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G'day Paul. Interesting blog and I have an industry example of influence I would like to share. Years ago, I worked in the Pharmaceutical Industry in England. My company sold prescription medicines. We sold to Doctors because Doctors prescribed medicine. They were not the buyers though. Buyers were Pharmacists who dispensed the drugs that the Doctors prescribed. However, Pharmacists could only buy from Wholesalers who bought directly from my company. So who influenced the sale? Most Pharma companies spent an awful lot of $$$ targetting Doctors. However, despite the money thrown at them, Doctors regarded the Pharma Industry with a high degree of wariness (in most cases) and were difficult to influence. So where did the influence come from? Of course it is different for every individual G.P but a lot of the time it came from: 1. Local policy dictated to them by an authority (or even within their own practice), who offered cash incentives to help cut prescribing costs 2. Independant research carried out by the National Institute for Clininal Effectiveness (NICE) 3. "Thought Leaders". National subject authorities in their therapeutic field or Local Specialist Hospital Consultants who gave advice in written and verbal contact to G.P's. 4. Financial incentives offered by some companies where Doctors could sell Drugs directly (Dispensing Doctors). Note: TV- irrelevant. Social Media- irrelevant (and non existent at the time!). Radio- irrelevant. Newspapers- irrelevant. Journals- very influential, but as you mentioned, WHICH journal is very critical in terms of influencing power. This was 15 years ago but I don't believe things have changed greatly. The power of the written word still holds true in this industry and whilst I believe Social Media may enable greater potential for information, Doctors are still likely to keep on being influenced by the same channels as before. Lessons: 1.Social Media is just a channel with which you can access information more quickly and widely, but in itself is not necessarily an "influencer" in terms of buying decisions 2. Some industries can spend millions on Sales and Marketing yet this may not make the difference in generating increased sales. Understanding who influences your customer and how you can influence them does. 3. The world is changing and evolving in ways we cannot yet imagine. However, there are certain core principles which always underpin human behaviour: Trust, Knowledge, Learning. To influence we need to consider how we can change behaviours. Therefore we need to be able to gain trust, deliver knowledge (wisdom?) and enable learning. Not send a Sales Rep to a Medical Practice armed with freebies hoping to get a one minute discussion with an overworked G.P. Best wishes, Nick (@Paul: I remember speaking with you in 2001 when we were looking to establish a US presence. Great seing how "your stock" has grown since then mate!) is now following The Typepad Team
Aug 29, 2010