I’ve made an unusual foray into the world of medical devices this week, working on a brief for a manufacturer of dressings with a new product to bring to market.
It’s fascinating to see the unexpected parallels between the medical world and FMCG. The procurement process, for example, happens much more as the result of many individual healthcare practitioners’ decisions than as the result of a few centralised decisions of procurement departments. That means it’s more amenable to marketing than you might think; the route to market isn’t just lots of rounds of golf.
But it’s also fascinating to see all the ways that it’s completely different. The job I’m most often faced with is to try to make communications less rational and more emotional, but that’s not the case here. These things are bought by extremely rational people in extremely rational ways. Emotion plays its part – it always does – but it’s much lower down in the mix.
It’s also tricky to get to grips quickly with all of the bizarre lingo. HCPs, TVNs, epithelial bridging, exudate and slough. It’s all a bit Monty Python.
I had lunch with Phil and Joe Carter of the newly renamed Relative Studio. We wagged chins about the future of agencies, admired their beautiful work on Bobo wines, and generally put the world to rights. Check them out if you happen to be in the market for some top-tier design work.
I remember when I first started writing somewhat regularly on my blog. (I’ve not had the time recently, but there was a point where I was pretty reliably putting out a new article every week.) At that early stage, one of my biggest worries was that I’d run out of ideas fairly quickly, because when I started out I really did only have a handful of ideas ready to go.
What I quickly discovered is something that’s true of all creative endeavours: ideas breed ideas. Ideas aren’t a scarce resource – far from it. The more ideas you have, well, the more ideas you have. It’s a multiplicative process.
The same applies in my work, and to a certain extent that of any knowledge worker. Contributing value increases my ability to contribute value; each project gives me experience that I can leverage in other projects, and refines my skills and abilities at delivering that value.
In crafting a business model, I think it’s useful to think about what should be scarce and what should be abundant. I think it’s easy to think that supply and demand applies, and so the things that you want to be perceived as valuable should always be kept scarce, and so that should be true of your time and your availability. But since experience compounds, you have to balance that with the idea that you’re worth far more in the long term if you do as much as possible now.