The Story Behind H2H Marketing – From The Pharma Perspective


The Story Behind H2H Marketing – From The Pharma Perspective

Who doesn’t love stories? From a 3-year-old kid to 95-year-old great grandfather, all do! We still enjoy listening to ‘Akbar-Birbal’, ‘Tenali Ram’, the Greek ‘Pandora’s Box or the story of the German nymph ‘Lorelei’

The book “H2H Marketing: The Genesis of Human-to-Human Marketing” is written as a story.

It is based on a German publication called Das neue Marketing Mindset from Waldemar Pfoertsch and Uwe Sponholz.

In English, it means the ‘New Marketing Mindset’

Like in the German publication, the principle of storytelling is also used in the English publication makes it very interesting reading.

Like in a typical Bollywood movie you have a ‘hero’, and the hero has to have the right attitude. In this book the right attitude is ‘The H2H Mindset’.

A story has some key components and here they are in this book.

Call for Adventure

First, this story starts with a “Call for Adventure”.  The authors introduce the current state of marketing and ask a question to the readers: “Marketing-Quo Vadis?”  “Marketing, where are you heading?”

When applied to the pharmaceutical industry, it leads to the fundamental understanding that a radical change is required in the marketing model of pharma firms. And who doesn’t know what’s happening in the pharmaceutical industry today.  The layman knows. The patients know. The HCPs know.

In recent years, newer concepts and ideas have emerged in marketing, which the pharma industry should consider. One of them is building Firms of Endearment. This inspiration comes from the book of the same name by Raj Sisodia, Jagdish Sheth and David Wolfe.

What pharma needs now is a sustainable model to replace the transactional marketing model which resulted in gains just for the pharma company or the HCPs but not for whom the medicines are made – the patients.

The H2H marketing model and the evolution to the H2H marketing concept, are based on the observations and the reflections of Philip Kotler, Waldemar Pfoertsch and Uwe Sponholz. And this is what pharma urgently needs now.

The H2H marketing model and the H2H marketing concept weave seamlessly into the patient-centric approach.

The Great Journey

After the “call for adventure” and description of the current state of marketing, the authors continue the “great journey” with the development of the “new marketing paradigm” and the presentation of the H2H marketing model.

The authors in the initial version of, H2H marketing model called it the “Bangalore Model” because it was developed on the Christ University Campus in Bangalore.

Synonym to the acronym H2H, the authors used the term “Mensch Marketing”. It is from a Yiddish word MENTSH, MENTSH means a ‘good person’ – A person with the qualities you would hope for in a friend or trusted colleague.

Patients need HCPs and pharma companies whom they can trust as a true friend.

The authors have beautifully named the website for this book as Mensch Marketing.

H2H Marketing fulfills Philip Kotler’s dream: Marketing is to make the world a better place.

This new model has three strong pillars. The first is Design Thinking as an innovation method for any marketing activity.

The human-centered mindset should lead to human-centered marketing. For pharma, this means adapting the patient-centric approach in marketing. Its toolbox and process-oriented approach takes marketing even further to meet current human needs.

This is also true for the second pillar, the Service-Dominant Logic (S-DL) concept. S-DL requires you to treat products as a service offering.

A pharma product should not be viewed as just a revenue generating tool. You must view it as a tool to support a service that will benefit the end-user customer – the patient. Patients treatment outcome should be at the core of all activities. Or simply put, aligned very closely to the patient-centric approach. For instance, patient advocacy groups can help the caregivers at home in medicine adherence or handle side-effects.

S-DL is also human centered and delivers the basis for H2H marketing.

And the third pillar is digitalization. In this era where homo sapiens are evolving into homo digitalis, SoLoMo mindset (Social, Local and mobile) is dominant. The third pillar of the H2H marketing model, in line with the current developments, is digitalization. Digitalization is a great opportunity for redirecting the focus of marketing to a more stakeholder-oriented concept.

Brave Actions

The story then continues with some brave actions needed to be taken. And that brave action is to move away from brand-centricity to human-centricity or patient-centricity. This novel way of marketing management, H2H marketing, is human to human marketing. Human-to-Human marketing embraces the fact that all marketing is from one human to another.

As in any good story, the hero needs the right attitude. This is called H2H mindset.

And the foundation of H2H Mindset is Trust. Trust is the key currency for any business transaction in a hyper-connected world. And trust is what humans work on.

Solutions and Return

The “solution and return” of the story is then told through the introduction of the operative marketing, which focuses on the H2H process and the necessary steps in the new forming of the marketing mix.

H2H process ties into the H2H marketing model.

Write the authors: “The classic 4P marketing mix has guided marketing thinking for many years.  In the world of digitalization with newly restructured relationships and changed forms of communication, it may no longer be appropriate for today’s business challenges”. Marketing measures without customer focus (patient-focus for pharma) have ceased to have a positive impact. This marketing approach challenges the core competencies needed to create and deliver meaningful value propositions to customers and other collaboration partners.

This in brief is the story which finds a meaning in the troubled world.  H2H marketing embraces the fact that all marketing is from one human to another. The premise, say the authors, that regardless of your business sector, or industry, at the end of the day you are talking and dealing with a human. For pharma, the story will surely have a happy ending – because patients will be delighted at every stage of the patient journey.

Do purchase this book immediately, both print editions are available on Amazon and Flipkart while the Kindle edition is on Amazon.

Written by:

Vivek Hattangadi
Vivek Hattangadi – Chief Mentor Pharmastate Academy & The Enablers
PharmaState Blog
This is a platform for people working in the pharmaceuticals industry for Discussions, Jobs, News updates, Professional Profile display space and company business pages. PharmaState DNA is having four pillars: Quality, Transparency, Innovation & Benchmarks.

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