Baird’s CMC Announces World’s First Sexual & Reproductive Health Specialist Practice

reproductive health

Today, our partner Baird’s CMC is announcing the launch of the first global consultancy of its kind focused on sexual and reproductive health. It is an integrated practice that includes research, analysis, planning, consultancy and implementation expertise, anywhere in the world. If you are facing a challenge, dealing with a crisis, developing a new product or seeking to understand the potential political, social and regulatory implications of a policy change, Baird’s CMC offers the expertise to help you make informed decisions. Welcome to the dawning of a new era.

Here’s what you can expect when you talk to us

  • A different level of management consultancy that encompasses research, analysis planning and implementation
  • The ability to help you communicate about change
  • Resources anywhere (absolutely anywhere) you need them–our international team of SRH specialists live and work in more than 70 countries and on every continent
  • Serious credentials in sexual and reproductive health–our team includes former government health ministers, senior staff from multinational NGOs, corporate leadership from the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, and professional management consultants
  • State-of-the-art technology and systems to manage global teams and projects cost effectively

You may have a pressing need that requires serious expertise in sexual and reproductive health to help you navigate through a difficult situation. Or you might just want to learn more about what a truly world-class consultancy specialising in sexual and reproductive health can do for your organisation. Either way, please get in touch with us. If it has anything to do with sexual and reproductive health, we’re confident we can help.

Medicines access and affordability: a look forward to 2016

pharmaceuticalsWe think that there will be unparalleled attention in 2016 on the issues of access to advanced medicines and on how to pay for them. Past controversies have largely focussed on access in low and middle-income countries; this time Europe and North America will command at least as much attention. Ironically, the world’s richest and the poorest will face the same problem – who pays, for what, how and why?

The legacy of 2015

The background noise is high

Why 2016 will be busy

It will be difficult for anyone to track everything that is likely to happen in 2016

  • In late November 2015, the UN Secretary-General convened a high-level panel on health technology innovation and access. The only multi-national pharmaceutical company representative is Sir Andrew Witty of GSK. Dr Yusuf Hamied of Cipla also sits on the panel. Several stakeholders are notably absent: the IFPMA, the Patent Pool and the WHO, for example. Civil society groups that have been highly critical of the R&D-based pharmaceutical industry are strongly represented. The likely drivers of the panel are Brazil (represented by a former WTO ambassador and by a senior executive at a parastatal producer of biologicals and small molecules) and South Africa (represented by the Director-General of the country’s Department of Health). Both countries are committed to improving access to treatments for innovative medicines for NCDs

UNDP is providing the secretariat and several of the panel members served on an earlier UNDP Commission that was often hostile to pharmaceutical patents: one of its working papers said, “When voluntary licences are not forthcoming or refused or when the licences involve minimal technology transfer and capacity building, government and private entities can consider compulsory licensing alternatives, especially if there is an access/affordability issue. If the government has adopted easy-to-use compulsory licensing procedures, then private interests, including but not limited to generic producers, can take the initiative to promote competition”. (In fairness, the Commission tackled lots of thorny issues such as gay men in the Arab world or cultural practices and human rights and was never afraid to be forthright)

A report is due in June 2016 and will probably play out in the media at the beginning of the summer in the northern hemisphere – when newsrooms are dry. It will very likely be pitched as a poor countries versus rich countries issue, making for sensational headlines. The timing will give middle-income countries a chance to bring forward a General Assembly resolution based on the findings. There is talk of launching a “People’s Health Movement” during the UNGA. Some patient groups are concerned that the discourse may become overly ideological

  • The General Assembly will also receive a list of over 200 proposed indicators on progress towards the newly-adopted Sustainable Development Goals. This is due to be finalised by the March meeting of the UN Statistical Commission but some of the indicators may take longer. We should expect several to focus on non-communicable disease in lower and middle income countries. The SDGs themselves contain specific language on intellectual property and health (for example, speaking about “the right of developing countries to use to the full the provisions in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights regarding flexibilities to protect public health, and, in particular, provide access to medicines for all”). Many hope that the indicators will include ambitious targets on tobacco, abuse of alcohol and the promotion of unhealthy foods and beverages
  • After the Nairobi trade talks, the US Trade Representative  noted, that WTO members “will be freed to consider new approaches to pressing unresolved issues and begin evaluating new issues for the organization to consider” It will take experienced and informed in-country experts to understand what  civil society, media and politicians are doing in Brazil, China, India and other major developing economies
  • The rotating Presidency of the European Union is with The Netherlands until the end of June (and from July with Slovakia as part of the same group of three countries which co-ordinate their agendas). Dutch Health Minister, Edith Schippers has said that their Presidency will focus on European cooperation on drug prices and bringing innovative medicines to the EU market faster, and at affordable prices. Belgium and The Netherlands are experimenting with pooled procurement for orphan drugs. The European Haemophilia Consortium says that, “other Health Ministers displayed their interest in the programme and ….[may]  join the initiative after the pilot project.”
  • The Secretary General of the OECD wrote last year, “In early 2017, the OECD will be convening a meeting of OECD Ministers of Health in Paris to discuss how health systems can best adapt to meet the challenges of the future. At a time of rapidly evolving demand and scarce resources, the need for the OECD’s mission of better data, better analysis and better policies for better lives has never been greater.” This health ministers’ meeting has been the focus of intensive preparation work by some industry sectors but has been largely ignored by both the pharma industry and key civil society organisations although a central OECD task will be to consider, “ways of managing the use of …. often very expensive [pharmaceutical and new] technologies, at an appropriate cost”

GSK is the only R&D-based multinational pharma company represented at a high level on either the Secretary-General’s panel or on the Healthcare Working Group of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee of the OECD. It’s an excellent company and its presence indicates the depth of its thinking on these issues. However, its views on IP issues are often at variance with those of some other companies. For example, in a 2014 Chatham House paper on antimicrobial resistance, Kevin Outterson, an academic at Boston University,  wrote, “GlaxoSmithKline outlines a valuable framework for full delinkage [of R&D from sales]. The drugs are provided at marginal cost to payers (and perhaps lower to consumers at the point of care) with all company profits deriving from a very significant government-funded income stream.” Outterson points out that the GSK position on AMR is shared by many other European life science companies and some biotechs. But few U.S. companies would have presented that outline. The typical critique of GSK is sometimes unfair (this 2015 Forbes article gives a flavour of the genre) but GSK’s business model is much more diversified and somewhat lower risk than that of most of the rest of the industry. As the Forbes piece points out, GSK is also ready to try radical experiments to make innovative medicines affordable in middle-income countries.

How can we help?

We have put together a team which can help monitor every aspect of developments throughout this very busy year. We can also  help inform policy makers and policy influencers involved in each of the processes. Our existing clients, on a range of projects, include governments, multilateral organisations, multinational companies, NGOs, foundations and patient groups. We have over fifteen years work in policy and specialised quantitative market research on health and access issues. We have developed strategy and internal training plans for major foundations, governments and at least half of the biggest ten global pharmaceutical companies.

We have expert colleagues in every major centre of activity: Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, South Africa, the UK and the USA for example. Our new partnership in Geneva gives us top-level analysis of trade and global health issues. We also have experienced partners in emerging centres of activity on these issues such as Colombia and Indonesia.

Healthworks Collective: How Mobile Technologies Are Changing the Face of Medicine


It’s no secret that one of the biggest problems facing the American healthcare system is a growing shortfall in providers; especially primary care physicians. And while we may not like it, this trend shows no sign of reversing anytime soon. Can mobile health technologies help to address this problem? HealthWorks Collective has an excellent article on this question from Dr. John Henning, a primary care doctor and residency program director.

Read more of John’s article at HealthWorks Collective.

Primary Care and the Evolution of Healthcare: MedCity News

MedCity News Article on Primary Care and the Future of Healthcare

As primary care goes, so goes the U.S. healthcare system. I’ve often said that the challenges in the U.S. healthcare system, or many of them at least, could be addressed if the challenges facing primary care were fixed. This is a tall order. A great article in MedCity News explains how a deep understanding of primary care and it central role in healthcare reform can help us navigate the future of healthcare. Continue reading

Changing the Agency Business Model: Introducing Flexible Pricing


At MANA, we’re committed to change in an industry where the business model has remained the same for at least the past 75 years. As part of Baird’s CMC, we’re already active members of a global organization of communications management consultants who offer international organizations a depth of experience and a range of expertise that our competitors simply cannot match. Now, along with our Baird’s CMC colleagues and fellow shareholders Hyderus, we’re launching a new flexible pricing program. Mark Chataway, head of Hyderus, Co-Chairman of Baird’s CMC and my good friend for decades, made a great video to launch our new initiative. Check it out, and be sure to catch MANA’s very own commercial jetliner at the end of the video.

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Precision Medicine Still Waits for the “Aha” Moment

personalized_medicineThe precision medicine market is growing fast. But for some leading doctors, not fast enough. That’s the view of Dr. Eric Topol, one of the premier thought leaders in medicine and a true believer in the potential of precision medicine to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs.

In a recent article in MedCity News, Dr. Topol expresses his frustration that recent advances in genomics and precision medicine have not been embraced by the medical community as quickly as they should. According to Dr. Topol, one of the main reasons for this is the fact that “when physicians were trained, modern-day genomics was not part of the curriculum.” “I’m sad to say, it’s still not part of the curriculum – but it’s starting to pick up.”

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Business Storytelling: The Disruptors Shall Inherit the Earth

Disruptive_innovationAs a start up company, I’m always very interested in learning from others and doing things better, especially if it involves changing the business model. Disruptive innovation is all around us.

To me, disruption is beautiful. New companies, with entirely new innovations, have been upending industries throughout the history of the industrialized world. Automobiles put an  end to the horse and buggy industry and changed the world’s infrastructure forever. Computers gave birth to the information age and eventually put more processing power in people’s pockets than existed in the Apollo 13’s guidance computer. Apple reinvented the way music is purchased and listened to, and changed the entire music industry along the way.

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We Want Outside the Box Thinking. Please Fill in the Boxes on this RFP

Old-robotAgency RFPs are a Waste of Time. Here’s Why.

I think and write a lot about the power of disruptive change. And I am often amazed at how steeped in tradition my own industry can be. Strategic marketers talk a good game about disruption as a force for good in any given industry. Yet clients and agencies are still using outdated processes and practices that go back 50 years or more. Case in point: the dreaded Request for Proposal. When I talk about changing the agency business model, getting rid of the RFP is high on the list.

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Honey, I Shrunk the Pharmaceutical Industry

Image courtesy of

More news this week about the Incredible Shrinking U.S. Pharmaceutical Industry. Yesterday, BioPharma Dive ran a story titled “3 Major Trends Driving Layoffs in Biotech and Pharma.” 

Jobs in the U.S. pharmaceutical industry have been eliminated at an alarming rate. Consider the most recent numbers. Between 2009 and 2013–a five year period–at least 156,000 American jobs were eliminated from pharmaceutical companies. One thing we’ve definitely learned over more than two decades working in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries: just because something is good for shareholder return does not mean that it is healthy for the industry overall.

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A Pause to Reflect


Early this morning, we took a pause to head to Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Hobe Sound to reflect and enjoy nature. I find creative inspiration in lots of places. It can be a city, a natural setting, a great conversation with an old friend, or just spending some quiet time with my daughter (if you want to see real creativity, play with a 10 year old for a while). On this Memorial Day weekend, I am grateful for this beautiful country we live in, and I am thankful to those who gave their lives so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have.

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Communication and Content: Critical Ingredients for Patient Engagement

Doctor_patientPatient engagement is a hot topic as healthcare continues to be complex, and as technology increases the ability of medical practices to remain connected to their patients. In simple terms, patient engagement is about creating interventions that influence patient behavior and encourage positive changes (such as better diet, more exercise, quitting smoking) that lead to improved outcomes, better patient care, and lower costs. This is the “triple aim” of healthcare.

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Accelerating Precision Medicine? Elementary My Dear Watson

Big-DataOne of my favorite life sciences industry media channels, BioPharma Dive, had a story this week about a new collaboration between IBM’s Watson Health division and 14 major oncology centers nationwide. The alliance is focused on bringing unprecedented analytics technology to cancer genomics.

The potential of this kind of collaboration on the growth of precision medicine, and its impact on the oncology market is exciting. Watson isn’t just for beating humans at Jeopardy!  It is now a core part of IBMs strategic vision in a number of different markets, including life sciences. Continue reading

The mHealth Market: 43% Growth Through 2019

mhealthThe mobile health market is hot. Consumer driven healthcare, an aging population, the proliferation of smart devices and greater connectivity than ever before have created the “perfect storm” where mhealth and technology driven diagnostic services are experiencing explosive growth.

The global mhealth and diagnostic medical device market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 43.3% between 2013 and 2019. That’s not just hot, that’s muy caliente.

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Capacity Building and Training: Why it Matters

Wizard_of_OzThere’s a wonderful scene in the movie classic “The Wizard of Oz” where Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Lion, the Tin Man and Toto finally get in to see the Wizard. They are terrified. Fire shoots up into the air, smoke billows, and a booming voice asks them why they dare to approach the great Wizard of Oz. Then Toto pulls back a curtain, revealing that the Wizard is, in fact, just a normal man, creating an illusion.

When I think about capacity building and training, this scene comes to mind. Capacity building in communications is simply about helping clients better understand a strategic challenge, and helping them to train their internal teams to take on communications issues that they don’t currently have the expertise or the resources to manage. Continue reading

Scientific Message Mapping: a Pillar of Strategy


A few weeks ago, I published a blog about content marketing and publication planning. The gist of it was that the science of content marketing as we practice it today includes a lot of similar principles and practices to creating an effective publication strategy for the development of a drug, biologic, diagnostic or medical device.

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Is This the Most Powerful Clinical Research Tool Ever Invented?

iPhoneMuch has been written over the past few months about Apple ResearchKit and its potential to completely revolutionize R&D in the life sciences industry. The idea is simple. And it got me thinking; is the iPhone the most powerful clinical research tool ever invented?

Apple’s ResearchKit uses an open source technology framework to allow research institutions running clinical trials to design apps that tap into the iPhone’s many sensors to collect and send data. With ResearchKit, the iPhone becomes a clincial research tool that can measure vital signs, share patient-reported outcomes, and harvest information. The technology will enable people to opt in to clinical trials from anywhere in the world. The iPhone also then becomes a powerful diagnostic tool that will enable vital information to be shared with physicians, hospitals, health centers, and more. This is, in my opinion, a new frontier for mHealth; one that is both exciting and thought provoking at the same time. Apple ResearchKit has the potential to transform entire industries including outsourced clinical research, diagnostics and drug development. But it is very early days.

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Strategic Communications Can’t Fix Bad Leadership


This morning I watched the news with dismay as I learned about Rolling Stone magazine’s apparently false story about the rape of a student at the University of Virginia (UVA). In a 9,000 word article published in November 2014 entitled “A Rape on Campus,” a UVA student, identified in the article by the fictional name of “Jackie” to protect her real identity, alleged that she was the victim of a vicious gang rape at a campus fraternity house. After investigating the case, police in Charlottesville, Virginia could find no evidence that a rape had taken place. Upon further investigation it was discovered that the reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, did not talk to any of the students allegedly involved in the rape before publishing the story. Rolling Stone retracted the story, apologized, and published an independent report by the Columbia School of Journalism that detailed where the magazine had gone wrong in developing this story. But the magazine also blamed “Jackie” for manipulating the magazine’s reporting process, and it also stated that none of the editors or reporters involved in the false story would lose their jobs. Continue reading

Content Marketing and Publication Planning: Two Peas in the Same Pod


Everybody in marketing today knows that Content Marketing has become central to reaching audiences across multiple channels and platforms. That is because it is comprehensive, strategic and multidisciplinary. But despite what some communications agencies might be saying, it certainly isn’t new. In fact, Content marketing has been around since the 1800’s. With the advent of digital, and the proliferation of social media, what is new is that there are more channels than ever before to market content.

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Pharmaceutical Companies and mHealth: Where are the Opportunities?

mHealthMobile health, digital health and big data analytics are real growth areas, impacting all aspects of the healthcare ecosystem and changing how we deliver healthcare, manage our individual health, pay for services and access health related information, among other things. But where do pharmaceutical companies fit into the equation, and how can the pharmaceutical industry benefit from the revolution happening in mHealth?

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Cool Facts About Big Data in Healthcare



We are at a tipping point in the developed world where our ability to generate, analyze, interpret and act upon data is transforming multiple industries, governments and societies. Big Data is big business. In healthcare, Big Data holds enormous promise, and we’re already seeing its impact in areas such as precision medicine, biopharmaceutical R&D productivity, mobile health, telemedicine and more.

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Telehealth and the Internet of Things

internet-of-thingsI recently had a very interesting conversation with a telehealth thought leader. We discussed the amazing changes taking place in healthcare in the United States, and the key role that telehealth is going to play in the future. We also talked about the importance of the Internet of Things and healthcare. 

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Getting Past the Mobile Health Hype

Technologymicroprocessor-519144-editedLately I’ve been reading a lot about mobile health, and the mHealth market. Some of the discussion is focused on mHealth being overhyped. It seems that in the worlds of science and technology, there is a tendency to brand whatever is deemed the “next new thing” as being over hyped. While I understand this (after all, “experts” and news organizations need something to say), I can’t say that I agree with their assessment.

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McDonald’s Looks to Corporate Storytelling for the Secret Sauce


Recently, the New York Times ran an excellent story about McDonald’s, and its quest to redefine itself in the face of changing consumer tastes, damage to its corporate reputation, and debate about the future direction of the company. Unlike straightforward news stories about management changes–McDonald’s recently changed its CEO–this NYT feature story really looks at McDonald’s as a company struggling to revise its corporate narrative. It shows just how important corporate storytelling is, and how it can define everything that a company does–from its products and services, to the executives it hires, how it wants to be perceived by customers–everything.

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Telemedicine Marketing Strategies: Building Thought Leadership


Building thought leadership is an effective strategic tool for companies that are focused on providing innovative products and services. In life sciences, healthcare and medical technology-related industries, thought leadership can be a critical part of differentiating yourself and establishing competitive advantage. Telemedicine is a great example of an area where establishing thought leadership can make a real difference for companies.

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BMS Acqusition Strengthens its Position as a Global Oncology Leader

mergers-and-acquisitionsEarlier this week, Bristol-Myers Squibb signaled its continued focus on becoming the world’s most successful specialty pharmaceutical company, and a global oncology leader when it announced the acquisition of Flexus Biosciences for up to $1.25 billion, along with a $339 million research agreement with Rigel Pharmaceuticals.

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More Pharmaceutical Industry Consolidation: Thinning out the Middle

Pills_and_tablets-439975-editedSo far this year there has been a lot in the news about M&A activity within the pharmaceutical industry, and lately the coverage seems to be about what’s happening with mid-tier companies, or specialty pharmaceutical companies. These companies are by no means small, but they aren’t on the same level as the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies. And they tend to be focused in markets where they have particular strengths.

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Strategic Positioning for Healthcare Organizations

Strategic_planningIn my work with global pharmaceutical, diagnostics and medical device companies, I am often called upon to help clients struggling to develop their strategic positioning. Sometimes my clients have a well defined, systematic and robust approach to developing their positioning and building their plans, and they just need help going through the process. But sometimes, more often with smaller organizations and start-ups, they don’t. Sometimes companies really need help creating the process first, and then going through that process to develop their plan.

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Never Underestimate the Power of Humor in Content Marketing


Source: Buzzfeed

Today there was news about a viral video of president Obama on Buzzfeed. The video is very funny, and the message is about enrolling in a healthcare plan. 

This blog has nothing to do with politics. Whether you support our current president our not is entirely your business. We are very interested in corporate storytelling and content marketing however, and this video is an excellent example of the power of humor in storytelling. As the leader of a country or an organization, having a sense of humor about yourself, even being able to use self deprecating humor in the right way, can be an extremely effective tool in marketing. And let’s not be naive. Our presidents have always needed to be very good at selling their ideas and programs to the American people. In other words, they’ve always needed to be good marketers and storytellers.

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Precision Medicine or Personalized Medicine: What’s in a Name?


Recently there has been a lot of news about Precision Medicine, from president Obama’s announcement of a national Precision Medicine Initiative during his State of the Union address on January 30th, to the more recent announcement from the United Kingdom’s government innovation agency that it was launching a Precision Medicine Catapult (pun intended)–an initiative designed to accelerate the development of precision medicine and make the UK the ideal place to develop and launch precision medicine technologies.

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U.S. Pharma Industry Evolution


Today’s news about Pfizer’s $17 billion deal to acquire Hospira, a leading generic injectibles and biosimilars company, shows some of the tectonic shifts taking place in the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. This is a big deal for a number of reasons. It demonstrates where some of the biggest growth opportunities are for pharmaceutical companies; hospital products, injectibles and biosimilars, which are generic copies of biological therapies. With an estimated $100 billion in biotech drugs losing patent protection in the next five to ten years, biosimilars represent a huge opportunity for pharma.

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Telemedicine Market Growth

Telemedicine is one of the fastest growing sectors in healthcare. The telemedicine market is doubling and tripling in size, depending upon which segments you look at and the sources of those numbers. The point is, this area of healthcare is hot, and only getting hotter as more attention turns to improving cost effectiveness and alternative care delivery models.

Over the past few months, we’ve been enjoying ourselves with infographics. Having fun creating them, sharing them, and using them in our social media outreach. We took a look at some of the impressive numbers showing the growth of telemedicine. Here they are: Continue reading

AstraZeneca Doubles Down on Personalized Medicine


This week, AstraZeneca made a major announcement about its commitment to personalized medicine. AstraZeneca announced that it had established four research agreements to develop new “genetic scissors” technology that promises to allow the development of more effective and precisely targeted treatments. This is another step forward and further evidence that “precision medicine,” as president Obama called it in his recent State of the Union address, is seen as the future of drug development and medical progress. It is also further proof that global leaders in the pharma industry are fully embracing personalized medicine. Continue reading

The ABC’s of an Effective Content Marketing Strategy


Content marketing uses a multitude of skills, capabilities and services across multiple media formats to deliver consistent, useful information and messages to all of a company’s target audiences. While that may sound complicated, in practice, it’s actually pretty straightforward. Effective content marketing is more about planning and doing some hard work, over an extended period of time, while ensuring consistency and coordination of messaging by audience. Creating your story, designing a powerful narrative arc, and telling your story to your targeted audiences in ways that make an impact–this is where the magic happens. And while every story is different, and no two strategies are the same, there is a strong underlying philosophy that I think should underpin every great content marketing strategy. It is all about the A, B, C’s.

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The Personalized Medicine Market in 2015

Last night, as part of his State of the Union address, President Obama called for a national initiative focused on precision medicine. Precision medicine, also known as personalized medicine, is one of the fastest growing segments in healthcare, with enormous potential to increase the efficiency of our healthcare system, reduce costs, eliminate waste and improve patient outcomes. With that in mind, we decided to take a look at some of the numbers related to the growth of personalized medicine, and see what story they tell about the personalized medicine market in 2015.

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Changing the Agency Business Model-Continued


I’m often asked to speak and write about issues impacting the agency business model. The fact is, most communications companies in the agency business are operating with a business model that dates back to the 1920’s. While there have been incredible changes in both technology and media, the way that agencies are structured, and the way that many of them do business, hasn’t really seen much in the way of innovation. Continue reading

Constructive Convergence: Pharmaceutical Companies and Mobile Health

Last week, the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) convened in Las Vegas. With 170,000 attendees and approximately 3,600 exhibitors, CES is one of the largest industry conferences in the world. CES is where new gadgets of all kinds are introduced to the world, from phones to drones to in-car technologies, and of course telemedicine and mobile health technologies.

Amid the seemingly endless stream of news coming out before, during and after CES was one announcement in particular that really caught my eye. Qualcomm, a global technology giant, announced a collaboration with Novartis to provide mobile technologies designed to enhance the efficiency and productivity of Novartis clinical trial programs and improve the experience of trial participants. This partnership is a key component in Novartis’s “Clinical Trials of the Future” program.

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Map Your Content for a Successful Content Marketing Strategy


Crikey. It’s hard to believe that another year is coming to a close. This year has been a great one for us, and I hope that for all of our friends, clients and colleagues it has been just as good. MANA is now firmly established, serving clients in multiple innovation-focused industries, and working hard to change the agency business model. And our work is just getting started.

This time of year has always been my favorite. Probably because it is always filled with optimism. As we plan for the year ahead, we look forward to new strategic directions, new programs and new clients. And for the clients we work with who are focused on content marketing, this time of year is the time to engage in content mapping for the year ahead. Continue reading

Top 10 Reasons to Stop Writing Blogs with Titles Like “Top 10 Reasons”


Like all good content marketers, writing is at the core of what we do at MANA. And as somebody who has been blogging consistently for around ten years now, I’ve observed and learned a great deal. I read blogs–all kinds of blogs–voraciously. How else can you improve your own work? And while there are many very good blogs out there, sadly I think there are also more than a few very bad ones.

So, as the holiday festivities begin to kick in here at MANA HQ and the kiddies get ready for a visit from the fat man in a red suit, I thought I would take a break from the usual seriousness to espouse on a pet peeve of mine.

With tongue firmly in cheek, here goes.

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Looking for a Healthcare Marketing Firm? Versatility is the Key


Darren tries in vain to explain content marketing to a highly suspicious Larry Tate.

Over the past few months, we’ve been writing a lot about the pharmaceutical industry, life sciences marketing, and the agency business model. And we’ve published what we believe to be the definitive guide for healthcare marketers in 2015. What I’d like to talk about now is, in light of the lightening fast changes taking place in healthcare, what should clients be looking for when hiring a marketing firm?

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Personalized Medicine and a Cure for Cancer


This week we had a double dose of news about the fight against cancer. And there is more to come, as two major medical conferences take place almost simultaneously. Leading cancer doctors, researchers and members of the life sciences community are excited about the possibilities of immunotherapy in the treatment of cancer. Immunotherapy, where the body’s own immune system is enlisted to fight cancer, is an example of the kinds of advances being made in personalized medicine.

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More US Pharmaceutical Industry Downsizing

The U.S. pharmaceutical industry has taken some pretty severe hits over the past decade, and recent news suggests that it isn’t over yet. On December 3rd,  GlaxoSmithKline is expected to announce hundreds of job cuts in the United States, including jobs at GSK’s Philadelphia and Research Triangle Park locations. Continue reading

MANA 2015 Healthcare Marketing Report


Healthcare in the United States is in a transformational period. The Affordable Care Act, an explosion in new medical technologies, and the emergence of personalized medicine as a new model for healthcare delivery are all contributing to massive changes. In our free report, written specifically for those of us working in healthcare marketing, we take a look at some of these areas to identify what healthcare marketers will be facing in 2015.

We are very passionate about the industries and the clients we serve, and we believe that it is an incredibly challenging and exciting time for healthcare marketers as the U.S. healthcare system goes through a period of unprecedented change.

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Personalized Medicine: Reimbursement and Marketing Challenges

personalized_medicineWe are undoubtedly in the midst of major change in how healthcare is delivered, measured and paid for. As with all periods of great change, there are going to be winners and losers. One area I’ve been bullish about for a few years now is diagnostics and personalized medicine. As the US healthcare system moves from a volume based model to a value and outcomes based model, the ability to deliver the right treatment to the right patient at the right time means that personalized medicine, and the diagnostic products and services that make it possible, has an opportunity to be a real winner. The growth statistics and forecasts for this dynamic market sector make for interesting reading.

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The 1920’s Called: They Want Their Agency Business Model Back


We’ve talked here before about the need for change in the agency business. BrainLeaf, which provides cloud-based software that helps agencies and freelancers in digital communications and app development build, scope and manage projects, recently invited me to guest blog about the agency business and the opportunities that exist for transformational change. Continue reading

Telemedicine Market Shows Strong Growth Due to Healthcare Changes

telemedicineOne of the biggest growth areas in healthcare right now is telemedicine. The numbers are impressive. In a report from global market research company IHS, telemedicine, which is defined as “the use of medical devices and communication technology together to monitor diseases and symptoms,” is predicted to grow at a cumulative annual growth rate of more than 56 percent between 2013 and 2018. Continue reading

Corporate Storytelling as Art: Sainsbury’s Hits a Home Run

WW1_Christmas_TruceYesterday, I saw it. For the first time this year. That’s right folks, Christmas lights! It seems that each year, the great engines of commerce fire up a little earlier to make the most out of the holiday season. Given the economy over the past five years, I can’t blame retailers for wanting to get an early start. And my biggest hope for this year is that it is the best we’ve seen in a long time.

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Marketing Home Health Care: A Major Opportunity in the United States

aging_in_placeWe write a lot about technology and health care here, because I believe we have reached a watershed moment in our history where technology has finally gotten to a point that allows fundamental changes in how health care is provided, and how much it costs. Perhaps the biggest area where this is evident is in home health care and our aging population. For companies marketing home health care products and services, or those who may be looking for the next major growth area in health care the demographics speak for themselves. Continue reading

Marketing Home Health Care: A Major Opportunity in the United States

aging_in_placeWe write a lot about technology and health care here, because I believe we have reached a watershed moment in our history where technology has finally gotten to a point that allows fundamental changes in how health care is provided, and how much it costs. Perhaps the biggest area where this is evident is in home health care and our aging population. For companies marketing home health care products and services, or those who may be looking for the next major growth area in health care the demographics speak for themselves. Continue reading

Empathy: The Killer App in Strategic Communications and Leadership

empathyOf all the challenges we face working in the strategic marketing and communications business, among the most frustrating is dealing with those who have a misguided understanding of what it is that we do. Amazingly, in 2014 there are still people who view strategic communications as ‘spin’ (a word I personally loathe) and as a non-essential function that can be done when times are good, and cut from the corporate budget at the first sign of financial difficulty.

It saddens me that there are still those among us whose understanding of strategic communications dates from the 1950s. Fortunately there are also plenty of folks that I work with in corporate leadership positions today who really value the importance of communications and see it as an essential part of their company’s executive leadership function. In today’s world, communication is ubiquitous. Companies that understand this tend to see corporate communications as an essential function, and many are at the forefront of their industries. Companies that fail to embrace this fact spend much of their time reacting to events, putting out fires and trying to catch up with their more enlightened competitors. Continue reading

A No-Nonsense Approach to Content Marketing

Create_More_ContentIn the world of strategic communications, some content marketing “gurus” running communications departments and agencies like to position themselves as knowing the “secrets” of content marketing, which they will introduce to you, The Client, if you’d just provide them with a budget and pay their fees. My advice to prospective clients is this: if you hear that from an agency or a marketing person, what you should do next is slam the door in their face, and put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign until they go away.

There are no “secrets” to content marketing. It starts with objectives, and a clear strategy. It requires a clear understanding of your story, your audience, your communications assets and how best to deliver them to your audiences. Here is a no-nonsense approach to creating an effective, coherent strategy. Don’t let an agency try to over complicate things as a way to sell you what you don’t need. Continue reading

Another Pharmaceutical Industry Merger? Now That is Scary…

Pharma_MAInteresting news yesterday about AbbVie killing the plans it had to merge with Shire Pharmaceuticals. Apparently, now that the AbbVie/Shire deal is dead,  there is speculation once again that Shire and Bristol Myers Squibb may be eyeing each other up.

I’m sure there are plenty of reasons why the merger of two powerhouse specialty pharmaceutical companies makes sense. I’m sure that the MBA crowd are burning lots of midnight oil analyzing both companies’ portfolios, cash reserves, patent situations, etc. to make the case for why this merger makes good sense. And I bet there are loads of reasons why it does. Continue reading

Dementia–A Real Healthcare Crisis for the Pharmaceutical Industry

DementiaThis morning I read a very sad story in the excellent British newspaper The Telegraph. David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, described the “desperate sadness” he felt as he watched Margaret Thatcher, a brilliant politician and one of the UK’s great leaders who he saw at the height of her powers, slip away with the onset and progression of dementia.

The United Kingdom is in the midst of a national debate on dementia as the result of a recent report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent regulator of health and social care in England. The report found major shortcomings in the quality of care provided to those suffering from dementia across the country. Continue reading

Big Data Analytics Gets a Big Nod from NIH

NIH_LogoThere was great news yesterday from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), especially for those of us who support Big Data analytics as having a major role to play in fixing some of what’s broken in healthcare. The NIH announced an initial investment of almost $32 million during fiscal year 2014 in awards to multiple institutes working on challenges related to Big Data analytics in healthcare. This investment is part of the NIH’s Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative, which is projected to have a total investment of nearly $656 million through 2020, pending available funds.

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Corporate Storytelling – And Why More Companies Should Do It

In the autumn of 1983, Apple Computer introduced its flagship product, the Macintosh, and in the process turned traditional communications on its head by demonstrating the power of corporate storytelling. Apple’s Steve_Jobsyoung founder, Steve Jobs, gave a keynote speech where he talked about Apple and IBM, “Big Blue,” Apple’s biggest competitor, and positioned IBM as a lumbering giant, slow to recognize new opportunities, and determined to monopolize the information age in spite of themselves. As part of this presentation, Jobs showed a new ad that would air in January 1984 a week before the launch of the Mac, called “1984.” Tapping into George Orwell’s famous dystopian novel by the same name, Jobs positioned IBM as the robotic, colorless, tyrannical protagonist, and Apple as the only hope for individuality, creativity and diversity. This wasn’t just an ad. This was a well constructed narrative. This was corporate storytelling at its best.

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Labcorp Adds Diagnostics and Drug Development Services

MA_fishAt a time of ongoing M&A activity in the life sciences industry, LabCorp, a leader in diagnostics and laboratory services, has been making some moves on its own. Just yesterday the company announced plans to acquire Covance, a leading global contract research organization (CRO), for an estimated $6 billion. Just a little over a month ago, LabCorp also acquired LipoScience, a company focused on diagnostic technologies for managing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. LabCorp offered an all cash deal for LipoScience valued at approximately $85 million. Continue reading

Content Marketing Facts of Life

Content_Marketing_2Content marketing is enjoying a resurgence, and rightly so, as these days people are inundated with promotional messages, digital and social media advertising and noise. In an environment that is cluttered and filled with distractions, people want to connect on a deeper level with the companies, social organizations and products they choose to have in their lives. And it is in making that deeper connection–where you are really adding value to people’s lives–that content marketing, when done effectively, really stands out among marketing and communications disciplines. Continue reading

Pharmaceutical Industry Diversification: The Right Direction?

Yesterday, Bloomberg announced that Merck KGaA will acquire Sigma-Aldrich, a leading global laboratory supply and drug manufacturing services organization for $17 billion in cash. According to Bloomberg, this most recent deal is part of a broader strategy for Merck KGaA to “reduce its dependence on drug development.”

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The Father of Sustainability, Pharmaceutical Marketing and Food Safety

567_theodore_roosevelt_seatedAs an avid student of history since I was young, I have been watching and thoroughly enjoying the Ken Burns series “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” airing on PBS over the past few weeks. While many people have at least a basic understanding of, and appreciation for, the achievements of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and his extraordinary wife and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, I think that far fewer of us are that knowledgeable about Theodore Roosevelt, simply because his presidency and his lifetime are to us far more distant history. But what a great man Theodore Roosevelt was. Burns’ outstanding program gives us wonderful insights into just how thoroughly modern Teddy Roosevelt was, in terms of really helping to shape our current understanding of sustainability, creating the foundations for today’s corporate America, and ushering in a new era of consumer protection by paving the way for what is today’s Food and Drug Administration.

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Wearable Health Devices, Healthcare Costs and Big Data Companies

MedCity News today shared some interesting healthcare technology news: 100 million wearable health devices will be shipped over the next five years, according to ABI Research. This market is booming due in large part to the growing interest in the potential to move non-critical care out of the hospitals and into patient’s homes.

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Content Marketing White Paper: SEO Myths to Leave Behind in 2014

The world of search engine optimization (SEO) has changed beyond all recognition. And for the better, I’m pleased to say. Because, thankfully, gone are the days when the “SEO Cowboys” at various agencies roamed free and preyed upon unsuspecting marketing directors, convincing them that they alone had the secret sauce that would boost Google search results and put them at the top of the list. Thanks to the smart people at Google, today search results are all about high quality content. Yet many myths about SEO refuse to die. That’s why we’ve partnered with HubSpot to bring you a free white paper, “17 SEO Myths You Should Leave Behind in 2014.” I encourage you to download it. You’ll find that there is a lot of useful information in there about the many changes in SEO best practices that have occured.
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The Pharmaceutical Industry Needs to Find a Third Way

Yesterday, John LaMattina published an excellent story in Forbes looking at a recent round of research failures at pharmaceutical companies including Novo Nordisk, Exelixis and Piramal, and suggesting that these and other high profile research failures spell doom for drug discovery research scientists. From the standpoint of our understanding of the causes of human disease in 2014, which has never been greater, this is both illustrative of how risky the drug discovery process has become for pharmaceutical companies, and tragic because as a result of this the industry is scaling back on investments in early stage research at a time when it would seem they should be investing more. The implications for the pharmaceutical industry, and the patients who need the products they research and develop, are worrying to say the least. I spend a lot of time thinking about the pharmaceutical industry, where it is going, and how it can continue to adapt and be successful in times of great change.

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The Power of ‘What If’ to Transform the Agency Business Model

What_IfThroughout history, in the realm of human advancement, innovation, art, science, business–you name it, I believe one of the most powerful catalysts for transformation is a little two-word question: “What if?” It has changed our world in amazing ways. It has sent man to the moon, created entire industries that never existed before, saved lives, created works of art, and more. You could argue that the quest to answer this question is responsible for all human progress and innovation.

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Content Marketing Facts and Figures

Content_MarketingAt MANA, we love content marketing. For us, it encompasses all of the things we do for our clients, starting with strategic planning, and including content development and dissemination. From a marketing perspective, it is (when done effectively) multidisciplinary or, to digress for a moment into the world of “agency-speak,” it is integrated. Content marketing brings together traditional media, digital media, inbound and outbound marketing, and of course PESO (paid, earned, shared and owned media).

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