5 ways to avoid being sucked in by a "big idea"

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Be on the watch for the "big brand idea huckster"
Be on the watch for the "big brand idea huckster"

Listen for these 5 statements to recognize the biotech big brand idea huckster.

The truth is that you, as a biotech brand marketer, are vulnerable to the pitch of the “big idea.” You have a new therapy or device to launch, lots of challenges to solve, with generally smaller budgets than with a blockbuster, often in short order, and without much help.

You know you have to approach things a little differently than, say, big pharma would. So, you've got an open mind and a limited checkbook.

The big idea salesperson is confident and brash, promising to solve your problems with the stroke of one big initiative. Such initiatives take a hit-and-run tactical approach to what should be a brand strategy challenge.

And the salesperson is in it for the short-term benefit, so most likely he or she will be long gone by the time the ROI bill comes at the end.

Differentiating the big idea salesperson from someone with a suite of very good ideas can be accomplished by deciphering what each person has to say.

Be alert for these telltale approaches and future cliché phrases:

1. “Whoever you worked with before screwed this up.”

From mechanics to barbers, the refrain is the same. “Whoever [cut your hair, adjusted your carb, built your house, designed your website] did it all wrong,” they tell you. “Good thing for you I am here to save you. I can fix it all, but it's going to take some work.”

And the related comment:

2. “Everything you've been doing until now isn't working, isn't good enough.”

Isn't this what we try to avoid telling physicians? That whatever they used before stinks, and this way is better? That this product will now make them look like a pro, whereas before they looked like a schmoe?

I find that this approach tends to anger people in professional positions. It does seem to work for people buying motor oil, though.

3. “We've worked with experts to develop a whole new way to…”

Really? Do they work on staff, these experts? No? Oh, so you've engaged them on an exclusive project basis? Hmm, I see. But you have met them at least, right? Oh, I see, that is a nice book signed by the author. I can clearly see how you are an expert!

4. “We are the only ones taking this new proprietary, but proven approach.”

Uh, really? Can you share some of your proven results with me?

5. “Let me show you some examples of how this works: consumer brands like Coke and Apple use it all the time.”

So, how about biotech examples? Pharma? Healthcare-related? Ones you've actually worked on?

Be sure to use caution when faced with the biotech big brand idea huckster.

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