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Use Your Business’ Reach For Financial Gain

An ancient Chinese stratagem suggests that you consider pointing at the mulberry tree while cursing the locust tree, or, in more straightforward terms, focus your attention on an object while your intention rests somewhere else. Some industries are built around this concept. Media companies, for example, focus on viewers and readers and listeners, but they make their money from advertisers.

An ancient Chinese stratagem suggests that you consider pointing at the mulberry tree while cursing the locust tree, or, in more straightforward terms, focus your attention on an object while your intention rests somewhere else.

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Some industries are built around this concept. Media companies, for example, focus on viewers and readers and listeners, but they make their money from advertisers.

On Wednesday I started a review of PDI (PDII). What I see is a company undertaking a strategic shift that creates a similar a dynamic. When I asked the CEO Nancy Lurker about how she would describe the company or what the company’s purpose is, she said “We don’t view ourselves as just providing outsourced sales to pharma companies. We see ourselves as providing best-in-class service to physicians and their staff. We can communicate to the doctor in the way, shape, and form the doctor desires.”

This means if you are a doctor and want an in-face visit, you get that. However, if you prefer digital communication, you get that. If you want information after hours, you get that. If you want it during office open times, you get that.

PDI’s core competence, if you want to call it that, is to really understand how doctors want to get the information they need. This is valuable to doctors, but doctors do not have to pay for it. Instead pharmaceutical companies and others pay to have that communication to doctors.

Just as I now love to watch “TV” on hulu.com. I used to use Apple TV, but this requires me to keep paying to rent and buy episodes. On hulu.com I can get what I need for free because I watch a few commercials.

Rest your attention on doctors or TV viewers while your intention points at pharmaceutical companies or advertisers. This creates a powerful strategic dynamic. It also expands what PDI can become enormously.

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We have not yet seen this strategy shared in PDI’s public documents. Its 10-K still presents itself as “a leading provider of outsourced pharmaceutical sales teams that target healthcare providers, offering a range of complementary sales support services designed to achieve our customers’ strategic and financial product objectives.”

But behind the scenes, Lurker has been communicating this new strategy to employees and customers for some time now. We should soon see it shared with the market.

Ask yourself the questions below to see how you can offer a service to one group while getting another to pay for it.

1. Who receives an extra benefit from your business?

2. Who wants to reach that target audience?

3. Is there a way to offer your clients more access to this audience?

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About the author

Author of Outthink the Competition business strategy keynote speaker and CEO of Outthinker, a strategic innovation firm, Kaihan Krippendorff teaches executives, managers and business owners how to seize opportunities others ignore, unlock innovation, and build strategic thinking skills. Companies such as Microsoft, Citigroup, and Johnson & Johnson have successfully implemented Kaihan’s approach because their executive leadership sees the value of his innovative technique. Kaihan has delivered business strategy keynote speeches for organizations such as Motorola, Schering‐Plough, Colgate‐Palmolive, Fortune Magazine, Harvard Business Review, the Society of Human Resource Managers, the Entrepreneurs Organization, and The Asia Society

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