gansje: (Gansje)
[personal profile] gansje
30 minutes snatched away from work for myself, prior to going downstairs to ride the bike and trick my body into parting with a few fat cells... what, oh what to write about?

- I just returned from temperate California in time, basically, to turn back around and travel again tomorrow! This time, I'm off to beautiful Parsippany, NJ. I know, it's a traveler's dream come true. I will stay in the gorgeous Parsippany Hilton, surrounded by marketers and market researchers promoting themselves. What's not to love? And I myself will give a fantastic talk about how one can use sociolinguistics to answer all manner of research questions. Whee!  At least my colleague, C, will be there, and we'll have a little fun together. Less fun than we would have had if she were not in her first trimester of her second pregnancy and throwing up pretty much constantly, but still, we'll enjoy each other's company.

- California was very enjoyable, by contrast. My friend and colleague P. and I presented our research at Amgen, and it went extremely well. I really do get very excited about it when I can use my findings to help marketers think creatively about patient education and, especially in the oncology realm, to get them to promote survivorship programs, and free-up funds to make copay assistance available to more people. I WILL rework the system, dammit!


The thrust of my findings: metastatic breast and prostate cancer patients, with their oncologists, co-construct themselves as "essentially well," able to handle ongoing treatment and still maintain some quality of life because aside from their metastases, they're healthy. The product I was hired to research is a supportive therapy and the marketers wanted to know how to differentiate it from other brands in the supportive therapy space. I recommended that they focus on wellness, associating their brand with education about "living well while living with cancer," and promote an overall patient wellness program and financial aid/financial counseling for caregivers living under the obvious and hidden financial burden of cancer. For them, this aligns their brand (which is actually a really important medication) with emotional levers like security, hope, pleasure in the face of pain and fear, and even resignation to the "new normal" of metastatic cancer. For the person living with and treating their metastases, it provides solid financial help and some education around preserving quality of life, which just doesn't exist for advanced prostate and lung cancer sufferers because up until recently they simply didn't live long enough to justify there being much around survivorship education for them. Since there's a great deal available to breast cancer patients through very worthy and well-run advocacy/education groups, so I advised the brand team to provide additional funding to those groups in the form of grants and programming for people with metastatic cancer. I do whatever I can to mesh the team's needs with peoples' needs. It's the way I sleep at night. Anyway, I'm proud of that.

The brand team was absolutely delighted with my bid to rework the system in this case. One man in particular paid extremely close attention and was highly interactive. At the end of my presentation, he invited me back in March to speak to a much larger group including advocacy professionals. As she walked us out, the client who contracted with us told us that that was her boss and that she'd never seen him pay attention to any other marketing research presentation before. He's apparently a "fiddle with his smartphone and leave early" person. So it's lousy that he's a jerk, but the implicit compliment is pretty nice to have received.

- Otherwise, it was actually quite a hard trip. The flight to Phoenix on Thursday was delayed by 45 minutes because a broken seat had to be documented (and the man who had purchased said seat on the plane was bumped to another flight without the rest of his family, which was pretty lousy for them all, I'd imagine). The turbulence on the trip was constant and regardless of altitude, it couldn't be avoided, which meant that there was no drink and food service on the flight for five hours.


The flight was so significantly delayed we had only 5 minutes to get to our connecting flight, which was supposed to have been at the other end of the Phoenix airport. We all were poised to dash out of the plane when an elderly woman started seizing. The poor woman's daughter kept apologizing to everyone who was being delayed, of all things. A few of us yelled out to reassure her that all anyone cared about was her mother's health, and two doctors made their way up the aisle to help her. One flight attendant announced that people with connecting flights should remain on the plane so that paramedics could get to the woman quickly; they would reissue us tickets for later flights out of Phoenix to our destinations. However, the moment the doors opened, dozens of people grabbed their luggage and dashed off the plane around the doctors and the woman, rather than letting paramedics on the plane. P and I were disgusted, but eventually were ushered off the plane by the flight attendants who had given up trying to stem the tide, and oddly, our flight to Burbank was also delayed and its gate was literally right in front of us so mere steps and we were off to Burbank within moments.

Once we finally rolled in, P. and I decided to collapse, so I got room service (and the very strange man who brought me my food rubbed my arm/sleeve -- nubbly fabric! -- and I ushered him out because eww, that was slightly awful), and then more oddities occurred the next day, but that is a tale for a different time. I've taken more than 30 minutes and I need to spend some time with L and pack for tomorrow's trip!
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