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19 May 2019: Keith Rowland discusses Personal Branding, Networking, and Sales and Management Wisdom with former colleague Chip Helm. See it HERE


The DNA of an Effective Marketing Team - Prof. Brian D Smith

Brian is the world’s leading authority on the evolution of the pharma and medtech industry. In this tour de force, which you must watch on YouTube, he explains that if you want a superpowered marketing team, you need to genetically modify it, not just try to train it. He uses genetic engineering as an analogy to adapting medical marketing teams.

Physiological processes are derived from the proteome, expressed by the genome, with the ACTG genes underlying them


Business processes depend on capabilities, e.g. to do SWOT or segmentation.

These capabilities are the result of organisational routines, with subprocesses e.g. to analyse market share or commission research, equivalent to genes. These are made up of 4 micro- foundations, equivalent to base pairs of genes. The DNA of the brand team is its organisational routines and its micro-foundations.

The difference between the ordinary and extraordinary lies in a team’s DNA.

If you want to change fundamentally the traits of the team, you have to change its processes, organisational routines and micro-foundations.

No amount of training can make a chimp into a professor- you’d have to genetically modify it.

Let’s take the first one.

A process for understanding the situation has to have 4 core capabilities

How do you get to be capable? We drill down the capability for identifying critical alignment issues.

Effective medical marketing teams have these organisational routines.

All routines are underpinned by four categories of micro- foundations

If the genome has just non-working gene, this is the basis of many diseases.

Brian continues by returning to this point and dealing with the other processes in turn, drilling down to the capabilities (proteomes), routines (genomes) and ultimately the four underpinning micro- foundations (base pairs)

It all works in layers. Genetically modifying the team is the only way to achieve real change and marketing excellence. A teambuilding exercise white-water rafting will not fix the deficiencies.

He concludes by suggesting you ask yourself five successive questions:

What traits do we need to be superior at?

In order to have those, what processes need to work well?

What capabilities will we have to develop?

What organisational routines are necessary to make the capabilities?

What micro-foundations do we need? The ACTG of the genes