If it walks like a Lunch & Learn…

photo credit: www.employees-lawyer.com

photo credit: www.employees-lawyer.com

An old client with a new job at a new company asked me to come in to run a lunch & learn. Or, what I’m calling a lunch & learn. Officially, the meeting invite says “Capabilities Presentation.” And maybe it is.

The problem, from our biased perspective anyway, is that this group sees little value in a payer managed markets agency. They feel their brand AOR is more than up to any payer-directed projects. I’ve heard this before from specialized pharma, meaning brands that are included in DRG payments or medical reimbursements. Because providers are commonly seen as the primary decision-makers for these types of products, IDN & Payer decision-makers are viewed as influencers of mild importance. In other words, not worth a separate agency.

The prime directive of a normal capabilities presentation is, “Sell Franklyn, the Best IDN & Payer Marketing Agency Ever.” But in this case, we might be looking at a mission more like, “Sell the Value of Having an IDN & Payer Agency in the First Place.”

Is this a waste of our time?

Fifteen years ago, back when we worked with smaller businesses not necessarily in the healthcare space, I made a solemn vow. I had wasted massive amounts of time effectively offering free Entrepreneur 101 classes to unappreciative business owners. I swore that I would never take another meeting with anyone who did not believe in spending money on marketing in general. My bottom-line saw clearly the folly of needing to justify an entire discipline as a prerequisite to sell my service.

As Ian Altman says, “Those who are not a fit—we’ll call them non-prospects—pose a great danger to your business because they have the potential to suck in your energy and resources like a black hole.”

But maybe, this doesn’t qualify as a black hole…

In this particular case, the group certainly believes in marketing. They might even believe in IDN or payer marketing. They just don’t believe it’s a specialty. If this is true, then my job is not to provide general education, but to show that brand challenges are caused by payers in some way significant enough to warrant extended effort.

Then, I need to gain buy-in for my perspective on how the brand might overcome these challenges. And obviously, my perspective will include strategies that simply can’t be pulled off by an agency who doesn’t understand the our space like we understand our space.

Someone wish us good luck.

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