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Monday, July 18, 2016



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In order to ring the cash register (i.e., make a sale) we first have to trigger a customer behavior. This is Part B of “Critical Marketing Mistakes – ‘Bad’ Behaviors.” Part A covered “Bad” Behaviors. If you missed it click here:


Part B covers “Authentic” or good behaviors.


Authentic Behaviors

Every marketer should learn and practice authentic or, if you will permit us, “good” behaviors. Here is a listing of authentic behaviors and their meaning:

  • Adoption – This is about getting customers to begin using a product or service from a new category or class. It’s all about taking-up something that they hadn’t been doing or using before. For example, it could be getting consumers in China to begin using dental floss or mouthwash, with those who never used these products before. It could also be getting HCPs (healthcare practitioners) who treat ADHD in children to begin treating and prescribing medication for adults with ADHD. Or it could be getting surgeons to begin body sculpting for their bariatric patients whose significant weight loss has resulted in waves of sagging skin.

  • Switch/Convert – Virtually every marketer, particularly those in developed countries where market growth is slowing, flat or declining is familiar with switching behavior. This is about getting consumers and surgeons to switch their usage from a competitor’s product to your brand. As it relates to HCPs, it’s all about getting them to switch their prescribing behavior and choose your brand versus other competitive options.

While switching and conversion are interchangeable, we prefer the term “convert.” It suggests more than an episodic change to one that is more durable and, hopefully, permanent. Furthermore it suggests an epiphany of sort, as in a spiritual experience, and conjures the notion of creating brand evangelists.  Yeah, we like to convert prospects.

More worth noting regarding adoption and conversion: A patient who begins treatment for a new condition is adopting it. For example, if you are diagnosed with high levels of unhealthy cholesterol and the HCP prescribes statins and you comply with the HCP’s treatment then you have adopted it. On the other hand if the HCP prescribes a treatment for a newly diagnosed patient it is only adoption for that HCP if s/he has never treated for that condition. If s/he has treated for that condition then it is converting (or switching) from what s/he would have prescribed. Again, sticking with the aforementioned example, if the HCP had been prescribing Lipitor to newly diagnosed hyperlipidemia patients but instead begins prescribing Crestor in its stead to new patients then a switch has occurred.

So, what about going from one class to another class of products? This is a good question to ponder. Let’s say you have been using glasses and begin using contact lenses. Is this adoption or switching? For what it’s worth, we’d classify it as switching. Wearing glasses represents adoption of a visual correction device. Moving from glasses to contact lens would represent a switcheroo (or to use the proper term “switch”). While it may not seem like it, this is a big deal. It has all sorts of implications. For example, should messaging be directed against glasses or other contact lens products? Think about it!

  • Trade-Up or Upgrade – Either term is acceptable. Some prefer the term “upgrade” since it suggests better performance. Just try to keep it consistent in your organization to avoid confusion. Keep in mind that this is internally focused. It is about getting current customers to move from one of your products to a newer, improved version or product. This could be moving to a replacement product or next generation of products. The new product is usually premium priced, affords higher margins (or, better yet, both!) or replaces products losing patent protection or going out of production.

It is far less costly to retain rather than grow new users. This is a key behavior to keep customers from straying. It is particularly a priority with high market share brands whose marketers realize incremental value sales and profit growth from the trade-up. The automotive and medical device industries are prime examples where trade-ups are a priority behavior. In fact, I recently traded-up to a 2016 Cadillac, our seventh or so in the last 20-years.

There’s also a trade-up to a larger transaction size. It’s getting customers to purchase (and consume) more on each occasion. At one time a 6.5-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola was the basic serving. Then it went to 12-ounces and on to 16-ounces. We packaged Coke in larger sizes and drove consumers to them: 1-liter, 2-liter, and 3-liter. Whereas we used to purchase a 6-pack to take home to the family, today we purchase a case, or two. Our families aren’t getting bigger, just growing thirstier. Research shows that for many food and beverage categories the purchasing pattern drives consumption. If you purchase soft drinks weekly then you will consume what you have purchased for the home. If you move-up from purchasing a six-pack or two to a case then consumption will increase.

  • Adjunctive – This is a behavior favored by healthcare marketers. In its purest terms it is about getting HCPs to add-on to their current therapy for a given condition. It’s really about making a therapy more complete to deliver either better quality of efficacy and/or efficacy for additional symptoms of the condition. As it relates to the former, imagine for a moment a patient suffering from depression. The HCP prescribes an anti-depressive. However, the patient continues to suffer from unresolved depression. In comes Abilify. It’s used as adjunctive therapy to remedy the unresolved depression.

    However, again, it’s important to be clear if this is purely adjunctive or switching. The HCP has additional choices in treating a patient’s unresolved depression. S/he may titrate to the highest tolerated dose of the first line of therapy or switch to another anti-depressant. If the HCP has plans to do either but, instead, adds Abilify then in reality we have a switch (from what they would have done).

    In the later case, providing efficacy for additional symptoms, allergy treatment may provide a fruitful example. Let’s say the HCP recommends an OTC antihistamine for the relief of your seasonal allergy condition. However, the patient continues to suffer from nasal rhinitis. So the HCP adds an (adjunctive behavior) OTC or Rx nasal administered remedy. While the patient is feeling significantly better s/he continues to complain of itchy, watery eyes. Ah, an opportunity for another adjunct, an ocular allergy med!

Keep in mind that adjunctive therapy complements a treatment. It may not work effectively as a solo therapy to provide maximum relief for a given problem or cover the total spectrum of symptoms or contributing causes to a condition. It’s an additional measure to complete a therapy. Please don’t confuse labeling with behavior. A therapy may be approved as adjunctive because it is not sufficiently efficacious as a single agent and/or was clinically tested as adjunctive therapy.

  • Increase Utilization – This is about broader application and is also highly relevant in healthcare marketing. It’s about getting the HCP to treat more patients. Let’s assume that for every 10 patients a given HCP diagnoses with high cholesterol s/he only treats 4 with cholesterol lowering pharmaceutical agents. In this case, the marketer may want to increase utilization by 2 patients for a total of 6 (in a given period of time). Just by increasing utilization to 6 patients the marketer has generated incremental growth of 50%.

The analogous behavior in FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) is Frequency of Usage. This could be about getting consumers to use a given product in more ways than originally intended. Consider Arm & Hammer Baking Soda. The marketers encourage us to use it to satisfy a broad spectrum of needs from neutralizing unwanted food odors in our refrigerator to whitening our teeth. Or it could be about getting consumers to use a product for different occasions or day parts. An example of this is McDonald’s taking Denny’s lead to make breakfast available at any time of the day. Another example of day part usage to drive frequency would be Diet Coke, or for that matter Dr. Pepper, to encourage morning (breakfast) usage. Yes, this latter example is a bit extreme. But then we believe so was the Carefree brands trying to get women to wear a panty liner every day.

  • Frequency or Repeat Purchasing Rate – This is about getting customers to repurchase and increase their rate of purchasing. As an example, let’s say that consumers replace their toothbrushes every 7.8-month on average. However, wear tests demonstrate that toothbrushes lose their efficacy after just 3-months of usage. For the remaining 4.8 months of usage consumers are basically getting the brushing efficacy of a wet noodle (okay, a bit of an exaggeration but you get the point). In this case the behavior goal is to get consumers to purchase quarterly for the sake of their oral health, and the health of the business.

  • Compliance – This is about using the product as directed by labeling or an authority. In the healthcare world it is dosing as prescribed by the HCP. If the HCP prescribes that the patient take the medication BID (twice daily) with the morning and evening meal for 10-days then anything that deviates from this is non-compliance. Daily contact lens should be worn, well, daily. That is, one should not wear a daily contact lens for more than one day. The consumer is not to keep a daily lens s/he has inserted in the eye over the course of two days. If the marketers growth and sales model is built upon compliance but consumers use the same lens for 2.5-days on average then actual volume will be down some 60% from target.

  • Persistency – This is about sticking with a regimen over the term of a given condition or to achieve a particular goal. It’s a continuance of medication and it’s important in health care marketing. If a patient is prescribed an anti-hypertensive it is going to be for life. In this case persistency is taking the medication throughout the life of the patient. If the patient misses one-day then that’s non-compliance. However, if the patient stops taking the medication after a certain period of time (be it a month, a year, whatever) then it is a lack of persistency.

Next week we’ll issue Part C, the final installment of this article. It will cover:

  • What’s the Big Deal About Behaviors?
  • The Essential Questions
  • Boats & Helicopters


Best wishes,

Richard Czerniawski and Mike Maloney



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