Muzeable Thinking

Our blog, occasional white papers and case studies represent the foundation of Muzeable Thinking… enjoy

Join the revolution: new ways to deliver breakthrough OTC/healthcare claims

Posted by on Jun 21st, 2017 in muzeable thinking | 1 comment

Muzeable Thinking No.22 posted by Tim Brooks 21st June 2017

An uncomfortable truth. Claims are a key component of successful OTC/healthcare marketing, but most claims work ends up as an exercise in polishing pebbles in search of marginal differences rather than delivering market share or game changing messages.

Reality? A world of data parity and regulatory constraints, where serious clinical work based on old, generic ingredients is high cost, high risk, low PTS [probability of technical success]. Consequently, finding highly relevant, distinctive, ownable and differentiated claims is unicorn-rare – as a result, let’s be honest, we usually just play at it.

Imagine… if the approach and our points of reference could radically change? If a hay fever brand [for example] could start to use clinically validated claims based on published outcomes data [not a bit of lightweight cosmetics-style survey data] like:

  • 75% of allergy sufferers reported more symptom free days & better quality of life when using brand x.
  • x% said ‘I was allergy free on the days I really needed to be/when I had things I had to do.’
  • using the app plus product improved compliance and delivered better quality of life for x% more people than those who just used the product.
  • 80% of allergy sufferers said that ‘x’ mattered most to them and that brand x gave them effective support vs this’. Etc.

Data like these – and better – are now completely in reach and supportable by robust, credible, published data. A claims revolution is in play.

Why the step change? A host of factors are converging that together make us VERY EXCITED about the future of claims generation:

  • the quality/growing credibility of patient reported outcomes data [PROM] used by big-Pharma;
  • the wealth of insight consumer healthcare companies produce – but don’t fully leverage;
  • mobile tech/real time data capture and two-way dialogue;
  • deep dive social media analytics are moving to another level;
  • new interactions – services/apps etc. – that impact outcomes, but are not measured effectively;
  • Etc. Etc.

All this creates a data landscape pumped full of opportunities! The new data we can produce is robust, quantitative, measurable and people centric. It can be produced at highly efficient investment levels [i.e. cheaper!] versus trad clinical work, with a far higher PTS, but the outcome is still published data that regulators must take seriously. It will also be highly ownable as it is based on branded user-experience/outcomes versus the ‘chemical’ performance of generic formulations.

WARNING! There is a critical success factor that it is easy to ignore – it is not just about embracing PROM research. The ‘trick’ is to use a hybrid-approach. A blend of expert, clinically experienced, academic data/study/publishing savvy ALONGSIDE a highly commercial, marketing, insight-led, advertising/comms expertise. Most people in this space are either clinical study-led or creative/ideation ‘workshop’ focused. Our experience is that both approaches are, on their own, inherently flawed. We focus on the yin and the yang… so, our core team is a published professor, expert in behavioural medicine, and an experienced senior healthcare marketer. This drives the approach and creates an environment of challenge and appropriate disruption!

And… we can do all this – NOW! Ambitious brands taking a medium term, imaginative view of claims/data can start to own new, persuasive spaces in the minds of consumers that challenge the historic low engagement with our brands and categories – not least because these data are built from the users’ experience of the need, not a clinician’s – often hypothetical – perspective.

Our search is on for a few enlightened clients who get it. Clients who are prepared to commit/collaborate in producing specific outcomes data and then to persuading regulators – because they won’t like it – to leave their ivory towers and consider data on its quality/merits not just its style/method of origin. The level of PROM data being built into Phase III/IV work in ‘big Pharma’ proves it can pass hurdles higher than those in consumer healthcare.

It’s a new age. A revolution is coming. Are you going to play, or just watch?

If you would like to receive our longer [much duller], more detailed paper – Consumer Healthcare Claims: Join the Revolution – or perhaps more interestingly discuss our breakthrough approaches in the specific context of your business – just call Tim Brooks on +44 [0]7802 531578 or email on Apologies in advance, we will only share our content with genuine healthcare/client organisations

“For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong,” HL Mencken.

Posted by on Mar 9th, 2017 in muzeable thinking | 0 comments

Muzeable Thinking No. 21 posted by Tim Brooks 9th March 2017


A Muzeable rant in the naïve hope of some behavioural change.

I’m bored. Not with Mr Mencken, his work is still mildly engaging.

But, with the smorgasbord of opinions that litter my work, life and the future.

I’m not being holier than thou either. My own need for opinions – endless opinions – is irritating too.

Days are filled with too much of:

  • Clients – usually senior ones – who take ‘gut feel’ to unsustainable levels because they don’t keep up with the data or don’t understand it [e.g. digital/social!]. Their fear of appearing indecisive; seeing reflection as a sign of weakness; their need for short-term solutions – that are ‘clear, simple and wrong’.
  • Me, filling the silence, or people will think I’m stupid/not earning my fee.
  • You, managing upwards and over simplifying to force the problem into a box [usually because your bosses are impatient with short attention spans and need a PPT soundbite].
  • Brand Communication/content… that exists for no other reason than it can be done and we feel compelled to do it… whatever. Digital really drives quantity over quality.
  • Qualitative research that is just the personal worldview of the person who did the groups – regardless of the aims and input from the attendees.
  • Linked In groups. With comments that add no value and just opine. I don’t play anymore.
  • Twitter, Facebook et al… more vast spaces that we are compelled to fill with opinion and limited reflective thought. A POTUS should not be allowed to dilute complex issues into 140 characters. Period.
  • The age of the instant reply. OMG. IMO. The anger. The dumbing down. The drab made briefly shiny. Then forgotten.

Most of these opinions are… simple. Simplistic. Unnecessary. Self-serving. Problem creating. Etc.


Let’s have a bit more:

  • I don’t know. So, I haven’t got an opinion yet. Let’s have a conversation about it and see where it takes us… it’s complicated so don’t expect a great answer immediately.
  • Reflection. Technology breeds hares when we need tortoises. Let’s have more managers with a ‘Don’t just do/say something, but sit there… very quietly’ attitude.
  • Humility. The strong opinion is often a sign of a lack of any – especially in the hands of the most senior person in the room. Shut up, listen more, think a bit and say less.
  • Confidence. Not having an immediate opinion and being comfortable with it… is really cool.
  • Less persuasion. We work for the same organisation, yet the adopted position of most senior managers is that subordinates have 30 mins to sell them the idea. It leads to poor behaviour on both sides; exaggeration and excuses [even a legitimate excuse is still an excuse]. How about more open dialogue, collaborative dialogue and brutal truth?

I will work hard to reduce my own opinion count – starting now. And no shit, I realise this missive is… an opinion. Occasionally people will be disappointed in me, or consider me a bit slow on the uptake/unable to keep up or even stupid. Sod ‘em. The enlightened will be my new best friends.


The Elephant in the segmentation room

Posted by on Jan 18th, 2017 in muzeable thinking | 0 comments

By Tim Brooks and Kath Ludlow [Founding Partner at Legend Engage]

Legend Engage:

Do digital analytics mark the beginning of the end for traditional market research? In the first of a series of articles exploring the impact and opportunities afforded by digital and social data, we debate to what extent these new research functions can replace or supplement traditional consumer marketing research. In this paper, we discuss segmentation opportunities in 2017.

Can digital make segmentation studies truly actionable?

There has been a long debate on the value/ROI of the major investment consumer-facing brands make in global [and local] segmentation studies. As a benchmark, a robust global segmentation can set you back a cool £1-2m.

At one end of the debate are the Sharpites[1] and their disciples [e.g. Mars] who don’t really believe in targeting at all. Their marketing target is seen as… just about everyone. At the other end however, we have most other FMCG brands who invest millions in segmentation to better define their category behaviours and ideal target audience, the aim being to improve the effectiveness of future marketing.

For the record, I’m happy to declare myself a fan-boy of Byron Sharp. ‘How Brands Grow’ is the only book I would insist that every person connected to a consumer business should read. That said, I am uncomfortable with following this sort of fundamentalism and dogma. Segmentation is clearly not the answer to the question, but it is a robust insight/understanding framework that should enable brands to refine and discriminate their marketing.

Segmentation creates a single, global version of [some of] the necessary consumer truths – which is always valuable to drive alignment on a global brand/category approach. A needs-based segmentation will also create valuable inputs for innovation, campaign creative etc.

But, there is an elephant in the segmentation room.

I have been involved in multiple global segmentation studies and have seen some fabulous work, but there is nearly always an issue. Segmentation outputs are just not very actionable versus the tasks most brand marketers have to do today. The theory can be lost in translation. Here are just three examples of why most segmentation studies sit gathering dust on a shelf rather than being used to drive business growth and brand loyalty.

  • Talk to your media agency… and ask them to buy media against your key segments. They can’t. They use proxies [TGI etc.] that don’t really match the deep insight of the segmentation.
  • Talk to your comms/digital agency and ask them what difference this makes to their work/output… and how closely they use it to plan and deliver your campaigns. Or do they ignore it and just ‘do’ stuff?
  • Review your business strategy – has it integrated your segment outputs into its priorities and tasks? Doubt it, as most current segmentations are just expensive, albeit useful, background data.

So, we have many FMCG brands still investing in a potentially great piece of input that is only partly executable – and see limited evidence of them becoming hard-wired into company ways of working. They are diluted through the machinations of pragmatism and real politic. And 18 months later… they are useful background info filed on the corporate server.

So how might we make segmentation more actionable and therefore valuable? The solution is relatively simple and I’ve seen it done – so we are talking about an immediate action that can be taken now, not a hypothetical one

  1. Choose evolved learning cycles – when you have your final segmentation and targets in place don’t think you’re done. Add a continual learning step to your process. NB your segmentation agency currently can’t do this.
  2. Choose a specialist marketing and social insight consultancy who has a proven expertise in building and actioning segments in the digital space. NB there aren’t many who do it properly i.e. don’t be fooled that this can be created from a bit of social listening or a programmatic ad buying algorithm – it needs deep analysis/insight and human expertise.
  3. Give this specialist consultancy your £2m segmentation study and brief them to turn the segments into actionable ‘audiences’. Maybe, it will add 10% to your segmentation study investment. But it will exponentially change the ROI.
  4. Use this data to brief your business [Marketing and Shopper/Category should have it hard wired into their plans]; brief your agencies [your media agency will have no excuses, your creative agencies will suddenly be accountable for who their work engages with etc.]
  5. Use this process to turn it from an interesting piece of market research into a measurable piece of planning at the heart of your future growth.

How do I know it’s doable? Cards on the table, I’m not neutral. I came across just such a consultancy last year and now work with them as an advisor – Legend Engage. Their Mapper360 approach can do exactly this. It has actually done this with segmentation studies. And they could do it for you… even rejuvenating your recent moribund segmentations. It can work globally or locally and for a hoary old marketer like me… I find it amazing. It’s what I’ve always wanted. Every CMO or Insight Director should be talking to people like Legend Engage… before, during and after their shiny new segmentation is in play. And the research company should not feel threatened either. It’s building on the original work.

So before segmentation moves from being the elephant in the room to the dinosaur on your budget sheet, don’t replace it… revolutionise it.



[1] Byron Sharp: How Brands Grow.

web design in staines by thames web design