Cheezburgers–which is the new fun way to spell cheeseburgers–are hard to resist, even though they are caloric time bombs, waist extenders, sodium jolts, cholesterol infusions, and the potential cause of afternoon dyspepsia. So why do we as American consume so many cheeseburgers? Because we like them. We know they’re bad for us, but we like them. Even the most dour-faced health-conscious individual has somewhere deep in his amygdala Proustian recollections of the last cheeseburger he or she enjoyed.
Some people approach marketing the way they approach cheeseburgers, that is, they go for what seems fun and exuberant and enjoyable, even if it is not good for their marketing objectives.
For example, I have seen medical companies spend tens of thousand dollars on SEO of individual website pages, all for trying to introduce a new product which is not purchased online and which is not purchased by people who ever go to the company website at all. Why? Because SEO sounds cool and the people who do SEO sound ueber-hip.
Here is a news flash. SEO can improve the visibility of your web page(s). But if your customers are not there or do not use the website to in any way inform their purchasing decisions, you are spending a lot on marketing that isn’t going to help you.
Many companies have divorced the whole concept of marketing from sales. That is, marketing is practiced as an art form, like haiku or origami, while the sales guys slog it out in the trenches. I’ve worked in marketing departments that do not even know the top sales guys, much less work with them. When you make marketing a pure art form rather than a meaningful series of tactics, you end up with cheeseburgers.
Here is another medical marketing cheeseburger: social media. Does a medical manufacturer or pharma company need a social media presence? There is a lot of debate going on right now about that, mainly driven by people who sell social media services to medical manufacturers and pharma companies. The point is that most medical companies cannot even issue a meeting agenda or an email without having it reviewed by a cadre of grim-faced attorneys. How on earth can a medical company participate safely in the high-speed world of social media? And here’s the other thing: are the individuals who purchase medical services, drugs, and medical devices really hopped up on Twitter? Does Facebook help hospital administrators know which heart valves to buy? But medical companies have heard about social media managers and they all want one the same way, deep down, we all want cheeseburgers for lunch instead of salad.
Other examples of cheeseburger marketing include:
- Exorbitant ad campaigns for customers who ignore ads
- Knockout convention presence with product managers who throw out the leads about five minutes after getting back to their office
- Huge, complicated websites for products that are not purchased by people who go online to look for them
Cheeseburger marketing often results in real tactics getting overlooked. There may be genuine marketing value in companies that:
- Produce multilingual patient-facing materials
- Develop high-end training materials for the field force (and not just elearning modules or photocopies of presentations)
- Craft clinical or scientific white papers
Those are just a few examples, but they are all Brussel sprouts. Rarely have I encountered clients excited about doing Brussel sprouts marketing, but let’s face it: Brussel sprouts are good for you. They’re healthy. They keep you strong.