What do Payer Marketing and Drinking Clubs have in Common?

Given our upcoming meeting with the client brand team who doesn’t believe in payer or organizational customer marketing, I’m working on a story to explain our managed markets strategy and why it works.

Franklyn’s Organizational Customer Marketing Strategy a Raging Success for Drinking Club

My drinking club

I’m the current President of a cultural club in NYC. And when I say “cultural club” I really mean “drinking club.” When I first took over, the group was fragmented and dysfunctional. We would host events and no one showed up. It was embarrassing standing there with a fake smile in an empty room.  And attendance was a leaky bucket. When people came, they didn’t come back.

Obviously I had a fixer-upper on my hands. My first priority was to plug the attrition hole. At the time, I thought it was because event participants didn’t have much fun. Conversations didn’t get far beyond, “Hello, my name is…” So forlorn.

My first solution was straight out of event planning 101. Throw down an ice-breaker, play a little game. And just like they are at POA meetings, it was a little awkward and contrived. The needle didn’t move much.

I had another idea, which I thought at the time was revolutionary except it wasn’t in hindsight. It occurred to me that people didn’t come to our events simply have fun, really. You can have a lot of fun in NYC at any time of the day or night on any street corner. My members longed for connection. For a community. For relationships. And the basis of any relationship is collaboration toward a common aim, whatever that aim might be.

So I put my members to work. I appointed a venue selection committee, I told a few people they were on the welcome wagon. We formed a beer committee. I advised each committee to get together on their own and plan how they were going to proceed.

Today we have over 600  members and our events always have waiting lists.

One afternoon not so long ago, I had a moment of clarity. It occurred to me that my club strategy wasn’t some great epiphany. It worked because it was actually borne out of our payer marketing strategy. I’m very consistent, it seems.

Franklyn’s Managed Market Strategy Closes the Loop

It is fairly inarguable at this point that collaboration toward a common aim leads to trusted relationships. And trusted relationships lead to tighter collaboration.

Everybody has a vested interest in the outcome, and the outcome is mutually beneficial. It’s a cycle; and pharmaceutical or device sales numbers sit in the middle of that cycle. When the cycle picks up speed, it becomes the wind beneath the wings of brand growth.

Formulary access, year after year, at a value-based price, doesn’t happen for account managers who simply show up every now and then with a sales pitch and a good rebate. Continued access and pull-through happen for account managers who can be counted on to collaboratively solve problems.

Where Does our Story Go from Here?

Assuming that our prospective client is not aghast at the idea of alcoholic beverage consumption, we could talk about two things:

  • Why payers or the c-suite of healthcare organizations matter.
  • Or, how we operationalize our “Solve not Sell” strategy.

Hopefully, the client team will see that pulling off said strategy takes extreme cunning.

So what do you think? A good start?

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