PharmExec Blog

Pharma Marketers: Avoid the Tactical Scrum

by Al Topin

With the introduction of every new technology, tactic, or gimmick comes what I call a tactical scrum. It’s like watching young kids play their first game of T-ball or soccer. No matter how much instruction the coach gives on field position or game play, the second that ball is hit or kicked, the entire team runs toward it. The result is a scrum of little people all chasing the ball. TopinBlogImage

Which bring us to today’s pharma marketers.

Admittedly they’re a bit taller, but they do tend to form a tactical scrum around new technology, or as we often call it, the new shiny object. Years ago it was pop-up mailers, then e-mail programs, now almost anything digital, social, or content driven. Product managers often seem wired or instinctively driven to chase the new and different whether it aligns with their brand strategy or not. In spite of their marketing training and rational thinking, they are lured by the new and different to break ranks, leave their position, and run headlong toward the ball.

Now there’s nothing wrong with a shiny object—iPads were breakthrough and have shown to be  terrifically effective—as long as it supports a brand strategy, focuses on the target audience, and delivers the right message. Agencies, you need to make sure the shiny object you’re about to propose supports brand objectives. Clients, be careful you’re not craving that object just because it’s shiny or because the brand manager in the next office has one.

As the T-ball coach would say: cover your bases. Make sure you know the game and have a plan for when that ball comes to you. Only then should you be trying out a new trick play.

Al Topin is president at Topin & Associates. He can be reached at

This entry was posted in Advertising, Agency Insight, E-Media, Guest Blog, Marketing, People, Sales, social media, Strategy, Technology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

  • Categories

  • Meta