Dec 24 2016

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In the 1951 Disney adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. our protagonist finds herself in a bit of a predicament. Eager to catch the White Rabbit as he scurries off, Alice is too large to squeeze through the door to continue her pursuit. In frustration, she calls out to the doorknob, “I simply must get through!” The doorknob replies, “Sorry, you’re much too big. Simply impassible.” Confused, Alice responds, “You mean impossible?” Doorknob: “No, impassible. Nothing’s impossible.”

Impassible versus impossible. It’s easy to see how Alice was confounded by these two very similar looking and sounding words. However, the dialogue between the doorknob and Alice is more than clever wordplay; it’s sage advice. If a path meets an obstacle, change the perspective and try again. Seemingly impassible problems are opportunities for adaptation, creative thinking and novel solutions.

On February 4, I will be presenting at the Pharma Market Research Conference (PMRC) in New Jersey. The topic? Patient targeting—an element that is critical to the successful launch of a brand, especially in an uber-competitive market that includes generics and several “me, too” players. As I thought more and more about my presentation, I quickly realized that my myopic world of pharmaceuticals is really not much different than other industries that sell consumables. In fact, pharma may actually be the laggard on this one, benefiting from decades of high unmet need that allowed for broad-based use vs. a targeted campaign.

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