I had a dozen medical device marketing conversations this week that had nothing to do with work.
These things just show up in an email, a Skype message, my LinkedIn inbox, and I’m compelled to reply. It probably costs me as much as 20% of my week when I have so much paid work to do.
I can’t help myself.
So this week I thought I’d share a few of the types of conversations I “just seem to have.” Maybe you’ll find a helpful nugget in them.
I wouldn’t do that.
Michelle Skyped me: “What do you think of the idea of an “intake exam” or “intake interview” where for a fixed price you get a full FDA QMS implementation plan customized to your business needs and relationships?
I replied, “Given the types of interaction you’ve had so far, I believe it would be overkill. Also, I don’t believe your customers are primarily making their decisions based on price. You don’t start your conversations around “how much you’ll have to pay,” so I wouldn’t encourage the conversation online either.”
I added this comment – which became the spark for today’s Journey.
BTW, the exchange we just had? If I had the time and interest, I could lay that out in canva.com as a sharable moment and post it on LinkedIn. Here’s one I made for my reimbursement go-to, Beth Brooks:
Sadly, I don’t believe Beth’s company ever took the art (I spent 20 minutes on) and posted it on LinkedIn as I advised.
My point is you create content ALL THE TIME. You just don’t think of it as content.
You think of it as, you know, “regular work” or “just answering a quick email question.”
That’s the kind of stuff that interests people evaluating you.
A real peek into Michelle’s day and what it might be like to work with her.
You’re burning your list.
My buddy Tom KraMer (yes, a capital M) is founder of Kablooe Design, experts in usability research and human factors engineering. He’s got a nice site, check it out at kablooe.com. Apparently, he’s a drummer.
So Tom emailed me last week:
I replied, “You might consider adding a field to your database regarding locations. It’s silly to invite people outside of a long drive away to your open house. You give us an excuse to hit the unsubscribe button.”
I signed it, “Affectionately, your marketing friend, Joe.”
Tom: I purposely left people on the list that were not in our geography just to let them see our name/logo, and to let them know we like to have fun.
The last one we sent out to over 3k people, and only got 6 unsubscribes. We are going to send a final one out next Thursday. I am assuming you suggest we only send to locals with that one?
Joe: I would. Personally, I don’t believe, “Oh, Kablooe, right! Tom KraMer. Yeah, I’ve been meaning to call him,” is the natural reaction to Kablooe Spring Networking Open House is only 1 week away!
I think, instead, “Irrelevant. Not opening. Delete.”
You don’t want people associating “Tom KraMer’s Kablooe” and “Irrelevant” together. Carry on.
“I rely on word of mouth.”
A Medical Devices Group member submitted a discussion. I wrote him over LinkedIn.
“I published your Medical Devices Group discussion today. A little friendly feedback: I wanted to learn more about you so:
1. I visited your profile. No photo. No description. Just MRA.
2. I clicked on MRA, hoping to get company info. Nothing.
3. I googled “Tom Quinn MRA” and discovered your site.
4. I learned MRA stands for Medical Resources Alliance and 2014-dated site is, I’m sure you recognize, terribly designed.
The site, which also doesn’t bear your image, does not reflect your obvious expertise. I suspect you believe “no one really cares about the site, I get all my business from word of mouth.”
I’d encourage you to rethink your website’s role in what you’re telling the world about yourself and your company.
That’s all. It’s in my nature to give feedback. (Can’t help myself.)”
He replied with a simple, “Thank you for the feedback.”
I’m fine with that. I just hate seeing people shooting themselves in the foot. I doubt he’ll do anything despite the fact he could hire someone to make even a better one-page site.
“I’d like to network with you.”
Caitlin is a member of the Medical Devices: Seattle subgroup. Turns out, she lives in nearby.
She asked, “Do you do any local events with members of the group? I’d be interested in helping pull something together.”
Joe: I used to do some local events and may again someday. They proved more work than demand warranted.
Caitlin, abridged: The only local activity I’m finding is [a local association] which has limited events and expensive membership.
She recommended a local brewery and offered to spread the word.
I agreed, for her sake. I’ve done more than a dozen of these. Typically 20-30 show up. I go. I drink. I network. I go home.
Can you hear me shrug?
Anyhow, I’m hosting the event tomorrow. It’s good karma and it forces me to bathe, so Beth’s good with it.
My friend got in touch. He’s extremely bright and used to be a Commissioner’s Fellow at FDA.
Now he does a combination of regulatory consulting and software engineering for medical device companies. He’s on a long-term engagement he speculates may end in a few months.
He wanted to know how to find the next medical device manufacturer who needed his services.
After some back and forth, I understood my 20-something friend was really taking about being a consultant.
I know him well enough to suggest he talk with his wife and seriously consider getting a full time job.
“As a consultant, you might spend up to 50 percent of your time on business development. Are you up for that for the next 40 years?”
I believe that argument may persuade him accordingly. With his sometimes difficult-to-understand English as his second language, I’m confident “getting his name out there” would be drudgery and he presently has a relatively small network.
Why did I tell you all this?
26 Journeys ago, I talked about stretches when you feel you got nothing done.
I definitely do NOT feel that way about the seven days just passed. (I had to research “passed versus past” just now.)
I got a LOT done, including launching my first-ever podcast, a modest and surely sporadic effort.
These side conversations with likely never-to-be clients? I don’t know, I find them interesting and rewarding. The time I spend on them typically come out of my free time. I went to bed at 3 a.m. Monday night to finish a project.
Do you have these types of conversations too? If so, maybe write me back and tell me a story about a recent one.
Meet Anchor. This is the free resource I used to publish my podcast.
Then you must click to see this, it’s awesome. Also free. You can make transcribed videos up to three minutes in duration.
Go make yours!
Meet Puddles. Beth and I had a real date night last Thursday.
We saw “Puddles Pity Party” in concert. Very entertaining, especially the way he integrated video into his performance. My top three Puddles videos, in order:
3. Mad World (with Postmodern Jukebox)
2. Where Is My Mind?
1. My very favorite:
Big show this weekend. I’m emcee for my Northwest Sound Men’s Chorus spring performance this weekend. I’m looking forward to entertaining a few hundred a cappella aficionados.
Thank you for joining me on The Journey.
See you next week – or sooner – if you choose to reply to this email,