March 18, 2008
We have seen the future and it is… here.
I’d like to let you in on a little secret—I’ve just seen into the future. And I’ve got a room full of PMCQ witnesses to back me up. No, the aliens haven’t landed. It’s better than that. I’ve been grounded by a vision of the next economy by Elliott Ettenberg, veteran ad man and author of The Next Economy: Will You Know Where Your Customers Are? And to hear it from Elliott, most of us don’t. That’s because we’re too busy—stubborn if you will—to stray from conventional comfort lies. You know, like the one that groups cottage-loving gran and gramps into the same psychographic lifestyle segmentation as urban dwelling cousin Frank. Shuffleboard meets iShuffle. Bottom line? We’re measuring the wrong things. Our lines are crossed, blurred in many cases, and there’s a huge disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street. Wall Street would have us believe that the CEOs and CFOs of America’s largest corporations are leading the charge, while Main Street just tells it like it is: mom’s in charge. And so is small business. That’s who and what are driving the next economy. Not TSX or S&P. Mom is the CEO of North America. As is the new consumer. The product-savvy consumer emboldened by Internet research. In Ettenberg’s new economy, the buyer knows more than the seller. I’m guessing buyer beware is now buyer aware.
So exactly what will this new economy entail for health care? A silver lining, for starters. Health and personal care are exempt. But it doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods. We’re simply transitioning from old ways of thinking and doing to new marketing realities. From now on, Pharma needs to focus on wants, not needs, and redistribute the lion’s share of marketing budgets on its best customers in order to build relationships, not transactions. Most of all, Pharma needs to make money on selling, not buying. Not because customers matter more today than they did in the past, but because marketers can’t opt out of the next service-ruled economy.
It’s the future. It’s inevitable. It’s here. Now.