Saturday, March 1, 2014

Market segmentation for success

Marketing is all about strategy (direction of application of resources and efforts) and plodding in the direction of strategy.  Along the way, one has to take cues continuously and keep making decisions to ensure the results are in line with expectancies or matches the potential.  ROI (return on investment) and SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) need to be continuously applied - to ensure that marketing is viable and successful.

Brands have two vital dimensions: functional value and aspirational value.  Ideally, brand building through various communication avenues and other marketing approaches ought to build these two values of the brand (with the help of opinion builders too).  An interesting marketing campaign currently on, is the SUN IS GOOD campaign wherein sportspersons and high profile hobby sports people, both being opinion builders, are strengthening sporting behavior/sports participation in Bangaloreans - encouraging people to go out and play... for health and fun.  The use of opinion builders in this radio spot campaign (likes of Leander Paes the tennis player are supporting this campaign) who are endorsing this campaign, is giving a fillip to the campaign, adding to the functional value and aspirational value of this theme/event: play in the sun and sun is good!

Based on the marketing setup (and doing SWOT analysis), one can always ideate products and its promotion.  For instance, if you are a healthcare company which services patients, pharmacists, doctors and other end users: a viable idea can be BODY SPRAY FOR DIABETICS (and prediabetics) & people with certain medical conditions.

There are estimated 12 crore (120 million) prediabetics and diabetics in India.  This non-communicable lifestyle disease is increasingly being diagnosed in India.  Products for management of diabetes (hyperglycemia: high blood sugar) and diabetic complications are always in demand.  Diabetes causes various problems: increased sweating (can also happen due to low blood sugar in diabetics), skin allergies, friable skin ... Uncontrolled diabetes can cause a typical unpleasant body odour.  Antidepressants can cause bad body odour.  Thyroid disease (the new "epidemic") along with diabetes causes increased sweating and bad body smell.  Scientists have discovered acetone like smell in diabetic sweat and breath.  All this points to an emerging requirement, a need, a desire ... in diabetic consumers to have a product (body spray) that helps refresh body odour and boost confidence ... for the feel good factor.

There are two approaches to this marketing problem:

a) either promote existing body sprays to such special consumer segments (who have underlying medical conditions like diabetes, thyroid disease etc): however, it may blur the product imagery (for eg., Axe spray for diabetics...could cause a problem for the main promotional plank, theme and imagery of Axe, so it is not advisable).

b) formulate an exciting refreshing brand with positive imagery for such prospects suffering medical conditions ... who wish to feel good to overcome the effect of underlying medical problems.

The approach 'b' seems more appropriate, the product can be so formulated to include mild antiseptics like chlorhexidine or creosote along with good smelling ingredients and appropriately branded with sufficient marketing brand name potency: Smelgood is a nice interesting name?!  A body spray to boost feeling of well-being in diabetics/thyroid disease patients/subjects with fevers/menopausal women who suffer hot flashes and excessive sweating/people with other medical conditions. 

Any takers for this concept?  The market gap is there - waiting for the sagacious businessman who has:

a) capital
b) network to reach out to doctors (GPs, diabetes specialists, skin specialists, endocrinologists, OBG doctors...)
c) the ability to distribute the body spray to pharmacies and organize in-pharmacy promotions
d) competence to create and place creative & attractive communication material: in pharmacies and clinics
e) of course, access to production facilities...

Like any new product, the take-off will not happen overnight, the sale will get built up step-by-step as more and more endorsements, recommendations, prescriptions and word-of-mouth happens.  There is a scope... for the daring entrepreneur to capitalize on, improve the lives of people - make profits too!

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End quote:

The thing we fear most in organizations - fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances - are the primary sources of creativity: Margaret J Wheatley

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Recently a colleague requested me to provide some talking points for his speech on ENTREPRENEURSHIP, here are the points provided by me, which was widely appreciated:

Above picture from: here.
1)      entrepreneurship is a process of identifying and starting a business venture, sourcing and organizing the required resources and taking both the risks and rewards associated with the venture (from Wikipedia)

2)      An entrepreneurial approach is vital for successful society, because entrepreneurship creates competitiveness, disruptiveness, improvement in living standards, market penetration, jobs, value for society, and goods and services with value addition at competitive pricing

3)      Enhances knowledge oriented attitude in society

4)      Successful entrepreneurship begins by identifying target market and process for delivering value to the target market

5)      For eg., in the case of pharmaceutical and healthcare products, communication through medical representatives is addressed to potential prescribers and pharmacies (the target market)

6)      In case of prescription based products (which may be manufactured under drug license or food license), value should be delivered to the prescribers who will create demand for the promoted product through their prescriptions

7)      All in all, it means roping opinion builders is essential for successful marketing of the entrepreneurial venture/products (in case of intangible products, ensure there are tangible components)

8)      Opinion builders in case of nonprescription oriented products can include housewives, chefs, sportstars, filmstars and other influential people

9)      Blue ocean strategy is ideal in today’s context for entrepreneurial ventures: it essentially means you market unique products or you are a part of uncrowded and unique market segments.  For eg., electrolyte energy fruit drinks (caffeine free) in ready-to-drink, Tetra Pak packaging, for prescriber markets: this is a blue ocean strategy

10)  In case of me-too product markets, price, timely availability of product, and service delivery becomes all important competitive aspect

11)  Providing a compelling unique preposition is vital for a successful business venture

12)  For eg., success of Indian pharmaceutical industry is through arbitrage opportunity: low cost high quality generic drugs for global markets, this was the compelling USP

13)  Successful entrepreneurship requires an open mind and humility for adaptation and learning, particularly by listening to vendors, intermediaries and customers.  Also learn to read with attention business books to soak in business wisdom that will help your entrepreneurial working

14)  Entrepreneurship involves constant improvement to engage prospects and customers successfully

15)  Entrepreneurs should follow the basic rule:

Income or profit = Revenues – Expenses 

Try to improve revenues and keep expenses at minimum comfort level

16)  So keep accurate records of financial transactions (on real time basis, with proper formats), and prepare the financial statements like balance sheets, cash flow and profit and loss statement

17)  Learn to make presentations and improve communication (body language, written and oral)

18)  Make regular presentations to stakeholders on present status of enterprise and future plans/prospects, so that you can obtain inputs from them for improving business results (stakeholders include important customers, financial entities, associates, vendors, intermediaries etc), this is a constant confidence building process: everything is ultimately about confidence or absence of fear.  When you give confidence to customer, he will buy the product, when you give confidence to lender, he will give finance at a low level of interest

19)  Learn to negotiate and establish win-win relationships, so that you get a good deal when transacting

20)  Entrepreneurship is not a rocket science, it is more a matter of discipline, meticulousness and focus on outputs (such as customer satisfaction, sales etc)

21)  Get 360 degree feedback on yourself, employees and the firm so that areas for improvement can be identified

22)  Use the KRA (Key Result Area) approach on a routine basis for focused and progressive working

23)  Essence of entrepreneurship is creating assets through resource mobilization

24)  Successful business ventures follow a simple rule: 

Buy cheap, add value, improve perceived value and SELL DEAR! 

Value addition can come from keeping stock for selling at right time, modification to ingredients, packaging, communication etc. 

25)  Never burn bridges, you never know who will be of help!  Give respect and recognition to people, take respect and recognition in an assertive way

26)  Focus on financial aspects and do not get carried away by emotion, in judging or negotiating or decision making process, consider all alternatives and implications, remember when the chips are down, you are alone!

27)  Always remember entrepreneurship is calculated risk – NOT A GAMBLE.  Take informed decisions, knowledge is vital: bring facts to the table

28)  Analyze each issue with Edward De Bono multi-hat method: black for negative thinking, yellow for positive thinking, white for information oriented thinking, green for creative thinking, red for intuitive thinking and finally blue for organizing the thinking process (either individually or through the team): try to picture both the best case scenario and worst case scenario for taking appropriate decisions

29)  Always have team approach, not a single man show!  Teams give synergistic results.  Build a network of relationships of people who can help: associates, mentors, academic faculty etc

30)  Believe in give and take: this ensures longevity of relationships

31)  Business ventures need not run totally on your money: banks/lenders (such as venture capitalists, private equity investors, trusts etc) provide finance depending on your credibility, persuasive sophisticated communication, tautness of business plan and pleasing behavior

32)  Business plan should be comprehensive, covering target markets, the process for value delivery, invoicing details, payment collection system, etc.  Plan your business work and work your business plan, constantly fine tuning and improving the same (nothing is carved on stone!)

33) Never let your or team's morale down: ups and downs in business are common, focus on being responsible, honest and devoted to your entrepreneurial work, never let your enthusiasm whittle down, everything will pass on!  Learn to expect the unexpected!!

34) Use quantitative planning - analyse each rupee and paisa flow, understand market size and behaviour in both quantitative and qualitative paradigms

35) Learn to build brands and positive imagery (functional value and aspirational aspects of the brand)
36) Entrepreneurship is the positive management of leg-pulling, competitive one - upmanship and cut - throat behavior!  This can be done through self-defensive behavior, negotiating, influence and bargain: win-win relationship.

37)  Remember PQRST rule (given by Mr. Sushil Mantri founder MD of Mantri Developers): punctuality, quality, reliability, speed and transparency

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Leadership and training

There is a need for a new style of leadership in pharma India today!  In the 1990s, the picture was different.  The manager was mai baap!  Processes and policies be damned, keep the boss happy!!  However, now the change required is for collective, value based and process based leadership.  It is becoming more and more professional.

With the world becoming a global village, knowledge exploding thanks to the internet, and people becoming risk takers, more entrepreneurs are dotting the Indian pharma landscape.  It is no more a rocket science to run a pharma company.  Many traders are moving up the value chain to become marketers and manufacturers.  There is huge confidence in the pharma field.  Regional and subregional pharma companies are rising in the Indian pharma firmament.

Pharma success was often a result of give and take (trading spirit) especially with doctors (key opinion builders).  Today, every pharma company is game to this spirit of give and take.  Hence, leadership focus cannot produce adequate profitable results only through this quid pro quo attitude.  A more cerebral engagement is the need of the hour.  It is the era of innovation in pharma India - one has to be innovative, people friendly and motivational.  Indeed it is the era of training too, which provides competence - the foundation on which, innovation (novelty) occurs.


The purpose of leadership is to provide the means, motivation and a platform where ordinary people do extraordinary things.  Leadership should make people in the sphere of influence (employees, vendors, distributors, retailers, doctors, and other associates) willingly and with high involvement go about achieving the preset mission.  Leadership is not just about having a vision but the ability to make people actualize this vision, so people become a part of this collective vision.



The focus of training is to allign itself/trainees with leadership objectives.  Leaders need people, activities, market resources (vendors and other intermediaries) and other resources to attain the vision.  Thus, training modules bring out the vision, knowledge, skills and techniques needed for achievement of the mission.  When trainees are suitably empowered with these requirements, certainly allignment will occur, leading to organizational success.


A key factor of training is to invoke the intense desire to move in the direction of leadership requirement.  This will come through a co-operative attitude, and individual level concentration.  The intense desire to do things comes through education, inspiration, rewards, and punishments or fear of loss.  Motivation is a key trait that can be built through training programs and hence ensuring leadership achieves its objectives.


A key factor of achievement is emotional involvement, an environment rich with assertive discipline, yet balanced with caring and sharing is the cardinal requirement for pharma success.  Training through careful programs can bring out this emotional engagement for team building and bonding, this will be a prima donna force for co-ordinated purposeful working, resulting in mission achievement.

Upward mobility

Young India is restless and wants to progress.  There is abundant youthful energy in India, these young people want to achieve, and they are ready to take pains or go places for the same.  Training will equip this raw energy with a sense of direction and polish, skills and competence, so that there is upward mobility.  Leadership can create a climate of upward mobility through effective training programs so that organizational objectives are realised.


Hope is a powerful element for inducing action.  For a person walking in a desert, mirages of water provides hope, and he plods on hoping to land on the banks of an oasis, to satiate his parched throat and provide dates for his hungry stomach.  Training is a hope generating exercise for trainees.  Hope of improved skills that will give individual progress - drives trainees to engage with training programs.  Hope is a universal feeling for training programs.

Mindspace battles

Marketing is a mindspace warfare, we need mindshare for prescription share.  Training helps generate the right target detailing points in a MR/front line person, so that the detailing helps gain better mindshare and better sales results.

Consumption driven results

The lasting marketing results come through continuous increased consumption.  Marketing creates needs and delivers value to the prospects/prescribers/customers.  Training helps in this process of strengthening the consumption process, so that leadership realises the organizational vision.

Organisational work

The vast network called the organisation is performing a huge work, it is the organizational work: the organization creates outputs, which are recognized in the marketplace.

This huge body of work, is divided into several jobs: each job having performance parameters and outputs. The jobs are executed by people.  Training is the glue, which knits jobs, and ensure jobs are executed with skill and aplomb.  The net result is organizational work and output, which is upto desired standards.

Performance oriented culture

Today's India, including the pharma industry, is increasingly oriented towards a performance oriented culture. Training is all about trainee performance, and training catalyses the creation of a performance oriented culture.  Such a culture is starkly opposed to a perception oriented culture, which makes many organizations meet their Waterloo.  Hence, training enhances performance, and performance oriented organizational culture, thereby strengthening market leadership of the organization.

Thanks for reading this blogpost on the link between training and leadership.  Kindly scroll down and read all other posts, feel free to recommend this blog to your acquaintances!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Engrossing Yangon Yatra

Our Aug 2013 Yangon Yatra (journey) was very succcessful...Yangon (formerly Rangoon) is the new frontier for pharmaceutical and other marketers. No doubt, 60% of pharmaceutical market in Myanmar (formerly Burma) is already serviced by pharmaceutical companies from India, evidently there is still high growth potential available in this place. Company names like Ranbaxy, Sun, Lupin, Dr. Reddys (DRL), Apex etc are household names. The market in Burma is very fluid, not strictly regulated, hence, the OTX trend is strong. This means, along with doctor oriented promotion, in-pharmacy activity and advertisement promotion of certain category of products like analgesics, vitamins and minerals etc is done on bill boards, car windscreens, POP (point-of-purchase) material, on sun shades at various retail (pharma and non-pharma counters) locations etc.

Which is the special ingredient that helps one succeed?

To achieve a mission one has to get ENGROSSED … that is the trick. It is almost like meditation. When one is highly involved, the chance of an acceptable event is high (what it means, is that the event that occurs may not be as per expectations OR IT MAY BE BEYOND EXPECTATIONS, nevertheless the experienced event will be acceptable to all stakeholders).

Getting engrossed implies total involvement:

Working to achieve an objective is not just about IQ, special talent, great memory, qualifications, superior grasping power, good communication… it is actually about dedicated high involvement with a spirit of surrendering … verily getting ENGROSSED.  When one is engrossed, the result will be positive.

Engrossed behaviour is 24/7 and it includes the pain-staking preparation activity also

To experience a success event, one has to prepare well, sit with a pen and paper, imagine what will be required in forthcoming situations and organise the resources well in advance, with the help of a check list.  This preparation is very vital for a fluid final event.

Our Yangon Yatra was truly engrossing.  The results were good ... the experience thrilling ... the people of Yangon: lovely, friendly, simple, pacific and good.  Since there is good usage of English there is a homely feel. MINGALABA ( a Myanmarese greeting MAY AUSPICIOUSNESS FILL YOUR MOMENTS OF LIFE!)

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sun 'n' Strides

Above: first photo is of Mr. Dilip Shangvi, MD of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Mumbai and below that is the image of Strides Arcolab brand logo

Nothing succeeds like making a lot of money! 

The talk of pharma town are the two financial genius firms: Sun Pharmaceuticals and Strides Arcolabs group - while the former is always making headlines with its bold moves of acquisition and expanding its global footprint, the latter - Strides - is now in the news for its fast unique business model where the Strides group strengthens businesses and sells parts of the business for a fancy sum to retire its debts, and reinvest in other parts of its businesses to further strengthen them. 

The flavour of the season is Sun and Strides! Both make news with their big bang financial moves. While Sun buys up companies with a hefty appetite, Strides makes rapid expansion moves; on 1.3.2013 Strides made a huge bang through it's big ticket sale of Agila (a Strides group company) for Rs. 10,000/- crores to Mylan (a US generic company), the monies earned by Strides through this sale, will be used by the group for paying shareholders, retiring debts and investing in other businesses for improving their operations.

Both company are an interesting study of contrasts and similarities (my perceptions are part of the following analysis):
Sun Pharma
Growth through domestic to international
Growth from international to domestic
Inorganic and organic growth
Inorganic and organic growth
Growth through branded formulation marketing and generic marketing
Growth through contract manufacturing and then through own formulations marketing
Driven by passion and zeal of one person: a one man army: Mr. Dilip Shangvi
Driven by passion and zeal of Mr. Arun Kumar and team of professionals
Profit driven growth - silently pursueing knowledge oriented growth
Profit oriented growth, openly knowledge oriented
Niche market growth
Mass market growth

Customer relationship before brand equity
Corporate brand equity equally important (goes along with customer relationship)

Aggressive global professionalism
Aggressive global professionalism
Calculatedly low profile
As a matter fact image projection

Such is the stuff of legendary successes! Kudos to Sun and Strides - their successes are a feather in the cap for the Indian pharma and healthcare industry.  Please scroll down and read all other posts, kindly recommend this blog.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Robot Medical Representatives!

Being an employee is a challenge due to market uncertainties!  If machines can do a job reliably certainly investors would prefer machines to human employees!!  So what are the key attributes that employees can offer over machines (including robots)?  And what are the key traits that employees need to cultivate to make oneself and the employer firm succeed?  Here is a checklist:

1) Effectiveness: is a circumstance based thing, each doctor call can be a different experience, meeting the same doctor on each day will offer a different experience.  This uncertain nature requires taking rapid decisions at the moment based on the circumstance.  Hence, situation based effectiveness is the foremost quality of an employee, which will be valued by employers, and perhaps will take a long period for a robot to imbue.

2) Efficiency:  Robots are great at doing repetitive tasks with high efficiency, they will also do it diligently.  However, efficiency on the field will require inventiveness, to manage the moods of the doctor/pharmacist or boss/colleague, such efficiencies are still not in the ken of 'robot MRs'.

3) Tact:  Being tactful in workplace situations or dealing with prescribers/traders is tacit knowledge, programming the tactics and situational handling is still not possible!  Tact is knowing the level of integrity of a strategy or directive, which needs to be practiced in a situation, can robots be tactful and take a call on how much of a guideline to be implemented in a situation?!

4) Absence of "destroying power": There are various kinds of powers we see in practice - reward power, coercive power, expertise power, referrel or referent power, connection power and legitimate power.  However, there is one more power seen in firms, not yet mentioned in books of management - destroying power of employees/bosses.  This is the power with which people can sabotage or destroy various strategies, concepts, careers of colleagues etc due to their hidden agendas.  It can be done subtly or overtly.  This is one thing where robots may score over humans since they work as per programs, and not as per hidden agendas!!!  In any case, destroying power is a dangerous human phenomenon!

5) Punctuality: is a very valuable trait, makes a person dependable, robots may up the humans when it comes to showing on time!  So watch out, humans, plan and be punctual, why be late?

6) Involvement: is an emotional thing - which comes from inside and from an understanding of the situation, and also from empathy - can robots have involvement?  Tricky, robots will only do as programmed!

7) Relationship management and team play: this quality is not programmable, since values and principles differ from situation to situation.  Hence, humans will with all their frailities be required for field product promotion roles, robots cannot offer team play in situations, unless the situation is programmed, and in the marketplace one cannot expect programmed situations, only surprises jumping out of the box!

8) Casual versus professional conversational skills:  A typical field job requires conversational skills - not only on professional matters, but also other casual issues, so can a robot do this?  The blend of casual and professional talk is done in situ.

9) Reliability (trustworthiness): Robots will be as reliable as they are programmed and as long as the programs function without any glitches.  Humans deliver better on trust and faith, as long as the human is motivated enough. 

10) Knowledge hungry attitude: Being hungry for knowledge and having high absorptive capacity is a key to field success.  Can robots be programmed to be knowledge hungry and apply knowledge?!

11) Participative attitude:  To be successful in organizational life, a participative spirit (even in things one apparently dislikes) is a prerequisite.  Participation is situation based, and level of response is also situation based, so can robots be programmed to be participative?

12) Creative communication skills: the ability to send messages (verbal, non-verbal and written) depends on the event, mood of recipient and subjective factors, a robot programmed to deliver messages irrespective of prospects' mood will only annoy - RESULT: message delivered - but customer lost!!

13) Promptness (no procrastination or putting things off): Being proactive and prompt has its own strengths - this makes things happen and there is movement of things for the better, maybe robots will be better at being prompt, but humans too - if they are motivated enough.

14) Health and strength: are very vital attributes of employees, a nagging headache will spoil meeting participation, dental pain will prevent a MR from detailing ... Robots too need maintenance!!

15) Empathy, mood management and helping behaviour:  is a key for winning confidence of customers and colleagues.  If a MR understands needs of a doctor and offers help or a solution unasked for, a genuine help will always contribute to relationship building.  This understanding capacity can only be human, robots will require a lot of evolution!

16) Written and unwriten SOPs:  In an organization, there are several unwritten rules and written rules (or standard operating procedures), this is unique to the culture of the firm, all cannot be programmed, only understanding humans can smell them out and adapt!  Adaptabilty through learning is a human trait for survival, robots...?!

17) Practice of organizational living:  Being a part of an organizational web is not easy, there are cultural things to be learnt, these come from keen observation and self-absorption, so can robots learn organizational living?  Simple: in some organizations, you call people by first name, in others Sir/Madam or Mr. X - these qualities are not programmed, or programmable, they are meant to be learnt, it is a part of adaptation... for organizational living, learning to be a part of community is vital for career success.

18) Official and unofficial organogram: each organization has this, dotted lines connect people - these need to be observed and learnt, to get things done, understanding this organogram (written and unwritten) is important.

19) Primary business processes of the firm:  Each firm has a primary or core business process, such as for Sun Pharmaceuticals it is relationship management of allopathic specialists, in a knowledge driven approach.  One needs to understand such home truths of the employer firm.  Based on this primary business processes, which will not necessarily be completely written down, but will certainly be understandable, one needs to learn, adapt and allign to this.  Can robots do such complex things, without being programmed?

20) Self-defensiveness and presence of mind: life is but a process of defending oneself from potential or actual threats (which may be living or nonliving), threats have the potential to cause harm, loss and damage... knowledge and imagination is required to diagnose the immediate and future threats ... people who can defend oneself and the organization will be in demand!  So will robots come with self-defense solutions?

Robots depend on programs, humans on motivation.

Thanks for reading this blogpost, which provides a checklist of employee attributes, please scroll down and read other blogposts, and kindly do recommend this blog to your acquaintances, click on older posts, as and when required, when you read below.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Singapore Cycle

Recently (22.10.2012 TO 25.10.2012) - MANY THANKS TO MY EMPLOYERS, my family and self were in Singapore, this trip was a revelation to us, it was enjoyable, inspiring and educative, perhaps more impact making, than my earlier Germany and Switzerland visits.  Why?
At the Jurong Bird Park 

Because of these reasons -

a) IN SINGAPORE: We see among other things, disciplined and hard working people, conforming to laws of the nation - in letter and spirit !
b) Seeing is believing!  One can actually perceive the beneficial impact of corruption-free governance, this in fact, is the need of the hour in India!  (If India was corruption-free, India would have been a-la Singapore years back.  The bright spot in India is however, currently, Gujarat which is making rapid and progressive strides through a consistent development agenda.  The ex Chief Minister of Karnataka, Mr. S M Krishna, had some years back, advocated the Singapore model of development for Bangalore, that was truly progressive thinking!).
c) Singapore is about understanding the principle of work ethic in action.
d) A visit to Singapore, is experiencing the Singapore cycle, first-hand! (see below, please read in clockwise direction)

The Singapore cycle (my ideation) is a result of my travel and reflection, Singapore is an innovative nation with adaptive people, constantly ideating, creating a process for implementation of the idea, revisiting the process frequently (for continuous improvement and innovation), hence, resulting in more no. of ideas.  Thus, there is a lot of WIP (work-in-progress).  People at Singapore are constantly working on new projects and at the same time, ensuring the current completed projects are running efficiently and effectively.

The Singapore cycle can be effectively harnessed in pharmaceutical business working too.  The essential element of Singapore cycle is: continuously, honestly and tirelessly ideate and improve.

Seeing from the point-of-view of the consumer.  Empathy is the most predominant element of the Singapore cycle.  The tourist and citizen oriented processes are truly empathetic.  There are flyers and pamphlets kept at strategic points.  Maps, announcements and trained people help the tourist and common citizens reach their destinations.  Empathetic sign boards help people travel with ease.  Such approaches are evident at shows, and other public places, including at shopping centres.  Truly, there are consumer - centred processes working in Singapore.

This situation is the same with pharmaceutical marketing, where customer-centric working needs to be balanced with the limitations of business plans and resources.

Importance of tangible physical evidence!  Singaporeans are master marketers!  They provide lot of take-away literatures - beautifully printed and persuasively informative.  These literatures strengthen word-of-mouth and will certainly ignite interest among those who view the literatures when taken back home.  This not only strengthens Singapore's brand equity, it also creates potential tourist customers!  Added to this, the affordable Singapore souvenir items (eg., Merlion penstands, Merlion key chains, Merlion fridge magnets etc) inevitably purchased as gifts for people back home, works to strengthen Singapore's tourism market.  These are positive 'silent salesman' material for Singapore tourism!

The impact of such tangible physical evidence items truly brings home to the pharma marketer, the importance of creating useful, persuasive and attractive leave-behind items for doctors and pharmacists, in pharmaceutical marketing.

The feel-good factor through humour, hi-tech and hi-touch:  These three Hs (Humour, Hi-Tech and Hi-Touch) are artfully balanced at the tourist attractions of Singapore.  These three Hs can be seen in action, at the tantalizing shows in Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari (Creatures of the night) or Songs of the waves (Sentosa island):

- there is hi-tech (intelligent application of technology for superior consumer experiences)
- there is also hi-touch (there are plenty of people smiling, greeting and guiding, offering help, encouraging empathetically and professionally, making all the technology experiences people-friendly)
- there is also a lot of humour!  The experiences at the shows and other tourist attractions are designed at each step to delight and make you smile!  Singapore keeps you in good humour!

Such a three H approach is truly required in pharmaceutical marketing too, this will help deliver highly engaging customer experiences.

Sea lions in a show (Ocean atrium, Sentosa island): an engaging customer experience
Innovative display of healthcare products at a super market

Marketing ought to have a consumer-centric attitude, and user-centred approach, Singapore has mastered this approach.

Singapore's story is also a story of class and discipline.  Medical Representatives and pharma marketing personnel are also required to have class and ensure disciplined working.  Singapore has achieved class & discipline through careful placement of negative and positive reinforcers.  Fines and penalties for errant behaviour is the norm, while positive behaviour is amply rewarded!!

Singapore is truly a Mecca for Indians, if corporates send their employees to Singapore, or any layman Indian visits Singapore, he or she will truly understand what discipline means.  You just have to let your people wander about Singapore, visiting the various attractions and allowing them to generally soak in the atmosphere of Singapore.  The vibrations of honesty, discipline and progressive nature in Singapore are infectious, these vibrations will be well absorbed by visitors.  The change experience offered by Singapore to visitors will be positive - benefiting individuals and corporates.  Singapore is truly a Mecca for Indians.

The spots we visited are truly memorable: night safari, Singapore Flyer (a giant wheel that provides a great view of Singapore), Cable car at Singapore Sentosa island, Ocean atrium with the captivating dolphin show, laser show (Songs of the waves), images of Singapore show, Universal studios, Singapore zoo, Singapore river ride, Jurong Bird Park and Mustafa centre (shopping centre with a walk at Little India).

Singapore largely offers positive, family - centric, value based, top class (not low class or crass) experiences to visitors.  This is congruent to corporate needs too.  The evening parties at Singapore river banks are a great hit among corporates.  Many companies host river side evening and dinner parties for networking and team working for their employees.  In years to come, it is possible that Singapore will be a hot destination for the general tourist and corporate tourist too.

Once again through this blogpost: I accord my thanks to my employers for this Singapore visit.  

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