My published work

Please browse the hundreds of articles, peer-reviewed papers and books I’ve published about strategy in the life sciences and ask for any you want.
Or click here if you can’t find what you want.

Microfoundations matter


January, 2023    SMM-261

Microfoundations matter

In business, we’re fond of talking about transformational change. But, if you want to change, you need to sweat the small stuff.

Strategic Behaviour


January, 2023    SMM-260

Strategic Behaviour

Strong strategising depends on your colleagues’ behaviours. Here’s how to manage it to aid your strategy making.

The Glocalisation Challenge


December, 2022    SMM-258

The Glocalisation Challenge

The concept of glocalisation contrasts the increasingly global nature of the pharma market with the continuing importance of locally-specific market conditions. The implication is that firms need to develop superior capabilities in ‘glocalisation’ – the adaptation of a core, global strategy to local market conditions. This article is the first in a series covering a three-part approach to improving your company’s glocalisation capabilities.

Roche’s Creative Destruction


December, 2022    SMM-259

Roche’s Creative Destruction

A recent statement from Roche illustrates how Darwinian mechanisms act in our evolving market. Looking at the turmoil currently faced by start-up and early stage biotechs, we also see how difficulties can create opportunities.

C-Suite Keystones


November, 2022    SMM-257

C-Suite Keystones

Keystone routines in the C-suite shape your company and your career. Which type of CEO does your company have?

Cross-functional alignment


October, 2022    SMM-255

Cross-functional alignment

This is the third in my series of articles about the human side of strategy execution, published in Pharmaceutical Marketing Europe. This time I look at how cross-functional alignment works – and when it doesn’t.

COVID-19’s consequences


October, 2022    SMM-256

COVID-19’s consequences

I love the fact that our industry is evolving in surprising and hard-to-predict ways. Here’s why, in this complex adaptive ecosystem, COVID-19 vaccines might rhyme with antibiotics.

Longevity Lessons


September, 2022    SMM-254

Longevity Lessons

The secret to corporate longevity isn’t growth, it’s survival.

Strategic Commitment


September, 2022    SMM-251

Strategic Commitment

In the second of a series of articles about the human side of strategy execution, I describe how to gain your team’s commitment to your strategy

Strategic Instincts


June, 2022    SMM-248

Strategic Instincts

Four strategic instincts separate great strategists from the others. This article in Pharma Focus Asia discusses what makes some pharmaceutical companies better at making and executing strategy than others … and how those differentiating instincts can be taught.

The Ecosystem Paradigm


May, 2022    SMM-252

The Ecosystem Paradigm

It has become fashionable in the life sciences industry to use the word ecosystem. But trying to find meaning in these various uses of the word is more difficult. In this article, I’ll guide you through how ecological thinking helps business thinking and addresses real-world challenges in the life sciences market.

Secret Signals


May, 2022    SMM-247

Secret Signals

In your market, the indication signals are there if you know where to look for them.

Fantasy Seminar


March, 2022    SMM-245

Fantasy Seminar

An imaginary conversation with Charles Darwin about the latest trends in pharma R&D

Strategic Cultures


March, 2022    SMM-246

Strategic Cultures

The first of a series of articles about the human side of strategy execution. How organisational culture can define or destroy your strategy

It’s not about the technology


February, 2022    SMM-244

It’s not about the technology

Why the market will disrupt the technology, not the other way round.

Modelling Success


February, 2022    SMM-253

Modelling Success

In recent years, the term ‘Business Model’ has come to dominate boardroom conversations. But what is a business model and how can you build one? This article looks at the research and gives a new, practical and useful definition that helps pharma business leaders understand what a business model is and how to build one.

Mastering Relationships


December, 2021    SMM-242

Mastering Relationships

This final article in a series of four about strategy expertise delves into the nebulous concept of relationships and how strategy experts master them.

The Great Data Event


December, 2021    SMM-241

The Great Data Event

Nobody can deny that digital health will transform the environment. But it won’t be the apps that do it.

Aduhelm’s Two Futures


December, 2021    SMM-239

Aduhelm’s Two Futures

I spend much of my life researching the evolution of the life sciences industry, and I’m often asked for my opinion on current developments in the sector. There are two possible futures I can see for Aduhelm (aducanumab)…

Modelling Success


December, 2021    SMM-240

Modelling Success

In recent years, the term ‘Business Model’ has come to dominate board-room conversations. Whether firms want to adapt their existing business model or create an entirely new one, the term has become ubiquitous amongst pharma business leaders. But what is a business model? How does it differ from strategy, structure or revenue model? Ask 100 people for a definition, you will get 100 answers to the question. Such confusion and vagueness is the enemy of change management. In this article, Brian D Smith looks at the research into business models and gives us a new, practical and useful definition, based on his study of the industry, that helps pharma business leaders understand what a business model is and how to build one.

Biotech’s Golden Non Sequitur


October, 2021    SMM-237

Biotech’s Golden Non Sequitur

Life sciences clusters have their pros and cons. This article looks at some of them.

Mastering Knowledge


October, 2021    SMM-238

Mastering Knowledge

Strategy expertise is built on knowledge management. True strategy experts master knowledge by acquiring three skills: declarative knowledge, causal knowledge and procedural knowledge. This article explains in more detail.

Pawsley’s Peepholes


September, 2021    SMM-236

Pawsley’s Peepholes

Can Darwin predict where sectors are headed?

Practice Makes Perfect


August, 2021    SMM-235

Practice Makes Perfect

Adopting industry best practice requires three critical skills: 1. Say what you mean. 2. Respect differences. 3. What works is what fits.

H is for Hard


July, 2021    SMM-234

H is for Hard

Turbocharging innovation is hard, especially in healthcare

Observations on the leadership of the pharmaceutical and medical technology industry from a generalized Darwinism perspective


June, 2021    SMM-233

Observations on the leadership of the pharmaceutical and medical technology industry from a generalized Darwinism perspective

This academic paper, published in Medical Technology Industry, identifies leadership behaviours that appear to be salient in life science firms and attempts to explain them as Darwinian adaptations to the particular characteristics of that industry.

Nature’s Way


June, 2021    SMM-231

Nature’s Way

There are business lessons to be learned from biological tragedies.

Mastering Oneself


June, 2021    SMM-232

Mastering Oneself

What does it take to be a biomedical strategy expert? This article weaves together research about strategy and expertise, then applies it to the specific context of the biomedical industry.

The Ecosystem Paradigm


May, 2021    SMM-230

The Ecosystem Paradigm

It has become fashionable in the life sciences industry to use the word ecosystem. More often than not, ecosystem is used as a modish synonym for a part of the market or a relationship between different organisations within the market. But thinking about our industry as an ecosystem has so much more value than sounding fashionably smart. This article guides you through how ecological thinking helps business thinking and addresses real-world challenges in the life sciences market.

Cross Functions


May, 2021    SMM-229

Cross Functions

The biggest problem in your company is also your biggest opportunity

In sickness and in health


April, 2021    SMM-228

In sickness and in health

Prevention is better than cure. Withings, Illumina, Abbott and Edwards point to the emergence of predicting and preventing illness.

Biomedical Market Leaders (Learning to thrive)


March, 2021    SMM-225

Biomedical Market Leaders (Learning to thrive)

In a rapidly changing market, the only competitive advantage that lasts is the ability to learn. Here is how our enduring biomedical market leaders do that.

Edging Towards Success


March, 2021    SMM-226

Edging Towards Success

Evolution tells us to to look for small advantages, not big leaps

Relics from the Past


January, 2021    SMM-224

Relics from the Past

Terms that were once perfectly descriptive now only serve to tell us how the world has changed

Putting theory into practice


December, 2020    SMM-222

Putting theory into practice

Ideas about new product adoption are dangerously out of date. That leads to many innovative new products failing to be fully adopted and many older, suboptimal products remaining in everyday use.

The Swiss Cheese Strategy


November, 2020    SMM-221

The Swiss Cheese Strategy

By copying the aviation industry, you can make sure your marketing strategy will fly.

The Chief Executive Ostrich


October, 2020    SMM-220

The Chief Executive Ostrich

Some of the most perplexing executive behaviour is simply Darwinian

Bayer’s Drop of the Future


October, 2020    SMM-219

Bayer’s Drop of the Future

With the rising importance of the ‘patient payer,’ the Bayer/One Drop business model brings together capabilities that neither firm possesses in full. Not only did this confirm the business model I predicted in my 2011 book “The Future of Pharma,” it also fitted in with how I saw it developing. This article explains the importance of such ‘holobionts’ in our industry.

The Science of the Deal


October, 2020    SMM-218

The Science of the Deal

This article describes the early findings from my work with Zaki Sallem, one of the Doctoral Candidates I supervise. It gives new insight into what drives and shapes the construction of IP deals in pharma and medtech.

Stop That!


September, 2020    SMM-217

Stop That!

Everywhere in our industry, I see thinking that works well for scientists. Questions like ‘how will factor x impact on situation y?’ This way of thinking has its place, especially where confounding factors can be isolated and controlled for. But we sometimes need a different kind of
tool. This article discusses how complex systems thinking can be harnessed to provide better answers to bigger questions.

We’ve got this!


June, 2020    SMM-215

We’ve got this!

Changes in the social and technological environment of the life sciences industry over the last century or so have varied greatly. But they had one thing in common: they all made the embedded, comfortable way we did things obsolete. Our industry has evolved before and we will again.

Evolving at home


May, 2020    SMM-214

Evolving at home

How we work from home will evolve in a Darwinian way.

The Big Issue


May, 2020    SMM-213

The Big Issue

On any working day, your CEO may face a thousand issues. But, from the C-suite, the elephant in the room is always bicongruence. This article explains how we tame it.

Covidian Selection


April, 2020    SMM-212

Covidian Selection

COVID-19 will trigger a spurt of change in the life sciences industry and, perhaps, a brighter future

Awesome Abstraction


March, 2020    SMM-211

Awesome Abstraction

Business development deals and commercial operating models show the power of Generalised Darwinism

Natural Intelligence


February, 2020    SMM210

Natural Intelligence

Being overly focussed on artificial intelligence (AI) can blind us to the hugely valuable resource that almost all life science companies have at their fingertips, their natural intelligence. This article gives clear steps for using natural intelligence to test marketing strategy.

Digital Divergence


February, 2020    SMM-209

Digital Divergence

Combining digital and pharma is proving less easy than previously thought, but the reasons have little to do with the technology.

Blood Will Out


January, 2020    SMM-207

Blood Will Out

Why it is important to look closely at a firms routines and micrcofoundations when considering a merger or acquisition.

Blind Man’s Buff


December, 2019    SMM-206

Blind Man’s Buff

Business evolution need not be wasteful. Its variation is not random but at least partly deliberate. It’s up to us how much we deliberate and how much we waste.

The Mission Matters


December, 2019    SMM-207

The Mission Matters

A successful life sciences company is a diverse army of experts. Mission statements are not just platitudes; they are the tool CEOs use to guide the discretionary activity of the company’s experts.

Coaching Brand Strategy


November, 2019    SMM-205

Coaching Brand Strategy

Coaching works well when the performance issues are well understood, clearly defined, and individual. But coaching a strategy team is much more difficult because the issues are usually fuzzy, interconnected and systemic. This article describes the challenges of coaching a strategy team and a three-step process for overcoming those challenges.

Mind your language


November, 2019    SMM-203

Mind your language

In marketing terminology, semantic precision is the hallmark of a professional. This article defines the eight most essential marketing concepts and makes clear the practical implications for marketers’ capabilities and professionalism.

The End of Pharma


November, 2019    SMM-204

The End of Pharma

Why some parts of the life sciences industry may become obsolete, and how Darwinian theory may help your company to plan its evolution accordingly.

Breaking the Cookie Cutter


October, 2019    SMM-202

Breaking the Cookie Cutter

Why the power of Darwin’s idea is that it is so widely applicable, both in theory and in practice.

Darwinian Leadership


September, 2019    SMM-201

Darwinian Leadership

Leadership in the life sciences is neither being a servant nor an autocrat. It is about adaptation to the exceptional features of our industry environment and it owes much to Darwin.

Why Marry?


September, 2019    SMM-200

Why Marry?

Business schools teach that the primary reason firms merge is to acquire economies of scale and sometimes of scope. This makes a lot of sense in some industries, but it has less explanatory power in the life sciences. This article looks at mergers and acquisitions from an evolutionary perspective to see what determines success in our industry.

Exceptional leadership for an exceptional industry


September, 2019    SMM-199

Exceptional leadership for an exceptional industry

Professor Brian D Smith dives into findings from his research to see what makes a good pharma leader. To succeed, you must recognise and understand what
makes our industry exceptional and then adapt to those conditions.

Messy Marketing


August, 2019    SMM-198

Messy Marketing

How deliberate disordering can enhance your strategic marketing planning.

Edging Evolution


July, 2019    SMM-197

Edging Evolution

Evolution of your business model doesn’t have to be slow. And you don’t have to wait for it to happen; you can make it happen. This article explains how.

Pharmaplasticity


June, 2019    SMM-196

Pharmaplasticity

In a transforming market, understanding of the mechanics of change – how it happens and why it often does not – is among the most valuable knowledge a manager can acquire. This article uncovers what evolutionary science can teach us about change in life sciences companies.

It’s not the end of the world, is it?


May, 2019    SMM-194

It’s not the end of the world, is it?

As the life sciences industry changes, various types of apocalypse threaten. This article suggests ways in which companies might survive such environmental disasters.

Deep Value


May, 2019    SMM-195

Deep Value

Why value-based healthcare is difficult. Insights from Eric Topol’s book Deep Medicine applied to the evolution of the life sciences industry.

It’s complicated


April, 2019    SMM-192

It’s complicated

Why commercial executives should think more like scientists.

Breaking bad


April, 2019    SMM-193

Breaking bad

Six brand management habits that medical marketers should break.

Medical Marketing Superheroes


March, 2019    SMM-190

Medical Marketing Superheroes

Imagine if you could genetically engineer your medical marketing team. This short article outlines some concepts that have very important practical implications for leaders in the life sciences. They mean that it is possible to engineer a much superior medical marketing team. But training alone is not
the answer.

Quick Change


March, 2019    SMM-191

Quick Change

What bird feathers can tell us about adapting to the market.

Gene Genie


February, 2019    SMM-189

Gene Genie

Why evolution will find new markets for gene and cell therapies, despite their high cost.

Gradually, then suddenly


January, 2019    SMM-188

Gradually, then suddenly

Why company extinction is the result of cognitive shortcomings

Midas Touch


November, 2018    SMM-187

Midas Touch

When smart, but small, science can turn old ideas into gold.

Medtech’s Mixed-up Monsters


October, 2018    SMM-186

Medtech’s Mixed-up Monsters

If nature abhors a vacuum, traditional theory has it that investors hate conglomerates; markets tend to value aggregates of different businesses at less than the sum of their parts. How odd, therefore, that most larger life sciences firms – Medtronic, J&J, Becton Dickinson, Stryker and the like – are effectively run as a group of diverse businesses operating in an essentially autonomous way under a larger corporate umbrella.

Big pharma, little pharma


September, 2018    SMM-185

Big pharma, little pharma

Why, for smaller firms, imitating large firms may be a less viable approach than imitating other small firms.

Brand teams: why are some smarter than others?


July, 2018    SMM-184

Brand teams: why are some smarter than others?

In practice, all brand teams recruit from the same labour pool, adopt industry-standard processes and buy data from the usual sources. It’s unrealistic to expect your people to be smarter than your competitors’, so why are brand plans so greatly differentiated?

Keytruda’s Secret Sauce


August, 2018    SMM-183

Keytruda’s Secret Sauce

Why Merck’s position in oncology is about much more than a good product.

Less is more


June, 2018    SMM-180

Less is more

In most life science companies, the brand plan document is not fit for purpose. Intended to communicate the plan and gain commitment, It is typically a time-consuming tome that is rarely read and often ridiculed. The problem lies not in the content but in the way that it is structured. In this article, I describe the way that brand plans are evolving into something better adapted to the 21st century life science industry.

Malthus’ orphans


June, 2018    SMM-181

Malthus’ orphans

Firms focusing on small, high-profit niches risk falling into a 200-year-old trap.

The Genetically Modified Marketer


June, 2018    SMM-182

The Genetically Modified Marketer

The turbulent confluence of technological and sociological change means that it is impossible to step into the same market twice. Marketers must also change and adapt to the shifting demands of the market. Yet, as much research has demonstrated, meaningful organisational change is hard to do are rare in practice.

Getting the sizing right


May, 2018    SMM-179

Getting the sizing right

Merger and acquisition activity in the life sciences industry can learn from the natural world. This article explains why the key to success is being both bigger and different.

Segmentation, evolved


April, 2018    SMM-178

Segmentation, evolved

Evolutionary adaptations are a response to market selection pressures, as seen by Sanofi’s Praluent strategy.

The valuable brand


March, 2018    SMM-177

The valuable brand

The pressures of the 21st century market are slowly driving the adaptation of brand strategy, which means that creating value beyond the pill is both
possible and increasingly necessary.

The evolution of brand strategy


March, 2018    SMM-176

The evolution of brand strategy

As our market has evolved into one where payers and patients shape decisions, the nature of brand strategy has adapted to that new environment. This article, describes
the newly emerging characteristics of brand strategy and how it can guide your own strategic planning.

Digital shakeout


March, 2018    SMM-175

Digital shakeout

Recent announcements by Nokia, Roche and others point to where digital health is heading. Whether their business models will survive or become extinct depends on how well they adapt to the Information Shift.

The Secret of Success


February, 2018    SMM-174

The Secret of Success

It is becoming clear that success in pharma is associated with specialisation, but what is the mechanism by which it works?

2018 by Darwin


January, 2018    SMM-173

2018 by Darwin

Our industry’s evolution can’t be predicted, but it can be foreseen, says Brian D Smith in this look at the industry trends emerging in 2018.

The New Basics


December, 2017    SMM-172

The New Basics

Why innovative products and creative marketing won’t help if our industry fails to address the new basics.

Amazon’s invasion


December, 2017    SMM-171

Amazon’s invasion

It’s no good being alarmed about Amazon entering the pharma market as a new channel. The organisation is incredibly competitive; and the disruption it has caused in every market it has touched is a business phenomenon. It would be naive to discount the threat of Amazon – strategists in the life science sector need to understand and address the implications of Amazon’s entry.

Choices, choices


March, 2017    SMM-158b

Choices, choices

Not all innovative business models are equal – different ‘species’ of business model are required to fit different parts of the healthcare environment.

A butterfly flaps its wings


February, 2017    SMM-156b

A butterfly flaps its wings

In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the idea that complex systems can be so delicately balanced that small events, such as the flapping of a butterfly’s wings, can have large effects, such as a hurricane. Those who study the evolution of the complex, adaptive system that is the life science industry look out for such trigger events.

The Great Schism


November, 2017    SMM-170

The Great Schism

While recent approval by the FDA of Novartis’ new Kymriah gene therapy for leukaemia is undoubtedly cause for celebration, evolution suggests that such technological advance might also be the herald of further increasing social inequality.

Pharma’s Coral Reef


October, 2017    SMM-169

Pharma’s Coral Reef

A comparison of the life science industry past and present reveals that holobionts are now the principal form of competitor, while the fully integrated, self-sufficient company is becoming a rarity. This article identifies three important things that executives ought to reflect on when tasked with adapting their organisations to a different world.

Breathing Data


October, 2017    SMM-168

Breathing Data

Amidst announcements and industry gossip about how companies such as Apple and Google are planning to upend the life science industry by their use of data, Novartis’s new CEO designate, Vas Narasimham, stressed the use of AI and data to revolutionise research and development productivity. This has strong parallels with evolutionary biology and, as reader’s of my work will know, it confirms what I’ve been predicting: in a world where data is pervasive, learning to use data at scale and in an integrated, bidirectional manner is essential for survival.

Life Lessons


October, 2017    SMM-167

Life Lessons

Generics were once an unstoppable behemoth, threatening to dominate the industry as they sucked up market share. But their model seems to be fading. In this low-cost, non-innovative habitat, existing giants are being out-evolved by a combination of more specialised business models.

Life Story


September, 2017    SMM-166

Life Story

Product Life Cycle (PLC) is a familiar tool to experienced executives in pharma or medtech. It’s often assumed to be synonymous with line extension tactics, for defending against me-toos and generics. But the concept is much more useful. This article, explains the origins of this strategic management tool and shows how it can be essential to optimising the value of a brand.

The co-evolution conundrum


July, 2017    SMM-164

The co-evolution conundrum

Uptake of innovative products is not just a sales or marketing problem but a lesson in co-evolution. Recognising that both sides need to adapt is crucial to understanding why the innovative companies and their customers must evolve together.

Living in fear


July, 2017    SMM-165

Living in fear

Many industry leaders seem to live in existential fear, that they may not know, or not understanding the significance of, something that would render their strategic choices flawed. This article discusses how an evolutionary perspective can reduce that risk.

Force Protection


July, 2017    SMM-163

Force Protection

Competitor analysis is one of the core activities of the strategic planning process. If it is not executed effectively, we will fail to understand the competitive threats faced by our business and so will find it impossible to mitigate or to defend against those threats with any degree of success. And yet this important section of the strategic plan is often surprisingly weak.

Good news, bad news


June, 2017    SMM-162

Good news, bad news

As the definition of value changes in life sciences, we can anticipate that, while the world is set to spend more on healthcare, the spend will be different.

Why Change Fails


May, 2017    SMM-161

Why Change Fails

This article explores what evolutionary science can tell us about effecting real, valuable change in complex organisations.

The diseased organisation


April, 2017    SMM-160

The diseased organisation

This feature article from PME uses my research on how organisations evolve to help you understand why things go wrong in companies. It will give you a new and useful perspective on the challenges you face.

Reading the signals


April, 2017    SMM-159

Reading the signals

This is one of my regular Darwin’s Medicine columns and describes how you interpret the ‘weak signals’ that you see in your market to better understand and adapt your strategy.

Life Science’s Tangled Bank of Business Models


February, 2017    SMM-158

Life Science’s Tangled Bank of Business Models

The pharma industry is experiencing an explosion of new business models, more numerous and specialised than we’re used to. Companies need to pick the right model and adapt faster and better than their competitors. This In Vivo article is the third in a series from Brian Smith’s new book, Darwin’s Medicine.

Six Big Shifts in Life Sciences


February, 2017    SMM-157

Six Big Shifts in Life Sciences

It’s the question to which we all want the answer: Where is our industry headed?
The answer is: Exactly where it is being pushed by what Charles Darwin called “immeasurably superior forces.” This In Vivo article is the second in a series from Brian Smith’s new book, Darwin’s Medicine.

Strategic Symbionts


January, 2017    SMM-156

Strategic Symbionts

Strategic alliances are becoming more interesting and more important as, increasingly, we see the emergence of symbiotic relationships as a common choice of how to compete in life sciences.

Choose or lose


December, 2016    SMM-155

Choose or lose

The divergence of business models demands brave choices and the implication for industry leaders
is clear: choose a business model and become the best you can at it as fast as you can.

Building the future


December, 2016    SMM-154

Building the future

In my previous articles in this series, I described my research findings about the forces shaping our industry (Under Pressure, PME February 2016), the 26 new business models created by those forces (Explosive Evolution, PME June 2016) and how firms select which model to evolve into (Choosing
Destiny, PME September 2016). In this final article, I describe the process that takes a firm from its
present into its future.

Four switches of success


December, 2016    SMM-153

Four switches of success

Very similar firms often achieve very different results. This is explained by their genetic switches.

Rigour or Rigmarole


December, 2016    SMM-152

Rigour or Rigmarole

All companies plan to succeed but only a few succeed in planning. The differences between them lie in how they answer seven fundamental questions.

Pricing’s Dodos


October, 2016    SMM-149

Pricing’s Dodos

One of my research streams is focused on the evolution of market access capabilities. Recently in an advisory role involving the market access strategy for a huge but ageing brand, I observed real-world behaviour that perfectly illustrates the evolution of the industry.

Targeting’s Book of the Dead


September, 2016    SMM-148

Targeting’s Book of the Dead

Why might companies full of bright, educated people do something that is, frankly, not very bright at all? The answer lies in its evolution; this article looks at why it happens and how to avoid it.

Cross Functional Working


September, 2016    SAI-054

Cross Functional Working

This article looks at the flawed approach to cross functional working that permeates business today and advises how organisations might address this to improve our success.

Choosing Destiny


September, 2016    SMM-147

Choosing Destiny

This follows on from my previous two articles in this series. I described the forces shaping the life science industry (see Under Pressure, PME Feb 2016) and the subsequent emergence of 26 new business models (See Explosive Evolution, PME June 2016). This newly complex landscape means a plethora of choices for industry strategists and makes it all the more important that they choose their future business model carefully. But how, faced with such complexity, can we pick the model that will work best for us? My research into how firms answer this question reveals a four-step process for navigating the life science market of the future.

Explosive Evolution


June, 2016    SMM-146

Explosive Evolution

This article builds on a preceding article (title: Under Pressure) about the selection pressures shaping the life sciences industry. It describes a small part of my research into how life science business models are evolving. The picture I paint will, I hope, provoke thought and stimulate questions about how firms might direct and accelerate their own evolution. In the next two articles, I will answer those questions.

The Genetically Modified Organisation


June, 2016    SMM-145

The Genetically Modified Organisation

To paraphrase Darwin, it is not the strongest nor most intelligent life science company that will survive, it is the one most able to change. Yet many companies find it very difficult to change in ways that preserves the best of the corporate DNA whilst adapting to the changes in our technological, political, economic and social environments. New research in this area sheds light on what constitutes a firm’s DNA, what changes are demanded by the market and how firms make these changes. This work allows senior executives to perform the equivalent of gene therapy on their firms: identifying the genes that are necessary for competitiveness and inserting them into their corporate genome.

A Frugal Future


May, 2016    SMM-143

A Frugal Future

Looking at the future of the life science industry, it’s evident that value will dominate the industry environment. As a result, free-spending life science companies will be replaced by frugal, ruthlessly efficient companies. We already see evidence of this new and very different environment and should be prepared for a frugal future.

GSK’s Morality Gene


April, 2016    SMM-142

GSK’s Morality Gene

GSK’s recent decisions about pricing, transparency and return on investment seem to indicate an interesting new adaption to market conditions, one that is likely to be followed by the industry. This article will interest anyone interested in the life science industry’s ‘licence to operate’ in our society.

Sexual selection


March, 2016    SMM-141

Sexual selection

By focusing on a particular trait when we interview candidates for a position in our organisation, we may open ourselves up to unintended consequences, neglecting the full range of routines we need.

Under Pressure


February, 2016    SMM-140

Under Pressure

There are six inexorable forces shaping the evolution of pharma and medtech. Asking and answering the questions about what selection pressures are acting in our industry is the first step in predicting how the industry will look in future.

J&J’s Portent of Purity


February, 2016    SMM-139

J&J’s Portent of Purity

There is a new pattern of shareholder pressure across the sector, leading to new corporate structures being seen to emerge.

Not as we know it


January, 2016    SMM-138

Not as we know it

When it comes to evolution in industry, we need to think bout how the patient need will be met in future and evolve accordingly.

The Future of Pfizer(s)


December, 2015    SMM-137

The Future of Pfizer(s)

The media is full of the Pfizer-Allergan deal, especially the likely break up of the post-merger company into ‘innovative’ and ‘mature’ products. But lacking in this frenzied coverage is any sort of scientific examination of the move, which is ironic for an industry that prides itself on its knowledge intensity. This article offers an evolutionary science perspective on where that megadeal leads.

Competing on Alignment


October, 2015    SMM-136

Competing on Alignment

SWOT is both the most powerful and least understood strategic management tool. Used correctly, it translates the outputs of many other market analyses into a small number of key issues.
This very practical article will help make sure you gain the most from using this important tool.

Escaping Wicked Problems


November, 2015    SMM-135

Escaping Wicked Problems

Some management dilemmas defy logic; they seem unsolvable by any traditional, methodical approach. However, in some circumstances, collaborative consensus offers the best potential outcome.

Acting at Random


November, 2015    SMM-134

Acting at Random

Life sciences companies stumble through evolutionary space and often fail.

Tragedy of the Commons


October, 2015    SMM-133

Tragedy of the Commons

Why evolution suggests that we need to be altrustic to our rivals.

Dead Man’s Shoes


September, 2015    SMM-132

Dead Man’s Shoes

As the industry evolves, this article examines how obsolete business models make space for new ones.

Unintended Consequences


August, 2015    SMM-130

Unintended Consequences

Recent and continuing issues that the pharmaceutical industry has with business ethics remind us that good intentions can have unintended consequences. This article looks at how life science companies could take advantage of existing research to build organisational routines to predict and manage unexpected outcomes from organisational change.

The Lasting Advantage


June, 2015    SMM-128

The Lasting Advantage

A transforming market quickly renders existing assets and capabilities obsolete. In a life sciences market where technology, customers and competitors are evolving, organisational learning is the only lasting advantage. What organisational learning is, what it is not, and how it is achieved emerges from the practice of exemplary companies.

Research Watch


June, 2015    SMM-129

Research Watch

This Research Watch covers everything from personalised medicine, to new market entry, to alliances and networks.

Critical Thinking


June, 2015    SMM-126

Critical Thinking

Professor Brian D Smith assesses the Darwinian model of mutation in pharmaceutical companies.

Evolution of Excellence


May, 2015    SMM-125

Evolution of Excellence

Many examples of excellence don’t stand the test of time. How can we better understand how firms become and remain excellent? And how might that understanding change the way we grow our own organisation’s capabilities? Professor Brian D Smith’s article, published in Sri Lankan Marketer, suggests the answer lies in the related sciences of complexity and evolution.

Great Divides


May, 2015    SMM-124

Great Divides

In this article, Professor Brian D Smith describes how three fundamental strategic choices are leading to the fragmentation of the traditional research-based business model. This article will help managers understand how their organisations and competitors are evolving.

Coming Together


April, 2015    SMM-123

Coming Together

Pharma and medtech are converging to form “pharmatech” business models that are very strong competitors. It will be of interest to those who must compete against them or who want to become one of them.

Friend or Foe


June, 2015    SMM-127

Friend or Foe

This article looks at the implications of co-evolutionary theory for pharma companies.

Mission Critical


March, 2015    SMM-122

Mission Critical

This feature article is an interesting by-product of Brian Smith’s research with industry leaders. It describes about how leaders mitigate the isolation they sometimes feel by using strategy counsellors. It also provides useful guidance about getting the best out of this kind of support.

Under Pressure


March, 2015    SMM-121

Under Pressure

This short article summarises some of Brian’s research into the selection pressures that are acting on and shaping business models in life sciences. It introduces ideas about how various market changes act differentially on different business model types.

A Matter of Trust


February, 2015    SMM-120

A Matter of Trust

This is a short article that looks at the likely future relevance of consumer brand trust to pharma companies.

Searching for Junk


January, 2015    SMM_119

Searching for Junk

A short article that looks at recent acquisitions in medical industries and suggests questions executives should ask to ascertain whether their acquisition strategy has the right focus.

Pharma’s Pigeons


January, 2015    SMM-117

Pharma’s Pigeons

This short article describes how rare disease business models are an early sign of the evolutionary path of some pharma companies. It’s a good way to put this increasingly popular strategy into a wider context.

Six Great Shifts


November, 2014    SMM-118

Six Great Shifts

This feature article from PharmaFocus Asia pulls together all the complex changes in our industry environment to identify six evolutionary selection pressures that will determine whether business models survive or become extinct. It’s a good framework to help make sense of our industry.

Sharper Focus


November, 2014    SMM-116

Sharper Focus

Strategies often get lost in translation as they are communicated along the chain of command. This article examines how a highly effective brand teams connect high-level strategy with operational activity.

Balancing Act


November, 2014    SMM-115

Balancing Act

Company culture acts as a brake on change, preventing adaptation to fast-moving markets. This article (from the Darwin’s Medicine series) looks at how to overcome this problem without throwing away the unique advantages your culture gives your company.

Death Valley


October, 2014    SMM-114

Death Valley

For life sciences companies, evolving is becoming harder not easier. Sometimes an injection of new genes is imperative for survival. This article is part of the Darwin’s Medicine series, published in Pharmaceutical Marketing Europe.

It’s In Our Genes


September, 2014    SMM-113

It’s In Our Genes

Evolution is almost always used as a synonym for change and DNA as a metaphor for habits. However,by relegating evolution to a mere metaphor, we risk missing the value in the best idea anyone has ever had. It isn’t a metaphor for what’s happening to the medical industries – variation, selection and amplification, are all parts of evolution that is happening all around us.

Managing Uncertainty


July, 2014    SMM-112

Managing Uncertainty

In a feature article published in Pharmaceutical Marketing Europe, Professor Brian D Smith looks at how futures we cannot predict require a different approach to strategy making.

History Rhymes


July, 2014    SMM-111

History Rhymes

In this, the latest in the Darwin’s Medicine series from Pharmaceutical Marketing Europe, Professor Brian D Smith looks at how recent events in the pharmaceutical industry are an echo from the 19th century.

Nothing Makes Sense


May, 2014    SMM-110

Nothing Makes Sense

This article in PME’s Darwin’s Medicine series discusses how evolutionary theory helps us understand and adapt to the industry’s latest deal-making frenzy. 

Pharma’s Shrinking Waterhole


June, 2014    SMM-109

Pharma’s Shrinking Waterhole

A paradox of evolution is that well adapted creatures are also the most vulnerable; species thrive in their chosen habitat but decline when it changes. The same analogy helps us to see the strategic necessity for pharma companies to reconsider how they will survive in a future industry. This is the third article in Professor Brian D Smith’s series of Darwin’s Medicine articles, published by Pharmaceutical Marketing Europe.

Sex is a Good Trick


April, 2014    SMM-107

Sex is a Good Trick

In this article – part of PME’s Darwin’s Medicine series – Brian D Smith explains why pharma companies – and payers – should stop incestuous ‘best practice’ behaviours and look for new ways of comparing options.

Hollow Victory


April, 2014    SMM-108

Hollow Victory

 How success traps companies and makes them vulnerable to competition.

Lessons on the Value of Service


March, 2014    SMM-105

Lessons on the Value of Service

 Professor Brian D Smith explores why so many medtech companies find it hard to create and offer customer added value services and gives tips on how to overcome this difficulty to gain competitive advantage.

Certainty Comes Too Late (Darwin’s Medicine)


February, 2014    SMM-106

Certainty Comes Too Late (Darwin’s Medicine)

This is the first column in the new Darwin’s Medicine series in Pharmaceutical Marketing Europe. Prof Brian D Smith points out the practical implications of an evolving pharmaceutical market where, by the time we actually see the changes, it will be too late to do anything about them.

The Adaptation Puzzle


January, 2014    SMM-102

The Adaptation Puzzle

 With so may attempts failing, isn’t it time you restructured your approach to change management?

Rising to the Challenge


December, 2013    SMM-101

Rising to the Challenge

The medtech industry is a constant battle between established firms and emerging rivals. What do these battles tell us about strategies for maintaining or overturning an entrenched market position? Professor Brian D Smith’s research into the industry’s evolution points to three key themes and highlights companies from whom lessons can be learnt. 

Modern Values


July, 2013    SMM-100

Modern Values

 Understanding the new concepts and processes of value will be the first steps towards adapting to a new healthcare environment.

Capturing an elusive phenomenon: developing and testing a multiple perspective model of marketing strategy implementation


September, 2013    SAI-053

Capturing an elusive phenomenon: developing and testing a multiple perspective model of marketing strategy implementation

This paper reports on a survey of executives in pharmaceutical and medical technology companies concerning strategy implementation. It finds that the written strategy is not always implemented and that the reasons for this include both intra-organisational conflict and individual self-interest.

Breaking Free From Medtech’s Iron Cage


August, 2013    SMM-099

Breaking Free From Medtech’s Iron Cage

Adapting to changes in the market environment is critical to the survival of any organisation. So, why do so many medtech companies find it particularly challenging to implement strategic change in order to adapt? Professor Brian Smith’s research reveals hidden barriers to managing change and finds out from successful change-managers their secret to overcoming them.

Emerging Models


April, 2013    SMM-097

Emerging Models

When thinking about the evolution of the pharma industry, it’s easy to think in terms of struggles between incumbent dinosaurs and emerging new business models with a ‘survival of the fittest’ conclusion. But this is to take too simplistic a view of the complex adaptive system that is our industry. Increasingly, our research suggests a more sophisticated description for the sector’s development, with important implications for leadership and strategy.

The Future of Pharma? Speciation, Sex and Death


April, 2013    SMM-096

The Future of Pharma? Speciation, Sex and Death

Having published a 3-year research project and an 80,000 word book on the subject, I am often asked, by pharma executives too impatient to read the whole story, “So, in a nutshell, what is the future of Pharma?” Hiding my amusement that such a huge subject can be compressed into a sound bite, my usual reply is: “Speciation, sex and death”. Of course, my slightly flippant answer begets a puzzled look so, if you have the patience, here is a slightly fuller version.

The role of product life cycle in medical technology innovation


March, 2013    SMM-095

The role of product life cycle in medical technology innovation

Based on a review of both general and context specific literature in this field, this paper finds that medical technology innovation is strongly influenced by life cycle effects, particularly with respect to price erosion. It also finds that our general understanding of product life cycle indicates that individual curves are strongly influenced by supply side constraints, such as patent protection and barriers to entry, and demand side factors, such as market heterogeneity and diffusion mechanisms. This has important social and economic implications for access to improved therapies, healthcare spending and investment in innovation.

Fitness First


February, 2013    SMM-094

Fitness First

As the market changes, existing capabilities become useless and new ones become essential. Professor Brian D Smith describes how pharma companies become fit for the future

Megatrends that will impact the future of medtech


December, 2012    SMM-093

Megatrends that will impact the future of medtech

The medical technology sector is being reshaped by fundamental changes that will destroy old business models and demand new capabilities.

Excellence in market access strategy: A research-based definition and diagnostic tool


December, 2012    SMM-092

Excellence in market access strategy: A research-based definition and diagnostic tool

Market access strategy is a pressing and important issue for almost all pharmaceutical and medical technology companies. Yet the content of market access strategy is poorly defined and is often confused with process, objective and operational activity. Further, little is known about the differences between strong and weak market access strategies. Based on four in-depth case studies, this article proposes a tested definition of what market access strategy is. It identifies nine factors that characterise the strength of any market access strategy and proposes a graduated scale for those nine factors that enables the objective assessment of the strength of market access strategies prior to execution.

Access all areas


November, 2012    SMM-091

Access all areas

Market Access is a major issue facing innovative medical technology companies. In this article, Professor Brian D Smith reveals the characteristics that differentiate strong market access strategies from the weak ones.

Testing Times


October, 2012    SMM-089

Testing Times

Most medtech firms find the annual business plan review an unsatisfactory process. Research into the few who do find the process beneficial reveals three valuable lessons.

Superior segmentation


April, 2012    SMM-088

Superior segmentation

As patients and payers join in the prescribing decision, the industry needs new models of definition.

Lifecycle management


March, 2012    SMM-087

Lifecycle management

Product life cycle is a concept that is so familiar that we barely think about it; but at a time when business growth is harder than ever, understanding how this idea applies in medical technology markets is essential to a product’s return on investment.

JMM Research Watch Vol 11.4


September, 2011    JMM-030

JMM Research Watch Vol 11.4

This review of peer-reviewed research covers topics from allocating marketing budgets to HMO tactics, from health advocacy organisations to sales team technology and from outsourcing to CROs to the adoption of new medical technology.

JMM Research Watch Vol 11.3


June, 2011    JMM-029

JMM Research Watch Vol 11.3

This quarter’s review of published research reflects some of the most compelling issues facing medical marketers: Innovation, finance and the creation of
new markets.

JMM Research Watch Volume 12.1


February, 2012    JMM-031

JMM Research Watch Volume 12.1

This review of published papers covers the big trends in medical markets, from health economics to innovation and emerging markets.

Two Tribes


February, 2012    SMM-086

Two Tribes

Among the cultural similarities that are shared by every pharmaceutical company is the tribalism of sales and marketing. Longstanding methods to try to bridge the divide have failed, so now it is time to look at new solutions.

Pinpoint Precision


December, 2011    SMM-085

Pinpoint Precision

It is important to improve the risk-adjusted return on investment ratio when performing the annual brand plan review.

The Causes of Healthcare Inflation


December, 2011    SMM-084

The Causes of Healthcare Inflation

To understand the belief that medical technology costs drive healthcare inflation it is useful to trace its origins. The idea that spending on medical technology is a primary driver of healthcare costs is often traced to the work of US health economist
Joseph Newhouse. In this, the fourth of a series of research briefs for the European Health Technology Institute (EHTI), Professor Brian D Smith looks at Newhouse’s work and discusses truth versus myth.

An Unfolding Story: The Emerging Picture of the Value of New Medical Technology


October, 2011    SMM-083

An Unfolding Story: The Emerging Picture of the Value of New Medical Technology

In this European Health Technology Institute research brief, Professor Brian D Smith looks at the value of innovative medical technology and how research has uncovered a clear pattern in health economics.

Six Lessons for Knowledge Based Marketers


October, 2011    SAI-051

Six Lessons for Knowledge Based Marketers

Professor Brian D Smith describes how marketing in knowledge-based industries is different from other businesses.

Improving HTA in Medical Technology: Six Goals for Constructive Engagement


August, 2011    SMM-082

Improving HTA in Medical Technology: Six Goals for Constructive Engagement

In this European Health Technology Institute research brief, Professor Brian D Smith looks at how Medical technology companies need to help health technology assessment processes become better at identifying real value.

Beyond KOL management: Communities of practice as a new perspective on pharmaceutical market penetration


March, 2011    SMM-076

Beyond KOL management: Communities of practice as a new perspective on pharmaceutical market penetration

Pharmaceutical marketers have traditionally relied heavily on the diffusion of innovation model and the associated idea of the key opinion leader. However, these ideas are strongly rooted in consumer markets and have little empirical support in the complex, professional decision making process typical of pharmaceutical markets. This article, co-authored with senior staff from Cegedim, considers as an alternative the concept of communities of practice model and discusses the implications of this for future research and the practice of pharmaceutical marketing.

Turf Wars: what the intraorganisational conflict literature may contribute to our understanding of marketing strategy implementation


February, 2011    SAI-050

Turf Wars: what the intraorganisational conflict literature may contribute to our understanding of marketing strategy implementation

The problem of strategy non-implementation is important and complex but poorly understood. This paper published in the Journal of Strategic Marketing explores the explanatory value of theories regarding intraorganisational conflict. It concludes that certain concepts from this area, when augmented with ideas from the social psychology literature and empirical observations of marketing’s interface with other functions, help our understanding of marketing strategy implementation. This may form the basis of future work towards improving the understanding and management of strategy implementation.

The Road Ahead


January, 2011    SMM-074

The Road Ahead

Our strategy for the future is dependent on what has happened in the past. This article looks at how path dependency theory can help us do a better job of creating strong marketing strategies.

Survival Instincts


July, 2011    SMM-081

Survival Instincts

Changes in pharma’s market environment will drive the extinction of current business models and the evolution of new ones. What will pharma companies have to do to survive and thrive in this new world? This third in a series of three articles looks at the decisions that the pharmaceutical industry’s leaders face.

Fierce Creatures


June, 2011    SMM-080

Fierce Creatures

Changes in the social and technological environments are radically reshaping pharma’s competitive landscape, driving the extinction of current business models and the evolution of new ones. But what will those new business models look like? This second in a series of three articles looks at the new creatures that will emerge to populate the pharma market of the future.

Evolutionary Theory


May, 2011    SMM-079

Evolutionary Theory

The global pharmaceutical industry is on the brink of huge change, squeezed between what science makes possible and economics makes practical. But what might that change be? If this industry is to continue to make its huge contribution to society, more than speculation and informed guesswork is required; this knowledge-based industry needs to apply science to understanding its own fate. This first in a series of three articles looks at the future for pharma and what that prediction implies.

JMM Research Watch Vol 11.2


April, 2011    JMM-028

JMM Research Watch Vol 11.2

A selection of research drawn from a special issue of the Journal of Marketing Management, focussed on Value Marketing in the Health Care Industry.

Fit Your Market


April, 2011    SMM-078

Fit Your Market

Best practice and benchmarking are buzzwords in pharma marketing effectiveness, but the whole idea is flawed and management research is full of examples of benchmarking and best practice failing in the short term. A more scientific approach to evaluating the effectiveness of marketing strategies will result in plans that work for a specific company. The magic word is contingency.

JMM Research Watch Vol 11.1


March, 2011    JMM-027

JMM Research Watch Vol 11.1

This selection of research covers the topics of CSR, price regulation and generic competition.

Growing Opportunity


December, 2010    SMM-073

Growing Opportunity

A summary of recently published academic research about growth and innovation that is relevant to pharma marketing.

Pooling Ideas


November, 2010    SMM-072

Pooling Ideas

New research into doctors’ behaviour could force a reappraisal of Key Opinion Leader management, say Dr Brian D Smith and Marcus Bergler in this feature article from Pharmaceutical Marketing.

JMM Research Watch Vol 10.4


October, 2010    JMM-026

JMM Research Watch Vol 10.4

This selection of research covers a wide range of topics, from R & D productivity to how patients perceive risk and from team-based selling to parallel trade.

The Observation Effect


October, 2010    SMM-070

The Observation Effect

This review of published research looks at corporate social responsibility (CSR), including studies of some of the most important companies in the pharmaceutical industry.

Survival of the Fittest


September, 2010    SMM-071

Survival of the Fittest

This review of published research considers varying views on adapting pharma business models to fit the changing environment.

Community Focus


September, 2010    SMM-067

Community Focus

New data suggests that marketers must shift their attention from individual influencers to complex decision-making units, say Dr Brian D Smith and Marcus Bergler, in this feature in Pharmaceutical Marketing.

Seeking Success


August, 2010    SMM-068

Seeking Success

One thing that has become apparent through recent research by Dr Brian D Smith is that many senior industry executives foresee, over the next decade, fundamental change in the sector. This selection of published research looks at several areas that are likely to form part of that transformation.

Risk and Reward


July, 2010    SMM-069

Risk and Reward

From early stage development partnerships to wording adverse event warnings, this crop of peer-reviewed research has lessons from marketers working across the pharmaceutical development spectrum.

Guiding Light


June, 2010    SMM-066

Guiding Light

This Research Roundup issue’s selection of new research reviews published academic research on a wide range of topics including innovation, product development, remuneration and IP.

Reap the Rewards


June, 2010    SMM-065

Reap the Rewards

Market access has become the foundation of most pharmaceutical go-to-market strategies. However, without implementation, strategy is just a fantasy and new research Pragmedic has conducted reveals that many market access plans fail to become reality. More surprisingly, this situation seems to be caused by some of the management practices that are meant to ensure implementation.

Back to the Future


June, 2010    SMM-064

Back to the Future

One of the things that has emerged from Pragmedic’s recent research is that the current pharmaceutical industry landscape is the result of powerful political, economic, technical and social forces. In this article, Dr Brian D. Smith discusses how the pharma industry has been, and will be, shaped by the flows of history.

Managing the changes


May, 2010    SMM-063

Managing the changes

The research reviewed in this article looks at different aspects of change in an attempt to uncover what specific changes augur for how pharmaceutical marketers operate.

Discretion is the better part of value


April, 2010    SMM-062

Discretion is the better part of value

Without effective implementation, strategic planning is a futile exercise. In knowledge-intensive markets, such as those for pharmaceuticals and medical technology, the most important, value-creating parts of strategy implementation rely on the discretionary activity of motivated, committed individuals. This article reviews previous research into individual motivation and commitment and draws from it five recommendations for improving strategy implementation, all of which contradict typical management practice.

JMM Research Watch Vol 10.3


April, 2010    JMM-025

JMM Research Watch Vol 10.3

Dr Brian D Smith reviews research in the field of change management with a view to how this applies in medical marketing.

What’s really going on?


March, 2010    SMM-061

What’s really going on?

Pharmaceutical marketers often have to make decisions without reams of supporting data and it’s hard to imagine a situation in which marketers’ decisions will ever be as evidence-based as, for example, their clinical or scientific colleagues. But it would be unprofessional to hide behind a “we can’t be perfect so let’s not try” attitude.

Spurring Success


January, 2010    SMM-060

Spurring Success

How can we use our knowledge of motivation and commitment to achieve strategy implementation and create value? This article from the Jobs and Careers section of Pharmaceutical Marketing looks at what motivates managers to achieve good strategy implementation.

Break Out


March, 2010    SMM-059

Break Out

Invisible constraints on the company environment can hinder effective strategic change. In this feature article in Pharmaceutical Marketing Europe, Dr Brian Smith looks at institutional theory and applies it to the changing environment of to the global pharmaceutical industry.

JMM Research Watch Vol 10.2


March, 2010    JMM-024

JMM Research Watch Vol 10.2

A review of recent research that reports important findings both about health care systems and the industry.

Seven Deadly Sins of Marketing Excellence


February, 2010    SMM-058

Seven Deadly Sins of Marketing Excellence

Marketing excellence programmes have become ubiquitous. Although going under different names, the urge to improve marketing capabilities has seized most pharmaceutical companies. This is predictable as the industry matures and it becomes harder to differentiate technologically; competitive advantage in future must flow from the ability to segment, position and deliver extended value propositions. Yet if one examines the results of this up-skilling frenzy, the results are disappointing.

Model Answer


February, 2010    SMM-057

Model Answer

Like many models, the famous 4Ps model emerged from consumer marketing research and is still taught with a heavy B2C bias. The principle of a consistent set of variables that creates value for the customer applies just as well in pharmaceuticals, but its effective application needs revision before implementation to modern pharma markets.

Through a Glass Darkly


February, 2010    SMM-056

Through a Glass Darkly

Human beings can only have an imperfect view of the world. As pharmaceutical marketers, this is most obvious when we try to understand the way our business environment is changing. By the time things are clear and obvious, it is too late. This article in Pharmaceutical Marketing’s Research Roundup series highlights how early indications of where the market is heading and how companies learn and react are especially valuable.

Against the Odds


January, 2010    SMM-055

Against the Odds

International research can guide us in adapting to changes in the marketplace. (Part of the Pharmaceutical Marketing Research Roundup series.)

The Science of Marketing


January, 2010    SFP-018

The Science of Marketing

Marketing is more science-based than one might realise. Dr Brian D Smith looks at Resource Advantage Theory and how it applies to Marketing.

Multiple Perspectives


December, 2009    SMM-054

Multiple Perspectives

Synthesised research provides useful, practical solutions to management problems. (Part of the Pharmaceutical Marketing Research Roundup series.)

Displaced Concepts


November, 2009    SMM-053

Displaced Concepts

Research papers with roots outside pharma consider how channels to market work. (Part of the Pharmaceutical Marketing Research Roundup series.)

Turning the Key


November, 2009    SAI-049

Turning the Key

Dr Brian D. Smith and Lindsay Bruce look at how sales teams can make key account and key opinion leader strategies work.

Survival of the Dumbest


December, 2009    SFP-017

Survival of the Dumbest

Definitions of the same management strategy terms can vary significantly. This is important in practice as it can lead to communication problems. There are clear explanations for why and how this ‘dumbing down’ of strategic concepts occurs. Whether we’ll find a solution or simply adapt to live with it remains to be seen.

Maybe I Will, Maybe I Won’t


December, 2009    SAI-048

Maybe I Will, Maybe I Won’t

The full title of this article, published in the Journal of Strategic Marketing, is Maybe I Will, Maybe I Won’t: what the connected perspectives of motivation theory and organisational commitment may contribute to our understanding of strategy implementation. This paper reviews the management problem of marketing strategy implementation and proposes some new perspectives on the subject. It finds that the well-developed research into motivation theory and organisational commitment theory offer useful perspectives on strategy implementation. As an academic paper, it also suggests five postulates and accompanying hypotheses for future empirical work.

Nothing So Practical (Research Watch)


September, 2009    JMM-022

Nothing So Practical (Research Watch)

Responding to those who dismiss theory as the antonym of practical, Kurt Lewin, an American psychologist, was reported to have said that ‘there is nothing so practical as a good theory.’ Not only do I agree, but I pity those who don’t understand the importance of theory in explaining practical, real-life problems. This review of recent literature provides wide-ranging evidence of the value of theory in practice.

Exploratory Study of KOL Management Trends in European Pharmaceutical Companies


September, 2009    SMM-052

Exploratory Study of KOL Management Trends in European Pharmaceutical Companies

Opinion leadership is a well-defined concept. Likely changes in the pharmaceutical sector, consequences of its industry life cycle, are anticipated to make key opinion leader (KOL) management more important still. Despite this, little is known about the scope of KOL management processes in pharmaceutical companies or the trends that those processes may follow in response to industry changes. This article presents the findings of an exploratory, qualitative study involving 18 pharmaceutical company executives with responsibility for KOL management. It suggests that an enhanced, formalised, integrated and IT-enabled model of KOL management will evolve and that many leading companies have extant plans to realise such an approach.

Overcoming “them and us”


November, 2009    SFP-016

Overcoming “them and us”

When we strongly identify with our group, we instinctively identify against people in other groups. However, this persistence of stone-age group identity thinking doesn’t help us in the information age.

Time to put away childish things


October, 2009    SFP-015

Time to put away childish things

It is common to see experienced executives defending outmoded ideas with ferocious determination and irrationality. My research sheds some light on why otherwise intelligent people may revert to such childish behaviour.

Inside the modern salesforce


October, 2009    O2N-008

Inside the modern salesforce

Business to Business (B2B) sales operations is very different from business to consumer (B2C) selling. The traditional salesperson is fast becoming obsolete but, as with many things in management, the picture is much more complex than the headline.

Culture Kaleidoscope


October, 2009    SMM-051

Culture Kaleidoscope

Managing the myriad of perspectives within the marketing team is fraught with complications. It takes skill to manage cultural differences without too much conflict, but to do so is rewarded with better decision making.

Caged Companies


September, 2009    O2N-007

Caged Companies

When was the last time you heard someone in your company or organisation talk about change? Changing strategies, changing business models, changing culture, changing attitudes. Modern management philosophy seems obsessed with change. Yet, if you stick around a while, say five years or more, how much real change do you see?

Spot the Difference


July, 2009    O2N-006

Spot the Difference

If I’m ever invited onto the Today programme and forced to come up with a sound bite about how to spot the difference between successful firms and failures, I think I’d have the answer: Beware of buzzwords and read the research.

Matchmaking process


October, 2009    SM-050

Matchmaking process

Pharmaceutical marketing, it has often been observed, is a matching process – the need to marry the capabilities and limitations of the huge and complex life-sciences knowledge domain with the equally complex needs of patients and healthcare systems. This research review illustrates some of the many facets of this matchmaking process.

Straddling or Focusing: The moment of truth


September, 2009    SFP-014

Straddling or Focusing: The moment of truth

Dr Brian D. Smith suggests that our industry is about to prove or disprove a fundamental academic theory: that straddling generics and innovation is an unsustainable business model. Part of the Strategy Fundamentals series.

An exploratory study of key opinion leadership management trends among European pharmaceutical companies


September, 2009    SMM-049

An exploratory study of key opinion leadership management trends among European pharmaceutical companies

Opinion leadership is a well-defined concept that underpins much marketing practice in the pharmaceutical and other industries. Likely changes in that sector, consequences of its industry life cycle, are anticipated to make key opinion leader (KOL) management more important still. Despite this, little is known about the scope of KOL management processes in pharmaceutical companies or the trends that those processes may follow in response to industry changes. This article presents the findings of an exploratory, qualitative study involving 18 pharmaceutical company executives with responsibility for KOL management. It suggests that an enhanced, formalised, integrated and IT-enabled model of KOL management will evolve and that many leading companies have extant plans to realise such an approach.

The Key to Success


September, 2009    SMM-048

The Key to Success

Pharmaceutical Marketing Europe feature article that discusses the effective management of an increasingly complex network of Key Opinion Leaders.

Good Idea In Theory


September, 2009    SMM-047

Good Idea In Theory

Theory has a bad name among marketers. As the antonym to practical or realistic, it has become a pejorative term that we use to disparage any idea we think has little value. Yet, when we belittle it, we discard a wealth of management research that can, if used properly, make a real difference in business.

Self Promotion


September, 2009    SMM-045

Self Promotion

Marketers should apply strategic marketing tenets to personal development for more lucrative and fulfilling careers.

Across the Breadth


September, 2009    SMM-046

Across the Breadth

A selection of recent academic research that illustrates the huge breadth of topics that marketers are expected to understand – covering everything from branding to forecasting, key account management (KAM) to outsourcing R&D, even war-gaming! (Part of the Research Roundup series in Pharmaceutical Marketing.)

Ask the Oracle


August, 2009    SMM-044

Ask the Oracle

Most of the practical problems faced by pharmaceutical marketers have been answered, at least in part, by published academic research. (Part of the Research Roundup series in Pharmaceutical Marketing)

JMM Research Watch Vol 9.3


July, 2009    JMM-021

JMM Research Watch Vol 9.3

A review of current research for medical marketers. Journal of Medical Marketing volume 9.3

Men from the Boys


July, 2009    SMM-043

Men from the Boys

Research reveals that, despite its willingness, pharma is not meeting the criteria for strong KAM

Key Account Management: Always read the label


July, 2009    SFP-013

Key Account Management: Always read the label

Dr Brian D. Smith traces the origins of key account management and how it applies in pharmaceutical markets.

Too much market focus can be a bad thing


May, 2009    SFP-011

Too much market focus can be a bad thing

It may seem heresy to an MBA-trained executive, but too strong a market focus can be a bad thing.

Research Roundup


July, 2009    SMM-042

Research Roundup

A look at recently published academic research affecting pharmaceutical marketing. Published in Pharmaceutical Marketing July 2009.

Keeping up with KOLs


June, 2009    SFP-012

Keeping up with KOLs

Dr Brian D. Smith looks at the origins and future of key opinion leadership.

JMM Research Watch Vol 9.2


June, 2009    JMM-020

JMM Research Watch Vol 9.2

A review of current research for medical marketers. Journal of Medical Marketing volume 9.2

Myth, Reality & Requirements in Pharmaceutical Key Account Management


June, 2009    SMM-041

Myth, Reality & Requirements in Pharmaceutical Key Account Management

Key Account Management (KAM) is an important approach to the development and maintenance of large accounts, especially in the mature market conditions found in many pharmaceutical and related businesses. However, the meaning and practice and KAM has been blurred and weakened by misuse of the term. This paper identifies five requirements for the application of KAM in pharmaceutical and related markets.

Switching Paths


May, 2009    SMM-040

Switching Paths

For many sales people a few years into their career, the leap from sales to marketing can seem an attractive, perhaps even obvious, step. Yet, as a by-product of our research into how firms make and implement marketing strategies, we find this move often falls short of expectations. The consequences for both the individual and the firm can be serious, so it is worth examining both the underlying reasons for this failure and the practical lessons that come from our observations.

Segmentation: A marketing mirage?


April, 2009    SFP-010

Segmentation: A marketing mirage?

Segmentation is often the answer … except when it isn’t, says Dr Brian D Smith.

Complex Weave


April, 2009    SMM-039

Complex Weave

Value is created at the intersections of many different functions and knowledge domains, says Dr Brian D Smith in this article in Pharmaceutical Marketing Europe.

JMM Research Watch Vol 9.1


March, 2009    JMM-019

JMM Research Watch Vol 9.1

A review of current research for medical marketers Journal of Medical Marketing Volume 9.1.

The name game


March, 2003    RWM-006

The name game

Dr Brian Smith sifts through the latest research on branding.

To boldly go


February, 2003    RWM-005

To boldly go

Dr Brian Smith looks at research which could help you take brave steps into the unknown.

Marketing begins with an R


January, 2003    RWM-004

Marketing begins with an R

New research that shows how relationship marketing has taken a central place in marketers’ thoughts.

Tools of the future


November, 2002    RWM-003

Tools of the future

Research into modern marketing concepts that would have been alien to earlier generations.

Time to embrace complexity


October, 2002    RWM-002

Time to embrace complexity

In seeking effectiveness, there is no single answer. Effectiveness lies in co ordinating sources of competitive advantage around the customer.

Exposing Executive Bias


March, 2009    SFP-009

Exposing Executive Bias

The way we explain things to ourselves helps explain executive behaviour, says Dr Brian D. Smith

Brave the jargon, embrace institutional theory


February, 2009    SFP-008

Brave the jargon, embrace institutional theory

Your company is wrapped in a knot of constraints and pressures, and it’s naive to try to manage without understanding this, says Dr Brian D. Smith as he looks at institutional theory.

A Matter of Definition


February, 2009    O2N-005

A Matter of Definition

Dr Brian D Smith looks at what a market is and why it matters.
(Open University Money & Management Blog)

Promoting a Peaceful Workplace


December, 2008    SFP-007

Promoting a Peaceful Workplace

Conflict between departments costs money, wastes time and hinders strategy implementation. But we can reduce it and manage it if we understand it, says Dr Brian D. Smith

Using the Wooden Spoon


November, 2008    SFP-006

Using the Wooden Spoon

Sometimes the original tools work better than new hi-tech gadgets. Dr Brian Smith considers the value of Ansoff’s 2×2 matrix for pharmaceutical marketers.

The Synergy Mirage


November, 2008    O2N-004

The Synergy Mirage

Dr Brian Smith looks at how firms build synergy
(Open University Money & Management blog)

Schein on culture


October, 2008    SFP-004

Schein on culture

The only cultural change that really works is that which begins with changing core assumptions.

The Value of VRIO


September, 2008    SFP-005

The Value of VRIO

Dr Brian Smith looks at resourced based theory and it’s application to pharmaceutical marketing.

Built on sand


August, 2008    SFP-003

Built on sand

Why does much of the work of market analysts and management teams result in so much data but so little understanding?

Just do it


July, 2008    SFP-002

Just do it

Unsuccessful firms believe the buy-in fallacy; successful firms don’t. They create a strong strategy, then they just do it.

Marrying Companies


July, 2008    O2N-003

Marrying Companies

Dr Brian Smith looks at mergers and acquisitions in the credit crunch.
(Open University Money & Management blog)

Hidden in books


June, 2008    SFP-001

Hidden in books

Senior executives struggle with the implementation of strategy despite the fact that the answers they seek have been known in the field of management science for many years.

JMM Research Watch Vol 8.3


June, 2008    JMM-018

JMM Research Watch Vol 8.3

A review of current research for medical marketers Journal of Medical Marketing Volume 8.3.

JMM Research Watch Vol 8.2


March, 2008    JMM-017

JMM Research Watch Vol 8.2

A review of current research for medical marketers Journal of Medical Marketing Volume 8.2

JMM Research Watch Vol 8.1


January, 2008    JMM-016

JMM Research Watch Vol 8.1

A review of current research for medical marketers Journal of Medical Marketing Volume 8.1

Do It Yourself


April, 2007    RWM-047

Do It Yourself

Dr Brian Smith Reviews some recent research on change in marketing.

Leader of the Pack


November, 2006    RWM-042

Leader of the Pack

Dr Brian Smith reviews an exceptionally rich crop of recent management research, covering management innovation, performance managerment, market orientation and tailoring of marketing activity.

JMM Research Watch Vol 6.4


November, 2006    JMM-011

JMM Research Watch Vol 6.4

A review of current research for medical marketers
Journal of Medical Marketing Volume 6.4

Pay attention, here comes the science bit


October, 2006    RWM-041

Pay attention, here comes the science bit

Dr Brian Smith looks at research papers into the scientific and technological aspects behind marketing.

JMM Research Watch Vol 6.3


October, 2006    JMM-010

JMM Research Watch Vol 6.3

A review of current research for medical marketers
Journal of Medical Marketing Volume 6.3

The Missing Link


September, 2006    RWM-040

The Missing Link

Dr Brian Smith reviews an eclectic mix of research which concludes that competing depends on innovation based on knowledge management that is driven by managerial style.

JMM Research Watch Vol 6.1


July, 2006    JMM-009

JMM Research Watch Vol 6.1

A review of current research for medical marketers
Journal of Medical Marketing Volume 6.1

It’s a Small World


June, 2006    RWM-038

It’s a Small World

Dr Brian smith reveals how the latest research on global marketing makes this imposing topic easier to tackle.

Focused Minds


May, 2006    RWM-037

Focused Minds

Dr Brian Smith reviews some of the recent research into marketing accountability.

Trust No-one


April, 2006    RWM-036

Trust No-one

Market research drives most good marketing, but those who use it would do well to be less trusting and more analytical, suggests Dr Brian Smith in his review of recent academic research in this area.

Back to Basics


March, 2006    RWM-035

Back to Basics

Dr Brian Smith gets controversial about management research – some of the old stuff is better than the new, he says

Doing your best


January, 2006    RWM-034

Doing your best

A review of recent research in the field of professional development finds the subject to be both essential and difficult.

JMM Research Watch Vol 5.4


December, 2005    JMM-008

JMM Research Watch Vol 5.4

A review of current research for medical marketers
Journal of Medical Marketing Volume 5.4

Direct Hit


November, 2005    RWM-033

Direct Hit

Of all the many areas of the marketing profession, direct marketing is perhaps the most affected by what strategists call ‘far environment’ factors such as technology, globalisation and legislation. These changes are reflected in this month’s review of the latest research.

A necessary evil


October, 2005    RWM-032

A necessary evil

Changes in legislation have an important influence on what marketers can and should do. Dr Brian Smith reviews some recent papers focusing on this area which reinforce the importance of legislation in the field of marketing.

Head for heights


September, 2005    RWM-031

Head for heights

Dr Brian Smith discusses research that helps explain why marketing seems to be under-represented in the boardroom and how it can regain political weight by reconnecting marketing strategy to shareholder value.

The Silo Myth


July, 2005    RWM-030

The Silo Myth

In this review of new research, Dr Brian Smith looks at the overlap between Marketing and Human Resources and discovers that these functions should ignore that overlap at their peril.

JMM Research Watch Vol 5.3


July, 2005    JMM-007

JMM Research Watch Vol 5.3

A review of current research for medical marketers
Journal of Medical Marketing Volume 5.3

Taking care of business


June, 2005    RWM-029

Taking care of business

Despite the majority of companies and marketers working in non-consumer sectors, the idea persists that B2B marketing is less sophisticated than its B2C cousin. Dr Brian Smith considers the latest research on B2B marketing.

Guessing Games


May, 2005    RWM-028

Guessing Games

From websites to data mines to R&D, technology is important to marketers. Dr Brian Smith reviews research that looks at how technology is changing marketing.

The Only Way


April, 2005    RWM-027

The Only Way

You cannot practise marketing without using segmentation says Dr Brian Smith in this month’s review of recent research.

JMM Research Watch Vol 5.2


April, 2005    JMM-006

JMM Research Watch Vol 5.2

A review of current research for medical marketers
Journal of Medical Marketing Volume 5.2

Different Strokes


March, 2005    RWM-026

Different Strokes

Dr Brian Smith treads carefully as he sorts through the latest research on gender.

Grub Then Ethics


January, 2005    RWM-024

Grub Then Ethics

In his discussion of the latest research concerning corporate social responsibility (CSR), Dr Brian Smith reflects on the view that ‘you can’t eat principles, but you can taste their fruits’. The latest research suggests CSR is coming of age and provides useful insights for anyone trying to balance the apparently competing demands of investors and CSR.

JMM Research Watch Vol 5.1


January, 2005    JMM-005

JMM Research Watch Vol 5.1

A review of current research for medical marketers
Journal of Medical Marketing Volume 5.1

Hello Shoppers


November, 2004    RWM-023

Hello Shoppers

It seems ironic that we know far more about the many activities that cost us money than we do about our single source of income – the customer. It seems appropriate therefore to look at what the latest research is telling us about the way our customers think.

Show me the money


October, 2004    RWM-022

Show me the money

The marketer’s job is both strategic (deciding how to bring the money in) and tactical (deciding where to spend the marketing communications budget). This Research Watch focuses on the latter and weighs up what is known about the value gained from marketing spend.

Emotional Foods


September, 2004    RWM-021

Emotional Foods

The astronomer Carl Sagan once wisely noted that when we have strong emotions we fool ourselves. Certainly it is a naive marketer who thinks that all purchase decisions are entirely rational and made without emotion, as this month’s crop of new research shows.

IJMM Research Watch Vol 4.3


September, 2004    JMM-003

IJMM Research Watch Vol 4.3

A review of current research for medical marketers
International Journal of Medical Marketing Volume 4.3

Hot Stuff


July, 2004    RWM-020

Hot Stuff

Dr Brian Smith studies the latest research into branding, a subject that continues to be a hot topic with marketers.

Ready for the Quantum Leap


June, 2004    RWM-019

Ready for the Quantum Leap

Ideas and innovation sometimes cause as many problems as they solve; Dr Brian Smith reviews the latest research.

Entertaining All-Comers


May, 2004    RWM-018

Entertaining All-Comers

Marketing is one discipline where you can’t afford to be siloed in your thinking. The latest research says marketers need to understand and juggle ideas from many business functions.

IJMM Research Watch Vol 4.1


January, 2004    JMM-001

IJMM Research Watch Vol 4.1

A review of current research for medical marketers
International Journal of Medical Marketing Volume 4.1

Ammunition for marketers


November, 2003    RWM-013

Ammunition for marketers

How marketers can test and prove that their theories work.

Making assumptions


October, 2003    RWM-012

Making assumptions

New research takes a look at accepted truths and obliterates a few industry myths. Dr Brian Smith wonders why we are so fond of generalisations.

Are you worth the money?


September, 2003    RWM-011

Are you worth the money?

Dr Brian Smith finds research to help marketers measure how marketing contributes to performance.

Are we getting it right?


July, 2003    RWM-010

Are we getting it right?

Marketing information systems tell us about past performance, but how are we performing in real time against competitors who seek the same investors’ capital?

Believing is seeing


June, 2003    RWM-009

Believing is seeing

Beware your own perception; it is often biased.

Making the grey matter work


May, 2003    RWM-008

Making the grey matter work

Dr Brian Smith gathers research about the science of thinking and how it affects corporate activities.

The fatal lessons of boiling a frog


April, 2003    RWM-007

The fatal lessons of boiling a frog

Research focused on the highly topical subject of adapting and reacting to changing market conditions.

An empirical investigation of marketing strategy quality in medical markets


February, 2003    SMM-005

An empirical investigation of marketing strategy quality in medical markets

This is the first in a trilogy of papers reporting a five-year research project into marketing strategy making in medical markets. This paper reports an empirical assessment of marketing strategy quality in eighteen companies in the pharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostic and equipment sectors. It concludes that the marketing strategy of many medical companies is weak and that their survival is therefore dependent upon their competitors having even weaker strategies.

Ten steps to success


January, 2003    SAI-002

Ten steps to success

Dr Brian Smith and Professor Malcolm McDonald reveal how to use Strategy Diagnostics to test the strength of your marketing strategy before it is implemented.

The effectiveness of marketing strategy making processes: A critical literature review and a research agenda


November, 2002    SMM-004

The effectiveness of marketing strategy making processes: A critical literature review and a research agenda

This paper contributes to the literature concerning the marketing strategy process. It reviews the extant literature in this field, drawing out areas of consensus and gaps in that literature. The principal gaps identified concern non-rational strategy making processes and the combined implications of internal and external contingencies. Using well-established theories from the sociological perspective of the organisational behaviour literature, this work proposes relevant questions for future research in this field.

Achieving Excellence in CRM


October, 2002    SAI-044

Achieving Excellence in CRM

This is a report of the Cranfield CRM Research Forum’s work in 2001/2, the first year of its operation. The work of the Forum is based upon a research programme that includes both primary and secondary research. The secondary research was used to synthesise a generic model of CRM which broadly but accurately describes the management process better than previous models. This model allows practitioners to understand and create the necessary preconditions for successful CRM in any organisation. It also makes explicit the inputs, outputs and connectivity of the four sub-processes of CRM. The primary research revealed that effective CRM operates within a CRM eco-system defined by both market and organisationally based factors. Awareness of this eco-system allows organisations to avoid wasteful investment in CRM when it is not appropriate to their business situation. The primary research further revealed the evolution of the basic CRM process into five sub-species, each of which was optimally adapted to its particular place in the CRM eco-system. Understanding of this differentiation allows practitioners to define the optimal CRM process for their own situation.          This report is in two parts: Firstly, a management report summarising the results of the research; secondly a manual based upon the work. The manual, including software tools, facilitates the development of a CRM process optimised for the particular market and organisational conditions of the reader.

Culture clash


July, 2002    SAI-001

Culture clash

Corporate culture is the biggest barrier to effective marketing and attempts to manage it often fail. Dr Brian Smith reveals how ‘going with the grain’ is often the better way.

Beyond the hype


February, 2002    SAI-040

Beyond the hype

Dr Brian Smith and Dr Moira Clark outline the critical factors for successful customer relationship management. The trick, as ever, is to deduce the sense from the hype which, through a rigorous research programme, is what Cranfield University’s CRM Research Forum aims to achieve.

Managing mergers and acquisitions: Lessons from the consolidation of the medical device and diagnostics industry


September, 2000    SMM-003

Managing mergers and acquisitions: Lessons from the consolidation of the medical device and diagnostics industry

This Clinica Report aids medical device and diagnostic industry managers by gathering, analysing and adding expert opinion to the lessons that have been learned from industry consolidation. The report is structured around the three principal parts of the merger and acquisition process: consideration of merger or acquisition, selection of partners or targets and implementation of the integration process. Each chapter compares the practice of leading players with that of less effective companies and concludes with the lessons practising managers may draw from this comparison. 

Lessons for CEOs from the consolidation of the medical device and diagnostic industries


August, 2000    SMM-001

Lessons for CEOs from the consolidation of the medical device and diagnostic industries

This work reports an examination of industry consolidation in the medical device and diagnostic market. It shows that excellent companies are clearly differentiated from their less effective rivals by the care and rigour with which they approach the task. In exemplar companies, mergers and acquisitions arise from profound strategic thinking. Partner or target selection is based on the strategic aims of the deal and integration is based on the synergy realisation objectives inherent in those aims.

Achieving a market-led culture: A case study


August, 2000    SMM-002

Achieving a market-led culture: A case study

This paper describes a challenge common to many medical device companies, that of developing a market-led corporate culture in order to create sustainable competitive advantage. It describes the constraints encountered, the methods employed and the results and lessons that were the outcomes of the process. Its principal lesson is that organisational culture change is possible and rewarding, but slow and difficult. Without a deep knowledge of both culture and marketing, cultural change should not be attempted.

Remote control: understanding what drives your market


February, 2009    SAI-035

Remote control: understanding what drives your market

Writing a strategic marketing plan often begins with situation analysis – the examination of what is going on in the market. Typically, marketers spend more time looking at the task environment (customers, channels, competitors etc.) than the remote environment of social, legal, economic, political, and technological factors. This often leads to plans being written to suit yesterday’s market rather than today’s. Dr Brian Smith and Baba Awopetu discuss how to avoid this mistake by using SLEPT analysis in a structured and effective way.

Life Cycle


February, 2009    SMM-037

Life Cycle

Feature article in Pharmaceutical Marketing Europe: How the pharmaceutical industry has to change to survive.

Make your move


October, 2008    SMM-034

Make your move

Received wisdom has it that a first-mover – the first significant product in a class – has an advantage over its followers. This assumption drives pharma companies to push hard to launch sooner rather than later. My research at the Open University Business School looked for evidence that first-movers make more money than those who follow them into the market and at what the experiences of leaders and followers can teach us about how we manage our products. The answers may surprise you and could help improve brand management.

Calculated Risk


June, 2008    O2N-002

Calculated Risk

Dr Brian Smith looks at why some business ventures are riskier than others. (Open University Money & Management blog)

Driven off course


January, 2008    SMM-030

Driven off course

The greatest marketing strategy ideas cannot impact on sales if they are let down by poor implementation.

Walking the line


January, 2008    SMM-029

Walking the line

It’s not innovating that’s the most difficult – it’s creating value whilst innovating.

Measuring up


December, 2007    SAI-031

Measuring up

The fashion for business metrics has led to many advances. But ‘balanced scorecards’ have their faults. Can we improve on the system? Dr Brian Smith and Professor Keith Ward discuss.

Standing out from the crowd


December, 2007    SMM-031

Standing out from the crowd

For medical technology executives seeking to grow their business, strategy guidance that is industry-specific and research-based is hard to come by. Dr Brian D Smith explores what it is that gives successful companies the edge over others in the medtech market.

Seek First to Understand


October, 2007    SMM-028

Seek First to Understand

Before we attempt to penetrate markets such as India and China, we must first understand how these cultures operate, suggest Dr Brian D. Smith and Abigail W. Jones

Justifying CRM projects in a business-to-business context: The potential of the Benefits Dependency Network


September, 2007    SAI-047

Justifying CRM projects in a business-to-business context: The potential of the Benefits Dependency Network

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) projects often fail. Dr Brian Smith, Professor Moira Clark and Professor Hugh Wilson focus on the project justification process as one way of improving project success rates. They review how the typical combination of an Return On Investment (ROI) calculation and a project plan can have flaws as a project justification approach, and propose the use of the Benefits Dependency Network (BDN) as an additional tool. The second part of the paper reports on an exploratory study of the BDN’s use in five business-to-business CRM projects.

What is Marketing Excellence?


June, 2007    SAI-025

What is Marketing Excellence?

Dr Brian Smith looks at what marketing excellence is and how to get there.

Employer Branding Research (Sunday Times)


June, 2007    SAI-030

Employer Branding Research (Sunday Times)

The war for talent is intensifying, driven by globalisation and the shift to a knowledge based economy. An effective, strategic approach to Human Resources issues is seen by organisations as a necessary precondition for sustainable competitive advantage. Within HR strategy, employer branding is a powerful component capable of helping recruitment, retention and employee engagement. Effective employer branding is based on genuine values and achieved by high-integrity implementation as outlined in this report by Dr Brian Smith published in the Sunday Times.

No Man is an Island


May, 2007    SMM-024

No Man is an Island

CSR is not an isolated process but is linked to all corporate practices. The difficulty pharma has is identifying the benefits of this costly exercise.

Growing Pains


May, 2007    SMM-023

Growing Pains

Understanding what stage of development the pharmaceutical industry is at in its life cycle is essential for marketers to optimize their strategies, explains Dr Brian D. Smith

Extraordinary performances from ordinary people


April, 2007    SAI-024

Extraordinary performances from ordinary people

What constitutes a great leader? The Venturer speaks to two leading business researchers (Dr Brian Smith and Professor Keith Ward) and finds out.

Strategy Making: What works is what fits


March, 2007    SAI-026

Strategy Making: What works is what fits

There isn’t an ideal way of making strategy. The best will fully rreflect a firm’s culture and external relationships.

Strategy is simple, not easy


March, 2007    SAI-023

Strategy is simple, not easy

Dr Brian Smith unravels what strategy is and how to tell the good from the bad.

Excellence in medical marketing: Origins, definition and precursors


March, 2007    SMM-022

Excellence in medical marketing: Origins, definition and precursors

The maturation of markets such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices and diagnostics means that superior strategic marketing skills are now a necessary precondition for competitive advantage in those markets. This paper uses extensive prior research and original empirical work to characterise ‘ Marketing Excellence ‘ and the organisational conditions that are the precursors to achieving it.

Customer Orientation


January, 2007    SAI-022

Customer Orientation

The Finnish Magazine ‘Factor’ interviews Dr Brian Smith about what customer orientation is – now and in the future.

The Marketer’s Stone


June, 2006    SAI-018

The Marketer’s Stone

Turning data into value is difficult, but new research reveals how leading firms manage it. Dr Brian Smith, Dr Hugh Wilson and Professor Moira Clark reveal the secrets of success

As chaves do marketing (in Portugese)


May, 2006    SAI-016

As chaves do marketing (in Portugese)

Novas pesquisas revelam como e que as grandes empresas fazem com que o planeamento de marketing estrate gico resulte com elas

Easy as 1,2,3


May, 2006    SAI-015

Easy as 1,2,3

There are three levels of marketing accountability and great marketers understand them all. Applying rigour at all three levels is what distinguishes a great marketing company from the less great.

The Extra Mile


April, 2006    SMM-016

The Extra Mile

We know that marketing excellence exists, so how are pharma companies expected to achieve it, and what are the differences between ‘normal’ and ‘excellent’ practices?

The Money Pit


March, 2006    SAI-014

The Money Pit

Many marketing strategies destroy shareholder value instead of creating it. In this interview in The Marketer, Dr Brian Smith and his co-authors of Marketing Due Diligence discuss the causes and cures for this worrying situation.

In Theory


March, 2006    SMM-015

In Theory

What should pharma marketers do when faced with the task of creating a successful international strategy with a new chemical entity that may not be a totally new, fully differentiated molecule? Clinging to industry ‘best practice’ may be perceived as a route to success; but an open approach to bespoke marketing theory is more likely to help you shine.

From Data to Value


February, 2006    SAI-046

From Data to Value

This is a report of the Cranfield Customer Management Forum’s work in 2004/5.
Few companies today would define themselves as anything other than knowledge-based. For knowledge-based marketers, the critical issue is how knowledge leads to market insight, drives offer development and creates value.     Previous work at Cranfield has defined CRM practice as the use of individual customer data to drive value.
This previous work has also defined the necessary preconditions for effective CRM and the way successful firms adapt CRM to fit their situation. However, this raised further questions, especially about the detail of how firms use data to create value.
As a result, the members of the Cranfield Customer Management Forum asked that this topic be studied further to provide recommendations for best practice in this field.
This task was addressed in two phases, starting with a comprehensive review of previously published research and then testing and probing those areas where the previous work was lacking or unclear. It did so by means of 13 in-depth interviews with firms who were heavily involved in the data-to-value process.
In short, this study reveals that creating value from data has all the difficulty of ‘traditional’, less data-dependent strategy making and some additional challenges. Far from being made easier by information technology, it is made more difficult by the need to find, aggregate and synthesise sources of data that are more numerous and more diverse than in traditional value-creating processes. It is, however, that greater difficulty that promises both greater and more sustainable competitive advantage and hence value.

How do great companies make strategic planning work?


January, 2006    SAI-013

How do great companies make strategic planning work?

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is. Nowhere is this old business saying more true than in strategic planning. Almost all newly-qualified managers face a terrific culture shock when they find that their marketing planning textbooks, even if they are a good prescription, are a very poor description of the reality of business practice. This article is a good introductory summary to Dr Brian Smith’s book “Making Marketing Happen”.

Power Nucleus


December, 2005    SMM-014

Power Nucleus

Knowledge can bring you power, but only by understanding the creation of insight will you wield a potent influence. Research by Dr Brian Smith, Dr Hugh Wilson and Prof Moira Clark uncovers distinct entities in the value creation process.

Binary Growth


October, 2005    SMM-013

Binary Growth

Beneath all the hype, fads and buzzwords, there are some fundamental truths in pharmaceutical marketing. Results are dependent upon differentiation, and pharmacological differentiation is becoming harder, costlier and shorter-lived. Dr Brian Smith and Baba Awopetu ask: can pharma marketers cultivate both attitudes and data to ensure that they blossom in an ever-changing marketplace?

Soak it up


July, 2005    SMM-012

Soak it up

Understanding your customers requires more than immersing yourself in a pool of information on their habits. You need to squeeze the data in the right way.

Punching above your weight


June, 2005    SAI-012

Punching above your weight

Marketing text books are mostly written for mega-corporations who sell to consumers. But what about small businesses who have to sell to giant companies? Just follow nine steps to marketing effectiveness say Lindsay Bruce and Dr Brian Smith

Tricky situation


June, 2005    SAI-011

Tricky situation

Anna Ronay of The Marketer asks Dr Smith about the divide between marketing theory and what happens in real companies. Have the textbooks have got it wrong, or is marketing really as misunderstood as it appears to be? And how can marketers bridge the gap between the way marketing should be practised and what happens in the real world?

The Root of All Good


April, 2005    SAI-010

The Root of All Good

Without good segmentation, all your marketing, from product design to pricing to promotion, is doomed to mediocrity. Whole books are written about the detail of segmentation, but success starts with the fundamentals.

In Hand


April, 2005    SMM-011

In Hand

Shareholder value is not the same as profit; it is a function of both returns and risks. So main board directors concern themselves with the risk-adjusted return on capital. New research on marketing due diligence can reveal if your business plan to create shareholder value is too risky.

How much is your company really worth?


December, 2004    SAI-009

How much is your company really worth?

Investors constantly seek to estimate the likelihood of a business plan delivering its promises, whilst the boards try to demonstrate the strength of their strategy. New research provides insight and tools to do both.

Marketing due diligence: translating marketing strategies into shareholder value


October, 2004    SAI-008

Marketing due diligence: translating marketing strategies into shareholder value

Investors and corporate financiers usually find it hard to assess the shareholder value of a company’s marketing strategies. However, Professor Keith Ward, Professor Malcolm McDonald and Dr Brian Smith of Cranfield School of Management have developed a process that makes this task easier.

Risky business is on the decline


September, 2004    SAI-007

Risky business is on the decline

Is your planned business strategy strong enough to win in a competitive market? To gain investor confidence directors need a way of demonstrating the true value of their business. New research from Cranfield School of Management gives them a tool that does just that, say Dr Brian Smith, Professor Malcolm McDonald and Professor Keith Ward.

Out of Your Comfort Zone


July, 2004    SMM-009

Out of Your Comfort Zone

Five years of research into strategy making in medical markets shows that senior managers in medical industries continue to make weak strategies. Forget the text book approach and what you learned in business school; the outcomes of this research provide new insight into how to make successful strategies in the real world. (Based on Dr Brian Smith’s forthcoming book “Making Marketing Happen”.)

Made to Measure


June, 2004    SAI-006

Made to Measure

Why is it that some companies make marketing happen and others don’t? What do the good companies do that the rest of us don’t? Great companies have learned how to mould strategic marketing planning to their situation and, as a result, create strong marketing strategies that deliver results.    Dr Brian Smith explains why some companies do and some companies don’t make great marketing happen.

Culture Couture


April, 2004    SMM-010

Culture Couture

Are pharmaceutical marketing departments helped or hindered by company culture? Dr Brian Smith found that successful culture change involves careful pruning, not a blunt axe.

Making marketing happen: How great medical companies make strategic marketing planning work for them


April, 2004    SMM-008

Making marketing happen: How great medical companies make strategic marketing planning work for them

This is the third in a trilogy of papers reporting a five-year research project into marketing strategy making in medical markets. Following on from the first and second papers, this paper presents an empirically derived process for creating strong marketing strategy in medical markets that involves the replacement of a traditional rational planning process with a hybrid process adapted to organisational culture and market environment. These findings are of practical use to marketers in medical industry sectors.

Understanding the devil


February, 2004    SAI-045

Understanding the devil

This is a report of the Cranfield CRM Research Forum’s work in 2002/3.
The research agenda, shaped and agreed by the Forum’s members, was designed to further the group’;s aim to facilitate excellence in CRM. As such, it sought to answer three research questions that arose from the earlier research, namely:
a) What is the most effective way to organise for CRM?
b) What is the best way to justify CRM investment?
c) How can CRM analytics be improved?
The implications of this work for practitioners are wide ranging and important. CRM is best implemented by the deliberated management of cross functional teams, varied according to project stage and recognising key HR and management prerequisites. CRM is best justified by a process specific to the company involved. Managers can best achieve justification by adapting that process to the internal context of the company. CRM analytics can be improved by the application of motivationally based segmentation. However, the optimal level of value creation is dependent upon data acquisition that is atypical of many organisations.

Getting Motivated


January, 2004    SAI-005

Getting Motivated

Dr Brian Smith explains how real market segments can be uncovered. The key is to understand what drives customer behaviour.

Successful marketing strategies for medical devices and diagnostics


January, 2004    SMM-007

Successful marketing strategies for medical devices and diagnostics

This second edition of the Clinica Report Successful Marketing Strategies for Medical Devices and Diagnostics shows managers in medical device and diagnostic markets how to create sustainable competitive advantage in a clear, step-wise and above all pragmatic way. The guide takes the manager through seven stages to produce an effective and workable strategic marketing plan.

Marketing Due Diligence


October, 2003    SAI-004

Marketing Due Diligence

Dr Brian Smith, Professor Malcolm McDonald and Professor Keith Ward reveal a new process which may help get marketing into the boardroom.

Customer relationship management: Coming of age


October, 2003    SAI-043

Customer relationship management: Coming of age

CRM is plagued by reports of its failure and lack of visible returns. This article shares the results of important research which reveals that, while most fail, a few companies have made a fundamental shift in practice, thereby creating shareholders and customer value.

Why CRM stands at the crossroads


July, 2003    SAI-042

Why CRM stands at the crossroads

Dr Moira Clark and Dr Brian Smith, leaders of the highly regarded Cranfield CRM Research Forum report on its latest findings, which reveal the much-maligned customer management tool is at a critical crossroads.

Building the foundations for effective CRM


July, 2003    SAI-041

Building the foundations for effective CRM

Is Customer Relationship Management an important strategic methodology or just another management fad that should be consigned immediately to the out-tray? Taking time to address some of the more basic questions will pay dividends in establishing a clear, common starting point when deciding whether CRM can benefit your organisation.

Plans are nothing; planning is everything


June, 2003    SAI-003

Plans are nothing; planning is everything

Dr Brian Smith puts the case for marketing planning – what it is, what it isn’t and how to explain it to non-marketing colleagues.

Success and failure in marketing strategy making: Results of an empirical study across medical markets


May, 2003    SMM-006

Success and failure in marketing strategy making: Results of an empirical study across medical markets

This is the second in a trilogy of papers reporting on a five-year research project into marketing strategy making in medical markets. Following on from the weak marketing strategy observed in the first paper, this work explains the origins of marketing strategy process failure in terms of incongruence with market and organisational culture conditions. It concludes that any generic approach to marketing strategy making fails most companies, and that an organisationally tailored process is required.