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Good tonic. Offshoring for pharma

So far the pharmaceutical industry in the West has been fighting shy of offshoring work, writes Deepak Mankar.

business Updated: Jul 22, 2006 18:56 IST

I've always found reading the inimitable Seth Godin's blog rewarding in some way or the other. Just a few days back, I came across a post on 'Charles Atlas' (Angelo Siciliano in real life), 'The World's Most Perfectly Developed Man', whose advertising formed a part of my self-education in advertising. I scurried to charlesatlas where I feasted my eyes on the ads, brochures and other promotional paraphernalia in the Archives. It was quite a walk down the memory lane for me. It's difficult to imagine that good ol' always grinning Mr. Atlas and his Dynamic Tension (Isometric's ancestor) are in their seventy-seventh year and still going strong. Here's what Seth Godin has to say about Atlas: "Atlas (not his real name, I'm guessing) was in the right place at the right time with the right message. Before he came along almost a hundred years ago, the idea of bodybuilding was largely unknown. You spent your life trying to get lucky enough to avoid physical labor and exercise, after all. The success of efforts like his makes many of us believe it's easy to change the way the world thinks about an industry. It's not." How very true! blog.sethgodin. Also: wikipedia.

"Pay heed." Judge tells the Big G.

For once, Google did not live up to its popular image of a benevolent, friendly Goliath. A North Carolina School had to catch Google's attention with a court order after a recent lapse when the giant's search engine crawled and indexed Catawba County Schools' webpages containing the names, social security numbers, and test scores of 619 7th and 8th grade students. "We acted so aggressively with Google because, until the media got involved, we could not get beyond an operator at Google. We could not get operators to connect us with technical support, the legal department, or to anyone higher up in the organization. We were only given an email address to which we could submit a complain (sic) which we did but got no response. Google has a link to submit an emergency request but on both Thursday and Friday of last week, the link took you to a dead page. Only when the news media submitted its own inquiry to Google did we get a call regarding the situation. And Google has been most helpful in working through this situation with us," is how it was explained in a statement to Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Watch. searchnewz

Online ads. Recent progress

Recent McKinsey research hints at a resurgence of interest among advertisers but a serious bottleneck on the supply front. It seems there are not enough ad agencies that can handle online advertising as well as its offline cousin with equal competence. All this could drive prices higher and seriously jeopardize the growth of the digital persuasion industry, slowing down "… the shift in spending to online ads. Over time, inventory levels will increase, and marketers will be able to shift larger portions of their budgets online. Until then, marketers will have to manage a broad and rapidly changing array of media vehicles."  mckinseyquarterly.

B-blogs. eMarketer takes a second look.

Despite all the hype, only a small fraction of business entities blog. "Currently, despite the fact that a new blog is launched every second, very few businesses blog," points out James Belcher, eMarketer Senior Analyst and author of the new report, 'The Business of Blogging: A Review'. "They have hesitated entering a medium where ceding control is one of the ground rules, and as a result, well over 90% of them, both large and small, simply don't blog." The hurdles? Belcher's answer: "After years of meticulous branding, carefully arranged PR messages, and committee-developed corporate-speak that offends no one - especially lawyers - successful blogging requires ceding message control internally to a single, real voice, and externally to commentators whose feedback may not always be positive." The blogging-as-sales-tool mindset is being abandoned.  "GM and Sun, notably, are blogging with a one-to-many voice that gives them one of the most low-cost PR options available." Monitoring blogs is becoming an essential part of brand management. "A generation for whom sharing information via social networks and personal blogs is second nature will demand being addressed as human beings, without the filters applied by traditional corporate communications. Marketers and PR professionals who want to remain relevant in this environment will add blogging and blogosphere literacy to their skill sets, or risk falling behind their customers." emarketer.

Boom or bust? Real estate in India.

"Property prices in India are rising fast, and not just in the biggest cities. As the tech boom spreads across the country, as more Indians buy homes, and as the economy grows at faster than 8% a year, real estate is attracting more investors, many of them from abroad," writes Yassir A. Pitalwalla in his Fortune article, 'Indian real estate: boom or bubble?' datelined 5 July. He cites Michael Smith, head of Asian real estate investment banking at Goldman Sachs saying: "India is the most exciting real estate market in Asia. It's one of the last major countries in Asia with an improving market." And, Ashwin Ramesh, who runs a boutique fund, Primary Real Estate Advisors: "There are a couple of hundred malls currently being developed across India, and predictions are that only 10% will be successful. Yet every developer feels his mall will be among the survivors." money.cnn.

Good tonic. Offshoring for pharma.

So far the pharmaceutical industry in the West has been fighting shy of offshoring work to low-cost locales ffrom fears of poor intellectual property protection. Not any more, though. The "real value lies not just in simple cost savings but also in the faster development of new compounds and a greater focus for sales and marketing organizations. Low labor costs offer the prospect of more efficient and successful clinical trials. Offshoring also gives companies opportunities to gain better insights about sales trends by analyzing sales and marketing data more closely," points out the article entitled 'Pharma Leaps Offshore'. mckinseyquarterly..

That's all for now though there's plenty more out there. Join me again next week, same place.

Copyright (c) 2001- 2006 by Deepak Mankar. All rights reserved. Deepak Mankar, an advertising practitioner on the creative side since 1965, is also intensely passionate about the web and web content creation. Read his online articles at  Website: You may e-mail him Blog: