who will repeat the message to “early majority pragmatists”. In the end, the whole process is controlled for by the Big Pharma competition. A complex issue to be dealt in a simple post.
I’d like to propose a way to reverse the situation. I belong to a group of physicians for whom public health is an issue and the Public Health System a good idea. That is to say, a good product to be kept and to improve year after year. This is our “Purple Cow”. We think that this is by no means an old fashioned and boring product.
I think that Public Health Innovators should work together in the left angle of Moore’s curve targeting their messages to Public Health Early Adopters, who will accept this ideavirus, as much as it is not boring nor unacceptable. This body of thoughts and beliefs could be easily put into “early majority pragmatists” taking for example a message like this: “we’re dealing about important issues of human life, do not use expensive resources unless carefully considered.”
Action is possible in a comprehensive way. Social net provides a splendid chance to interact. It is time to understand what is really important and how we can defend it.