Don’t trap new marketing in old media

Say, you love the Velvet Underground. You don’t listen to Sweet Jane on repeat.
You want to hear something *like* it. New; but with that same raspy drone. How do you do that? For about 90 million people, the answer is Spotify.  Playlists are novel media for novel marketing.  We just happen to prove it in pharma.

You know, Spotifypotify, right? It curates two new songs every minute to bring you fresh music. But not just fresh. It brings you new music based on your existing tastes. And, it doesn’t suggest just one song.  It plays a whole stream of songs.  A playlist.

On Spotify, you define a playlist for your mood. You pick genres. You select artists.
It keeps the songs playing. As a listener, it’s your media. Sit back and listen. It’s easy.
Discovery happens for you. You’re happy. Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof.

Stop whistling that Pharrell Williams ditty. Hum a brooding part of Aqualung.
We’re about to go from music to science.

I work with healthcare marketers. They want doctors to prescribe their therapies.
The best marketers don’t sell scripts. They sell science .

Doctors know what they know. Say, diabetes. They want to know more about what’s new in diabetes. They’re busy. You need to make discovery happen for them. Think about how a playlist could change their game. And, yours.

You or your customers could define a playlist. About, say, diabetes. Select an author – or five. Choose sources they like. Ask for results from a certain clinical trial.

That playlist keeps the science coming. All of it is new. But it has that same raspy drone. It relates to what they need to know; but don’t know – yet.  That same playlist puts your stories in context. They will see that your diabetes drug also keeps heart risk in check.  More of your customers will see that. Even when they weren’t looking for it. Even before they knew they should look for it.

Marketers want new ideas. They want social. They want “native” content. What they really need is a playlist. But they fall back on ads in 1-to-many media.

Playlists are inherently better than 1-to-many media. They are personal. Like a radio station for you. That matches your mood. Let’s see iHeart Radio do that. A customer can build one. Your brand could make one. Or, an influencer. So, there’s that. A playlist learns. It gets better. It gets more people to engage as it plays.

We know this. We built a Spotify for doctors. It’s called feedkast. We can and they define playlists – called feeds. Those feeds roll along online and in apps. More than that, the best stories, arrive in emails. Just like Spotify, it delivers ongoing media. It’s been active for about six months. Doctors are engaging in large, growing numbers. That’s why more and more pharma brands use it. And, like Spotify, it learns what users want. So, it gets better at discovery.

Playlists are novel media for novel marketing. We just happen to prove it in pharma.

Charles was a media VC who turned to healthcare. He started watzan to make media for doctors as cool and as easy as Twitter, Spotify, or Apple News. Five years in and with two award-winning platforms, he’s having fun and coming up with new ideas.

3 thoughts on “Don’t trap new marketing in old media

  1. So exactly how is this different from WebMD which offers customized scientific information on a daily basic…to match the healthcare professional’s stated interests…and without the bias that usually comes with anything sponsored from pharma and its currently heavily tainted practices?

    Just asking!

    P.S.: I have no personal or professional interest in WebMD.

  2. Hi Bob – Glad to see you’re still throwing fastballs.

    There are three ways that this is different.

    WebMD’s content comes (nearly entirely) from WebMD. Our Spotify-like service brings content from multiple, trusted sources. So, if a doctor reads NEJM, the story about a clinical trial comes from the sources that matter.

    In music terms, it would be like saying, I subscribed to a service from Atlantic Records. So, all I get is Led Zeppelin. I mean that would be fine for some people (like me). But if you want some Stones, your service needs to be from Decca too.

    So, sourcing is one big difference.

    The second big thing is control.

    Doctors can create their own feed (playlist). That means they are in total control of what they see. WebMD curates their own content. The doctor has little to no control over what they see there.

    Lastly, almost all media comes with pharma advertising. From your years at CMI, you know this. Pharma doesn’t have any more control over our feedkast product than they have over WedMD’s content.

  3. Thanks for the response, but my personal and business experience…and that of my physician friends…doesn’t sync with your positions about WebMD.

    1. We find their sources reliable and reflective of the current state-of-the art for each topic we select.

    2. We select the therapeutic areas of interest for which material is offered. Information comes regularly within each selected area, and is often accompanied by current research data commentary by a researcher.

    3. If one uses an ad blocker, no ads come with the information.

    I spent many years working in pharma, and while I understand this approach won’t enthrall a brand manager or a corporate marketing executive, it’s not as “sexy,” but it works.

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