Rational Decision-Making….or not!

Insights category icon Insights
Strategy category icon Strategy

by Sandra | 28 Oct Read Time2 min

About the writer: Sandra Laird was a highly successful marketer working in various Brand Management roles at Abbott Laboratories before devoting herself to the field of brand analytics and in particular, impact resource measures of pharmaceutical brands. Sandra is a highly respected deep thinker with a keen eye for building brand value campaigns for our clients. Her title is Director of Medical Education and Market Access.

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If you are involved in marketing any brand…anywhere…the fantastic audio book, Alchemy, The Surprising Power of Ideas that Don’t Make Sense, by Rory Sutherland should be on your must read list.

Sutherland explores what it is that influences decision-making and provides countless examples of where buying decisions appear mad to the logical mind; that they only make sense if you employ psycho-logic. 

He argues that whilst we may post-rationalise decisions, writing a logic-based backstory, we are often deceiving ourselves.

Our customers are surrounded by a sea of data, a plethora of guidelines and an ocean of evidence. Do they therefore always make logical, evidence-based decisions? No, of course they don’t. They are consumers just like you and me. They are influenced by the same ‘feel good’ factors as you and me.

It’s up to us as marketeers to present our evidence in ways that transcend the logic and tap into the emotional. We mustn’t lose site of the power of a ‘good story’, a carefully crafted series of key messages and a value story that goes beyond the clinical evidence to the rational and emotional benefits. 

Sutherland asserts that if we rely solely on logical arguments, we are selling our brand short. We are failing to tap into the sub-conscious drivers of human behaviour. Don’t be that person!

The Value Proposition and securing the ‘right’ place in the treatment pathway!

In the UK at least there remains a significant challenge in preventing newer products being positioned late in the treatment pathway.  It’s arguably one of the biggest challenges we face as marketeers; you just need to look at the treatment of hypertension to know that!

The first challenge is of course trial design. Is the comparator needed to gain regulatory approval the ‘right’ comparator from a sales and marketing perspective? Let’s assume the answer is yes. Job done? Eh. No!

What are the points of difference? What value do the different stakeholders place on these points of difference? The answer may well be different for prescribers, payers and patients. Our challenge is to create a value story that weaves together the different value messages into a single, compelling offering that can be delivered consistently to all stakeholders. 

The value story has got to be focused, it’s got to be relevant and it’s has to present real value from the customer’s perspective. That is where it often goes wrong. Value propositions should not be a repository for every point of difference that the company would like to be relevant. Less is more. Really!

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