While catching up on my Hidden Brain podcasts – and physical activity -- the other day, I queued up “The Fox and The Hedgehog: The Triumphs and Perils of Going Big.” In the episode, Shankar Vedantam introduces a psychologist’s take on the Greek poet Archilochus’ writing of "the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing." Phil Tetlock (aforementioned psychologist) says the parable represents two cognitive styles: “Foxes have different strategies for different problems. They are comfortable with nuance, they can live with contradictions. Hedgehogs, on the other hand, focus on the big picture. They reduce every problem to one organizing principle.”


As I’m wont to do when I’m trying to focus on anything but the exercise, my mind drifted to work. (Which is either a testament to how much I hate exercise or how much I enjoy my work…) Changes and pressures in the pharmaceutical industry have put the spotlight on quantifying value and measuring impact. The appetite for innovation and change is strong. But the tolerance for risk is not.


Why It Matters

We want to be hedgehogs, but we’re much more comfortable as foxes.


Can’t we be both? A hedgefox? A foxhog?


Maybe we can with predictive analytics. Predictive analytics provide an opportunity to recreate an entire marketplace in a digital simulation. You can experiment with every permutation of investment, channel and message without spending a single dollar on a well-intentioned in-market pilot. So, you can analyze, test and course-correct all while focusing on that great big idea.


More than 8 out of 10 pharma marketers agree that innovation is imperative to reaching their business goals. But NONE strongly agree that they know which touchpoints, channels or customer experiences to focus change on. Predictive analytics can change that. Go on, be a fox in hedgehog’s clothing. Download our “Freedom to Fail” workbook to find out how.

About the Author:

For more than 15 years, Amanda has helped build the reputation of Syneos Health Communications agencies through marketing communications plans and campaigns that fuel market engagement. As Vice President of Marketing, she works across geographies and disciplines in the creation of content and tools that help internal and external teams connect with key audiences. Working at an organization staffed with some of the best talent in the industry, Amanda feels lucky to partner with thought leaders on perspectives and analyses that have far-reaching impact. Together they are providing clients with insights and trends to help them thrive in a new era of healthcare marketing.