I’ve always preached that the Sales profession will NEVER accomplish its objectives without the help of Marketing, and Marketing will NOT be successful without the buy in/pull-through from Sales….the two cannot survive in their own vacuums. HOWEVER, I’ve experienced a bit of an epiphany this past year as I had the opportunity to work with a client in helping build a brand strategy platform for their hospital based product. In the pharma/med device industries nomenclatures like “Core Messaging”, “Value Propositions”, and “Customer Value” (just to name a few) are becoming not just industry “Cliché’s but means of survival for a product either coming to market or growing market share. Let’s face it there’s not one company out there banking their entire product portfolio’s future on just being “Cheap”, there’s profit margins, stock holder expectations etc that have to be met. Sure, we hear every day on TV and in our respective industries companies touting that their product is cheaper or more affordable….but those are two words that are subjective depending on whom you ask. You will NEVER have the cheapest product unless you give it away for free then guess what? People won’t buy it because lower cost or “Free” means lack of quality right? (Haha…it’s a crazy cycle of thinking). In other words sometimes people actually place “Value” around “high cost” which will go to my point that “Marketing” will be king….in 2014!
Getting back to my 2013 epiphany and why 2014 will be the “Marketers” year, we’ve seen the Best and the Worst ways to launch an initiative/product this past year that gave us ALL an education of why “Marketing” is a necessity….and not bells, balloons and whistles as it’s so often portrayed. Case #1 the most popular product purchased this year (2013) by YOU the consumer was “Google’s Chromecast” for HDMI ports and quite frankly I have no idea of this product’s true value….BUT THE GOOGLE MARKETING MACHINE IS AWESOME and I would probably purchase it just based on that fact. Case #2 yes, the “Affordable Care Act “website….what a mess and classic 101 “This is NOT how you launch a new product/initiative. In my humble opinion what went terribly wrong from the start with the introduction of the website was…….the introduction. Yes, you can certainly argue that the technical problems and maybe not having the best people on the project at the very beginning was an issue I would argue that the “Vision”, “Value Proposition”, and “Customer Value” birthed from the website I will say harshly was “Incompetently Communicated” or even “Built”. From the very outset and even still today NO ONE fully understands the true “Value” this entire “Affordable Care Act” including website is going to have on the public other than what we’re hearing is that everyone will have access to affordable (there’s that cost message again!) healthcare which many are now questioning. Avoiding turning this into a political post I’m hoping you get my point, and that is we as intelligent, thoughtful, and prudent human beings rely on and are attracted to things that bring “Value” to our lives and sure the catchy marketing phrases/tactics you see on TV and in industry are sometimes to “Salesy” and over the top the point is “Marketing” is supposed to bring context to why you should spend top dollar on a product/service based on “Value Proposition” and “Customer Value”.
I really feel 2014 will be a breakout year for the “Marketing Expert” and I will say to all you “Sales Professionals” out there, if you do not have any experience in “Marketing”…..GET IT! It’s not only the most rewarding skill it’s a skill that’s going to have more traction in the business space as technology, social media, and corporate America look for those who can help build brand infrastructure around their products & services as I had the opportunity to do this past year!
There are many ways to build a “Product Brand” with Marketing Excellence and I do not profess that I have the end all/perfect way of doing such that, however, there are 3 premises I find are the cornerstone to help move you to that process:
• Exploit Uniqueness of Brand: What separates your product from the market competitor(s) and is there a “uniqueness” that drives that separation. By establishing the “Value Proposition” (as an authority) it demonstrates the differentiated features/benefits to the consumer so that their able to make an informed decision.
• Establish A Leadership Presence: Build “CustomerCentric” strategy that drives “Core Messaging”, and “Value Proposition” and enhances partnership with the customer.
• Sustain Consistent Access To Customer: While this is a joint effort between Sales & Marketing, “Access” strategies to establish “Product Uniqueness” & “Leadership” requires “Value Added” resources from Marketing that keeps product relevancy in front our customers consistently.
Check out my “Global Marketing Excellence Strategy Plan” presentation. It’s taken from a Pharma/Medical Device perspective, however it will help you follow the 3 premises I speak to above. If you’re interested in having me help you build your brand to “Marketing Excellence” my contact information is illustrated below. (HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!)
You can also checkout my background/work by clicking on the following links:
AH2 & Beyond Consulting