Today in the DTC Marketing Blog, Richard Meyer made one of those observations that is so simple and so obvious that it just has to be true. And insightful. Writing in a post about the concept of including an 800 number for the FDA in drug as, Meyer made this observation:
"When starting any CRM program one of the key questions you have to ask is "What’s in it for my customers to start a relationship with my company?"
That, in a sentence, is what really defines RM.
When someone goes to the mailbox, or goes online, and instead of simply pushing an ad at them, you are asking them to respond somehow, it is simple human nature for them to ask themselves "Why should I do this?"
You are asking for their time, their attention, perhaps for some information.
It isn’t necessarily possible for you to deliver value right then and there, on the spot, although sometimes you can. As a reason for them to respond, you may provide them with information, or insight, or discounts.
More often, however, what you’re providing is the promise of value, what lawyers call an executory contract. "If you give me some information, I will provide you with value." And in any kind of RM, but particularly in pharma, you absolutely must deliver.
Ultimately, your customers are the ones who are calling the shots in this kind of project, because they are the ones defining value. This is a critical distinction. Value here really is in the eye of the beholder, and the more personalized and distinct what you deliver is, the more valuable it is to them.
Interestingly, one of the least valuable things you can provide for customers often is money — in the form of a discount, a rebate, a free sample or whatever. This is by no means a universal or hard-and-fast rule, but value is a subjective, interpersonal concept. What is truly valued may be something emotional, or inexpensive, or surprisingly simple. And further, the customers who do tend to respond to money — who can be bought, basically — are often fickle, or not inclined to be loyal.
The question, always, boils down to "Why should I?" The key to the whole enterprise lies in how you answer that question. Here’s a hint: "Because I want you to" is not the right answer.