Stakeholder Advocacy and Profiling – Taking a Page From Game Theory

Partnering with stakeholder and advocacy groups operates as a kind of economic signaling  borrowing from Game Theory. Signaling in economics is when a sender transmits a message to a receiver but the message usually has nothing to do with the information the sender has. 

My college professor regularly cites the typical beer commercial as an example of signaling. The typical beer commercial conveys no information about the beer. Instead, the commercial just depicts people having fun and playing volleyball (how does this relate to beer?).

In the life sciences, companies perform a similar dance when they partner with advocacy and other stakeholder organizations. These partnerships do not result in a blatant statement from a stakeholder organization that the company’s therapies are high quality and efficacious. Rather, the existence of such a partnership essentially signals this message without the need to state it outright.

With so many advocacy organizations it can be difficult to determine who to partner with. Likewise, an organization may be a promising potential partner, but it turns out that group does not collaborate with industry. 

Thus, you must partner with the right organization to signal the right message about your treatment. 

At Snowfish, we offer a systematic approach to collaboration with advocacy. We start out by developing a robust understanding of the overall advocacy landscape for our clients’ disease state. Based on that understanding, we determine which groups should be profiled. Our profiling yields details about the organization relevant to our clients’ needs and how to best engage them. We finish our analysis with how the organizations are connected with each other and other entities.

Advocacy Group Identification

Identifying which groups should be profiled is imperative to formulating a strong advocacy strategy. At Snowfish, we identify, screen, and prioritize organizations of importance to our clients’ clinical and commercial goals. 

Frequently, our clients’ will provide a list of potential professional organizations, which provides a good starting point for the analysis.


By profiling each organization, we help our clients understand details about the organization relevant to their needs. We profile based on an organization’s financials, relevant activities, specific partnerships, and willingness to work with industry partners.


Another respected teacher of mine used to stress that it was not the “what” that mattered but the “why.” Linking is the “why.” Linking provides a full view of the advocacy landscape and how the organizations are connected. 

A broad understanding of the landscape optimizes the efficiency of the advocacy engagement strategy. Engaging one organization properly will offer access to a wider community

Snowfish explores organizational links based: on shared initiatives, ESE roles in advocacy groups, industry sponsorship/partnership, Public policy testimony, and Public-private partnership.


Forging relationships with advocacy organizations is critical to marketing your product. Using a three step methodology of identifying, profiling, and linking provides the best return on investment of your time. 

While advocacy and professional organizations will never publicly endorse a product, the existence of a partnership with these institutions will signal that your product is high quality. In Game Theory and in industry, the message conveyed through the signal is often more important than the actual information. 

Snowfish differentiates itself by our team’s background and willingness to think outside the box. We regularly incorporate Game Theory and other competitive analysis into our solutions. 

If you are looking for more information on Game Theory in the life sciences, the BIO 2022 conference is offering a paid course in decision making and negotiations using Game Theory. 

You can also check out Snowfish’s other posts in this genre for free: 

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Snowfish has partnered with over 40 companies and completed projects in over 60 disease states. The diversity of our team’s background and our willingness to think outside the box makes us unique. 

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