Tag Archives: Insight

“You’re Fired!”

Losing an account, by David Hunt

I’m proud of our account-retention rate. It shows we are dedicated to partnerships, progress and working together to create the perfect solution for each project. It’s because of this that it’s even more disappointing when things don’t work out. Earlier this year, we lost an important account. Most disappointingly, the client was right; we could and should have been better. The team have a track record of success and I confidently back them for the future. So what went wrong?

I believe the plan was flawed from the outset. Like all good agencies, we identified and challenged the issues. As a senior team, we should have been stronger in arguing the case, but how far do you go? The easy answer would be to refuse the remit. But would we be perceived as cherry picking briefs, stepping aside when the going gets tough, and lacking commitment to our partners? Often, refusing an opportunity can be more challenging than winning one.

The team was theoretically correct, without doubt. On paper we had experience, expertise and capacity, but having watched the England football team, I am acutely aware that it takes more than just talented individuals. Chemistry is a critical component; it’s often referred to with regards to the agency/client interface but I’d argue it is just as important internally. We should have changed the team sooner. We have over 200 experts to call upon. Whilst a change of personnel is often negatively perceived, there was clearly a time and a place here that I missed.

Who was first to discuss the problem? Brutally, not us. Whilst I’m sure that we’re not alone in failing to identify and publicise a critical issue, it is my biggest learning of 2015. I want to be the best CEO at recognising problems, alongside recognising strengths.

Despite our previous loss being over two years ago, I’m convinced that complacency did not play apart. That said, due to our Northern soul, our first reaction is to brush ourselves down and come back fighting. We learnt a huge amount from our recent internal review, and developed a clear action plan as part of our programme of continuing improvement. Whilst I do not want a repeat of the recent event, we’re determined to take positives from the experience. 

I recognise our strengths, but after 15 years in the agency, I’m sure I’m biased. As such, it was hugely reassuring to see the tremendous results of our independent client relationship audit where we asked 30 of our clients for their feedback.

  • 100% think that Havas Lynx are pretty responsive or very responsive
  • 100% would recommend Havas Lynx
  • 100% would envisage working together over the next twelve months

I’m sure we’ll lose other accounts, but certainly not by making the same mistakes. 

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Independent Client Relationship Audit

Client relations, by David Hunt

I am terrible at receiving critical feedback, even when I’m sure it is intended to be constructive. In my defence I witness the passion, commitment & expertise of our teams, and take responsibility for their endeavours. Regardless, I know there is always room for improvement and as such Havas Lynx recently commissioned an independent study into our client partnerships, weaknesses and strengths.

Overall, the results were very positive, with all participants having both a high opinion of us, and a high intention to continue to partner with us.

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The top-line results included:

  • 100% think that Havas Lynx are pretty or very responsive
  • 100% would recommend Havas Lynx
  • 100% would envisage working together over the next twelve months

An executive summary by the auditors can be reviewed here.

More importantly, where can we improve:

  • As expected, given the fiscal pressure across the industry, we need to improve our financial rigour. Not necessarily reduce costs, but better explain them at the outset, provide financial commentary throughout and overall increase simplicity & transparency.
  • We need to get better at saying, “No”. The industry is increasingly complex, and I’m determined we become the communications agency that the specialists want to work with, by recognising our limitations and acknowledging their expertise.
  • We need to improve our creative product, which I entirely agree with. We’ve already appointed Tom Richards as Chief Creative Officer, with further investment to follow. As always, our goal is to be the best and we will get there sooner than expected.

Finally, I’m very grateful for the time and insight, from the participants. We exist in a busy world, so it is good to know our partners are also committed to our programme of continual improvement.

Tip Jar

One World?

Maximising global efficiencies, by David Hunt

I’m incredibly fortunate to travel the world doing a job that I love. Five years ago it was the likes of Barcelona, Geneva & Milan, as I covered Europe. Today it is both the Northern & Southern Hemispheres, East & West. Typically we deliver academies & build expertise in social media, closed-loop marketing & integrated communications. My first day back to work in 2014 was in Osaka, being simultaneously translated as we discussed transforming field force interactions. (It is a really quite mind-boggling scenario when you stop to think.)

Beyond seeing the sights & sampling the local cuisine the different cultures, inside & outside the office, are fascinating. The insight it provides to shape global campaigns is invaluable.

The pharma industry is obsessed, rightly so, by closed-loop marketing. We believe in the value of personalised stories. At the same time we chase an increasingly global approach to communications. It’s a striking contradiction in policies. It represents an awkward balance of broad & narrow brush. It is also one I agree with, largely. But, I do think it lacks a subtlety. Are we one global community, a single market, the same the world over? Because on the surface, driven by geography, politics, religion we appear incredibly different. A campaign conceived in the US will not work in China. A Japanese campaign would be dismissed in Europe. South America emerged as the victors from Cannes Health Lions, but their ideas would be lost on some.

We certainly don’t need local campaigns and the necessary investment would be foolish. Cultural campaigns, however, would be an interesting concept, aligned through a consistent scientific story, that marries clinical data & patient benefits. Representing efficiencies & relevance, the solution would allow local markets to provide context, relevance & individual customer experiences.

I’ve learnt a huge amount on my travels, the most significant being humility & respect.

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Highlights from a decade of global travel in Digital Healthcare Communications

Global Healthcare Communications, By David Hunt

If you’re flown from Manchester to a far corner of the globe to lead a workshop and build digital expertise, you should be arriving with insight & expertise. You should be offering an opinion that counts, the room should be learning something new, and you must make a difference. In addition, without fail, every experience has also made a difference to me.

I arrived in Japan to develop expertise in digital communication. As lead facilitator it’s my duty to have the best case studies. That being said, it would have been impossible to top the work of Honda. They combined insight, innovation & cause to the benefit of their brand, customers, but ultimately society. On the 7th April 2011 Japan was struck by the tsunami. The devastation was catastrophic. The country desperately struggled to navigate communities & services around the area. In less than 24hrs, Honda had mapped working roads onto Google maps, allowing critical movement across the region. Inspired by this, my goal is to help big pharma demonstrate the same agility & conviction. For further information please watch the case study here.

Only recently I delivered a social academy in Scandinavia. It’s a region I have long admired for it’s innovation & ambition. In many ways the geography of the region implores a digital first approach, however the history & associated diversity, makes the whole endeavour far more complicated. As a region they will win. They will use digital communications, social media and technology to improve outcomes. At the heart of their success will be their culture, it inspires innovation. They are open to ideas, and encourage others. They explore the possibilities & lead with imagination, not rules. I’ve worked with a number of companies in the region, and enjoyed it every time.

We delivered our first true CLM initiative in 2008, I didn’t expect that, in just a few years, it would lead to CLM academies in Shanghai. I only hope the participants took the same value as I did. Being simultaneously translated is a unique experience, made more so with little or no feedback from the room. In the EU or US, the feedback is instant & rewarding – comforting, even easy, perhaps not always genuine. China is different. Every minute counts. The participants WANT knowledge, and it’s utterly inspiring. They’re not looking for occasional insight, but comprehensive detail they will employ religiously.

This Summer saw the inaugural Lions Health. As previously mentioned on this blog, there were a number of highlights. Of equal insight were the results of the awards. The overwhelming victors were from South America. Not only did they collect numerous awards, but there ideas were creatively outstanding & use of digital exceptional. We’re often guilty of assuming that the US or EU are the most technologically advanced. Perhaps our maturity and sophistication or rules & rigour actually stifle innovation & the improvements it can herald. In 2010 the Arab Spring used social media as a catalyst for seismic change. Motive & technology aligned. It re-affirms my belief in the power of morality & innovation. And as always, rewards travel & observation with learnings & insight.

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Closed-Loop Marketing is simply not difficult

Closed-Loop Marketing, by David Hunt
Part II, a roadmap to success

Please first read Part I, Start and therefore finish with insight

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It’s a well-trodden path, yet very few make it to the ambition – high value customer interactions that build long-term brand equity. What happens? Where does it all become too difficult? When do organisations default to the status-quo?

Below are five tips established through more than a decade’s experience of hits and misses (from which you tend to learn more, ask Google).

 

Is imagination more important than perspiration in the pursuit of CLM?
Of course not. It takes commitment, it takes expertise & it takes total belief across an organisation. But how do we ensure dedication? How do we engage exceptional talent? How do ensure buy-in? Through case studies – we’ve seen them. Through stats – we’ve heard them. Due to awards – big deal. You win by imagination, you win by inspiring your organisation, you win by conceptualising an experience that really will be exceptional.

Tip 1 – Lead with an idea, lead with a vision, lead with imagination.

 

“Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it.”
David Ogilvy
The smartest people know to surround themselves with knowledge & expertise. I’m often amazed at individuals appetite for adventure, their brazen embrace of the unknown, and utter conviction in succeeding where others fail. It’s even more surprising when their qualifications are at odds with their latest challenge. Find someone with the t-shirt, someone with the battle scars, someone who knows how to succeed in CLM. Work with an expert, someone who can realise the ambition & become a catalyst for your success.

Tip 2 – To be the best, you need to work with the best.

 

The more you put in, the less they need to
Today we need almost instant gratification. We are spoilt in our interactions, and accept nothing less than an exceptional experience. As such the field demands an intuitive, flexible & rapid interface. The more we invest, the more 1% improvements we drive, the more we will engage the field, build their confidence and improve their performance. The more we do, the less they have to.

Tip 3 – The field force are your consumers, they need a consumer digital experience and not a pharma digital experience.

 

All platforms are equal, but some are more equal than others
I have never heard: “We’re really pleased with our platform, it’s exceeded all of our expectations!” Equally, I’ve never heard someone describe their OS, office software or email package as exceeding their expectations. Bizarre that whilst we are ambivalent to bugs from software power houses like Apple, we expect flawless solutions from software service providers to pharma. I’m not saying we should expect shoddy work, just that perspective will ensure we focus our efforts most appropriately. It’s easy to identify flaws in a platform, and easy to blame. Be brave and focus on the real issues limiting success.

Tip 4 – Remember it’s just a platform, and only part of the answer.

 

Perfection is enemy the enemy of good
In a digital world the best we can hope for is #FinalForNow. There will always be something new on the horizon. Waiting & wondering, standing on the side, reserving judgement – that’s easy. Being bold, seizing the initiative, capitalising now – is much more difficult. Guaranteed, in less than 12 months there’ll be better hardware, better software, more developed philosophies. Also guaranteed, the company that acted will be the company that leads.

Tip 5 – Don’t wait for the next technology push, it will always come round the corner.

 

 

It’s not about knowing their shoe size. It’s about knowing what makes them tick.

Closed-loop marketing (CLM), by David Hunt
Part I: start, and therefore finish, with insight

My first experience of healthcare marketing, and indeed closed-loop marketing, was in 2004. Even then it was being presented as the ultimate sales tool – the silver bullet for customer engagement. Almost a decade later, the story remains the same. Truly bespoke experiences are as unique in their delivery as they are in their frequency.

I am fortunate enough to have worked on some amazing campaigns, with some amazing people. And with 10 years’ experience, I have come to realise that delivering a true closed-loop experience is not about the technology, it’s not about budget, it’s not even about expertise – it is about absolute commitment to the vision across an entire organisation. You need the full support of senior management, experienced marketers that truly understand their customers and products, an engaged field force looking for a competitive advantage AND a flexible IT infrastructure that is committed to dynamic innovation. It is only with complete dedication that an organisation can deliver a SUSTAINED, tailored experience.

Conversations often begin with technology – a ridiculous and bizarre starting-point. Technology is only the platform. It is the idea that truly counts. First we need to really understand our customers. In face-to-face interactions we each instinctively perceive their interest. We do this based on a reaction, we do not do this because they have spent 12 seconds digesting a piece of information.

Within CLM, we shouldn’t just be looking at page metrics. At best it is inconclusive, at worst it is misleading. Who led the interaction? What was the facial response? What was the real reaction? My wife and I recently had our first child. The use of customer relationship management systems by large superstores is both exceptional and well documented. As a result of our “tells” we received the right offers at the right times. It wasn’t because of a request on our part, it was because of an action observed on theirs. To deliver a true closed-loop marketing experience in healthcare, we need to design and study genuine interactions, interactions with meaning. The late Steve Jobs and his team afforded us a revolutionary piece of kit. It demands engagement, it ensures participation and if done right, it absolutely captures true reactions and true, actionable insights.

So how do we know what makes our customers tick? We typically default to traditional market research, which has both its values and challenges. Research of this nature is set-up to validate a story, it does not convey the nuances of our interactions. I believe in multi-disciplinary teams, and I believe in iterative product design. Led by the brand team, with valued input from the field and true digital creatives, we can create interactions that are worthwhile to the customer and loaded with insight for us. The customer tell. We can create a campaign designed around a conversation to support the field, support the business and, most importantly, to support the customer.

It is not always possible to augment traditional research with robust, integrated workshops and numerous prototypes, but if we want to deliver closed-loop marketing we need to do more than embed the technology, more than talk about the benefits, we need to start, and therefore finish, with insight.

Part II: roadmap to success

Part III: judging the impact