The Miles Pharmaceutical Business Simulation
My successful work on the Focus on the Future simulation resulted in the same agency contracting me to help produce written content for a simulation for Miles Pharmaceuticals. Conquest, The Miles Pharmaceutical Business Simulation was held in a resort hotel convention center from Monday, February 14 to Thursday, February 17, 1994. Participants were booked into the hotel for the duration of the simulation. It was very successful.
The Task of the Simulation
The objective of the event was to gage the marketing capabilities and product knowledge of the Miles Pharmaceutical sales force.
To accomplish this, members of the sales force, from across Canada, were divided into 24 Franchise Teams of 7-8 people and given the challenge of marketing the Miles drugs Adalat and Cipro to the Doctors of an imaginary country, Visonia. The Franchise Team that accumulated the most sales (prescriptions written), over a simulated 4-year period, would win the simulation. Teams and individuals were tracked during the simulation by management to assess their capabilities and methods.
The simulation was held in a large conference room. Each Franchise Team had a table and chairs in one half of the room to serve as their office; here planning and a review of events could occur. On the other side of the room were tables representing the offices of each of the 45 Doctors of Visonia, roleplayed by Miles training staff. Franchise Team members would book appointments with the Doctors that could last up to 9 minutes, then meet them at the agreed time in the Doctors office. Some Doctors would also accept drop-in sales calls.
Creating 45 Doctor Profiles
My first task involved creating profiles for the 45 Doctors of Visonia. These profiles, averaging 500 words each, had to be concise but detailed enough to provide the people who were going to roleplay the Doctors with enough background information to ensure that they could deal with most questions and situations that would occur during their appointments with sales representatives from each team.
Each Doctor Profile included the following information, a) Personal Background: Name, Age, Marital & Family Status, Lifestyle, Personal Interests & Entertainment Preferences; b) Professional Background: Occupation, whether they are an Opinion Leader, their Practice Region, their Practice Profile including what drugs they currently have available that compete with Adalat and Cipro; c) Appointment Info: whether they accept Drop-Ins, the importance of Formal Greetings, their primary Sales Turn-Off, whether they are Open to Change, whether they accept Samples, and whether they accept Entertainment Perks.
In order to assemble the information necessary to create 45 distinct and plausible profiles I had to do a substantial amount of research into the Adalat, Cipro, and the products of Miles competitors. Additionally, I had to research the roles of medical practitioners in private practice and hospital service and the practices of sales representatives in the pharmaceutical industry. It was quite an education.
180 Annual Doctor Profile Updates
Having established the Doctor Profiles, I was now required to develop Annual Updates for each or the 45 Doctors covering each year of the simulations 4 years for a total of 180 documents averaging 250 words each.
These updates included Personal and Professional Life Events that might impact upon the Doctors drug prescription writing preferences when meeting with a Miles sales representative. They also included the total number of Prescription Allocations for Adalat and Cipro that the Doctor could accept from sales representatives for that year.
Part of the purpose of these Updates was to provide the Doctor roleplayers with information that they could use to discuss the products of Miles and their competitors with the sales representatives. Included were questions that the Doctor could ask about the use and performance of specific drugs based on their specific medical occupation. Again, in order to produce plausible and useful documents, I had to conduct a significant amount of research into all aspects of the pharmaceutical industry.
An Annual Newspaper
Each year of the simulation a newspaper was distributed to each Franchise Team that included specific stories that were relevant to their sales efforts, nestled among other irrelevant but light-hearted text. Sales representatives could scan the paper and extract the information pertinent to their task.
The brief articles I wrote included information concerning Miles products and their competitors relative to Visonia, changes in government policy and regulation in specific areas, changes in medical budgets for certain areas and facilities, information about diseases and ailments that Miles products might address, environmental disasters, and new competitors in the market. Some articles also included quotes from specific Doctors that the sales representatives could meet with in the simulation.
In addition to writing the newspaper I also designed the layout.
Visonia Dollars, Badges, Signs, Etc.
I was also involved in producing a variety of support materials that included Visonia Dollars, used by sales representatives to purchase marketing materials during the simulation, and an assortment of signs, badges, forms, and manuals.