Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tips For Twitter Use, Don't Get Hung Up On Follow Backs

Jacky Tan's Dec 19th blog 9 Tips To Grow Twitter Followers The Right Way has some great tips for growing your or your brand's presence and engagement on twitter.  I agree with all of his points except for the importance he places on Follow Backs.  Some people follow different 'channels', some for business, some for research, some are even just casual follows. If someone doesn't follow you back, so what? It does not mean they won't engage and perhaps they will follow you at a later time.  Some people use lists instead of following back, some track even those that don't follow via 'Did Not Follow Me' lists.
Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

There is no specific rule on following, we all work the way we work and no one should be offended by someone's engagement style.


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Finally the rest of the world figures out what Pharma already knew...

Last week's WSJ article Proctor and Gamble Clears Plan for Mobile Coupons is great news for consumers.  Continuing a trend started with retailer programs like that of Starbucks and BestBuy, the mobile coupon programs have huge upside potential for both consumers and the manufacturers issuing them.  If they implement this correctly, while the consumer saves, the manufacturers get information about those taking advantage of the coupons (with opt-in, ie: permission) as well as what message(s) drove uptake, where and when.  Even without opt-in, de-identified information provides a trove of information compared to that of the the aggregated redemption model used with paper.  This is a message that Pharmaceutical companies learned years ago.  Adjudicated (electronically processed) vouchers provided actionable insights into sampling of their products not available to them with the same level of clarity even with all the paper involved in the process.
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Monday, December 26, 2011

Habits For Creativity, Failure to... Success

I just read Dean Rieck's 8 Bad Habits that Crush Your Creativity And Stifle Your Success. I thought it was a great article (found here) and just wanted share a few comments that came to mind when I read it.  Given the following definitions:

  • Creating:     generating new ideas, visualizing, looking ahead, considering the possibilities.
  • Evaluating:  analyzing and judging, picking apart ideas and sorting them into piles of good and bad, useful and useless.
It's easy to see how completely anti-creative evaluating is while creating.  Don't pick it apart before you figure out what it is, you may never get it out.  So this immediately brought to mind a practice (aka habit) I circle in and out of from time to time, including when writing my blogs.  It's a process called freewriting.
  • Freewriting is an exercise designed to clear mental and/or emotional space and to allow ideas to come to the surface before you think, edit, sort, etc. In a freewriting exercise, you don't take your pen off the paper (finger off the keys). You keep writing even if you draw a blank "I don't know what to write", "I don't know what to write"...  The results are for your eyes only, so you don't stop to tidy up sentences, grammar, spelling. You may diverge from the topic, but that's ok and part of the exercise.  You keep writing for about 10 minutes.  Then you go back and review what you wrote and within you'll find ideas to work with for your topic.  You may also find some ideas that are otherwise blocking you and need to be addressed separately - later.
Bottom line as Dean said: "Most people evaluate too soon and too often, and therefore create less. In order to create more and better ideas, you must separate creation from evaluation, coming up with lots of ideas first, then judging their worth later."  Use freewriting to get it all out there and then work from too much info towards more finely crafted ideas.  Then it's much easier format as appropriate for the medium and audience you are targeting.

Failure - To Fear or Embrace.
Babe Ruth, full-length portrait, standing, fac...
Image via Wikipedia

Dean uses Babe Ruth as an example of not fearing failure.  With 714 home runs, he was truly one of baseball's greatest hitters. He was also a master of striking out. But that’s because he always swung for the fences, all-in, home run or strike out, nothing in between. The Babe either succeeded big or failed big.  Babe didn't necessarily learn from his failures, they were just an accepted cost for his success.

Sir James Dyson is an example I like to use.  He said that an inventor's life is one of failure.  He made 5,127 prototypes of his vacuum before he got it right. That means there were 5,126 failures en route. By learning from each failure, he came up with the ultimate vacuum. Seeing why something fails can suggest another path, which may lead to success.  "No one wants to make mistakes or fail. But if you try too hard to avoid failure, you’ll also avoid success."


addtl info: Failure Doesn't Suck

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Private Exchanges will boost Healthcare Reform - Perhaps, If ...

A recent post by hCentive in their Healthcare Reforms blog: "Private Exchanges will boost Healthcare Reform" was an interesting read. Yet, as potentially promising as this sounds, NY rates for small business continue to go up by huge percentages as players continue to pull out. By example, despite the 9% numbers otherwise suggested in surveys and polls, my small company's renewal rates went up 40% this year after a similar increase last year. Even with the soaring rates, shortly after the increased renewal was offered, our insurer sent another letter telling us that policies would no longer be available in NY after April 2012.

You may be wondering what this has to do with the Private Exchanges. It's simple, if we don't solve at least some of the underlying issues related to the cost to provide healthcare (a few examples):

1) an overwhelming administrative burden (some estimates say 30%+)
2) a lack of available providers
3) overwhelming malpractice burdens on providers
4) defensive medicine or unnecessary testing, treatment (Why Doctors Order So Many Tests)
5) reimbursements to providers that barely help them keep the lights on
5) fraud and abuse
6) games insurers, PBM's (prescription benefit managers) play to restrict treatment and/or reimbursement
7) PBM's making huge profits, instead of those dollars being spread across today's actual healthcare value chain: ie: providers, patients/employees and employers paying for the plans. I believe this only gets worse if the Express Scripts acquisition of Medco Health Solutions is approved.

There are so many more examples, any combination of which solved would improve outcomes and lower costs throughout the system.

As I was saying, if we don't solve at least some of the underlying issues related to the cost of delivering healthcare, how will exchanges work, let alone fix anything? Implementation of the exchanges at the state level was the right start, but we must address some of the above issues to resolve the NY example of insurer's abandoning their provision of coverage here. We need insurers offering geographically localized versions of their coverage, so that people can select their providers based on their needs and the differing local variables of where they choose to live.  At the same time, the last thing we want to see is insurer's doing so by selectively domiciling in a state where they have rights to exploit patients and/or providers who don't understand the rules; the result being denied coverage or reimbursement in the time of need, without protection from established government agencies.

If you are not sure what I am suggesting, take out one of your credit cards and look at the back to see where your bank is located. They selected the particular state becuase that is where the rules give them the most rights, leverage, etc. vs their customers (yes, I said customers). Currently, the protections for patients and their rights falls within the states. We don't want to build out new, redundant agencies or infrastructure at the federal level for the sake of expanding government. It would only further add cost, confusion and levels of bureaucracy who's cost and negative effects would be masked within unnecessary growth of the Federal Government.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Targeting Ad's Ok. For News, I Need To Be The One To Decide What Gets In And Whether Other Content Is Filtered Out...

Re Katherine Boehret's December 6th, 2011 column: In Your Hands, Just What You Want to Read

These tools are all great, I currently use a few of them and I love the ability to curate, self select and/or 'produce' my own news. My hope is that this will remain up to me and not become a practice of the media outlets themselves, selectively targeting stories to me based on who I am, what I browse, etc. ie: the profile they have or can access about me online. I can live with better targeted ad's on websites, in print magazines or cable tv based on information about me becuase it reduces the noise.

But for news and editorial, etc. I must remain the one to decide what gets in. I must be the one who sets the filter of what gets edited out.

We don't need or want big brother controlling the news...


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Re: Is Print Marketing Still Viable?

Great article from Inside Scooper, Is Print Marketing Still Viable? But while I love the feel of books, especially the older ones, evoking history through olfactory response and visions of the stacks back in college, for most reading, I have made the transition to the Kindle, especially when traveling. It is so much easier to carry then the typical 3 books on any given trip. That said, newspapers in electronic format has been a tougher transition. While I can read Business Week, the WSJ and NY Times on my iPad, I rarely do; I prefer paging through to home in on particular articles that the print format provides and find that I use the electronic versions more for link sources on articles, tweets or blogs. On marketing electronically vs print, I believe as does the author that it has it's place, partially because it is a channel in a multi-channel strategy and partially because today at least, I still believe print is a more sticky medium. Additionally, other than with tools like Evernote (which is good but not perfect due to issues capturing various content formats), we do not have the tools or methods to manage or hold on to our selected content for later review, like we do when we file and/or manage print.