Medical Industry The health care industry, or medical industry, is a sector within the economic system that provides goods and services to treat patients with curative, preventive, rehabilitative, palliative, or, at times, unnecessary care. The modern health care sector is divided into many sub-sectors, and depends on interdisciplinary teams of trained professionals and paraprofessionals to meet health needs of individuals and populations. The health care industry is one of the world's largest and fastest-growing industries. Consuming over 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) of most developed nations, health care can form an enormous part of a country's economy. Installations: Buildings Equipment: Machines Accessory: Chair, table, computers, projectors, LCDs, security electronics. Raw material: Raw medicine Fabricated parts: Bottles, caps Industrial supplies MRO: Those medicine machines require maintenance and repair Demand: Demand is derived from many factors like climate, disease, illness. We can also create demand through aesthetic need like: Do you want to be slim and things like that. Positioning — the art of creating favorable comparison on your company in the market Familiarly, positioning is the term used in marketing to denote the position of a product (or service) on the "product ladder of comparison" as seen by the target market for that item of sale. For instance, a Rolls-Royce is on top of the product ladder of automobiles for those whose values are conservative in this area. Reversely, for sport car enthusiasts, the top step of the ladder is probably occupied by Ferrari Enzo or McLaren F1 or some other such super-expensive marvels of transportation style and power. You see a lot of manifestations of positioning in its cruder forms. Essentially, advertising, copywriting, the planning of campaigns and the devising of strategy of approach are all subjects that require a lot of experience. Yet many business owners feel compelled to write their own copy, create their own approaches and devise their own positioning. This is a human trait in which competence in one area is assumed to stretch into a whole different subject matter. But it doesn't. Competence in advertising, marketing and, above all, positioning all requires a LOT of experience. Each is an ART, a craft that takes time to learn and the only way you can acquire the competence is through trial and error, combined with continuous learning curve. Thus, you can see positioning attempts that have the adverse effect than what was intended. "Our cranes are the Rolls-Royce of the construction world" would be an example, one I hope that no-one is actually using. You have "the Rolex of this or that" and other equally halting positioning attempts in this world. So, how do you position correctly then? Positioning comparison between B2B and consumer sectors Let's differentiate between B2B and consumer marketing from the offset. A lot of silly thinking has seeped in from the consumer marketing and advertising in which there's a lot of "Alice in Wonderland" included. With this I mean that with consumer marketing the ideas you want to impinge upon the public come from the advertiser and then there's a lot of cute trickery and entertainment value involved, pounded home with television advertising costing millions. You get to use your creativity more and it matters not (much) HOW you are noticed, as long as you are by millions of people hundreds or thousands of times... and hey presto, they pick your product from the supermarket shelf. In B2B positioning you cannot afford advertising campaigns whose media bill runs into millions. Your target group is counted in hundreds or thousands of decision makers rather than millions or tens of millions of people. In consumer marketing, the positioning is a simple matter really (although its successful implementation is usually not). "Drink this soda and you'll be COOL!" "Use this anti wrinkle cream and you will be desirable!" The idea is to catch as many people as possible and communicate the message in as short a time-span as feasible... and then just repeat it over and over again. In B2B, the decision-making process is longer as the sold items are more sizeable investments. Nobody buys industrial equipment because it's the "in thing to do." You need far more factual positioning, a longer contact that is carefully prepared to interact mutually with the prospective customer — instead of one-way feed of glittery claims as is the case in consumer advertising. In B2B marketing, it would be rather mindless to create entertaining films of 30-60 seconds to show to these few people. They might be impressed but such short spurts of information would not give dividends to justify the huge expense. Positioning on the B2B sector In terms of positioning and strategy of approach, marketing is a far more challenging undertaking in the business-to-business sector that with consumers. On the brighter side of the coin, the cost is far lower and, if done correctly, the risks involved far smaller than in consumer advertising. In actuality, there can be seen not one but several "ladders" on which your company and its items of sale need to be firmly planted. Before we get into these various categories of positioning, let's mull over that last concept a bit. See. In terms of positioning, you actually only have two choices. Either YOU position yourself... or others will do it in your stead. "Others" here refers mainly to your target group but leaving it to them leaves you vulnerable to any negative rumors anyone cares to spread. Not positioning your company yourself, you leave a vacuum which others will fill with whatever information THEY consider correct or justified. Thus we see that it's always better to do your own positioning than not. The idea of "letting the market decide where we stand in comparison to others" is an invitation to potential disaster, despite the apparent logic of this "everyone's free to make up their mind" concept which in itself is very noble. Yet, as it is so popular to not bother with positioning, the most common "positioning" of mid- sized companies out there can be anything. It could be "it doesn't exist" because the main part of the potential market could be totally unaware of your existence. It could be "they're expensive" just because someone SAYS so or you fail to explain your pricing includes something others' quotes don't. It could be anything... and it could be orchestrated by sources not favorable to you. The point is that unless YOU provide the message then it won't be there at all OR someone else will compose it for you, in which case the positioning won't be to your liking. So when it comes to positioning, it's better to do than not. All right, next let's look at which types of positioning are useful in the B2B sector. Now I'm not going to wade through all of them and I'll be brief with each as this is a subject on which books can be written. Positioning your products and/or services This is the basic art of positioning. You need to find out where your products stand in relation to competitors'. Here, we aim for technical knowledge, not concerning ourselves with how the target group thinks currently, as that's what we're out to change, right? Are you at the same level technically or are you not? Where do you stand in terms of quality, durability, reliability, usefulness and such aspects of usage? Do you have some unique benefits which others lack? Is your target group AWARE of these benefits at all? Do they realize these benefits and, if not, how do we achieve such realization? What do THEY call the problem that this unique characteristic solves? Once these things are known, we can then position your product on the ladder of all similar products on the market... and do it so that it is believable and yet as high as possible. Positioning YOU in relation to your clients How does your company come across to its intended customers, both prospective and existing buyers? Do they perceive your company (and its representatives) as a friendly, no- nonsense provider of high-quality goods with a good service attitude... or do they think you're distant and hard to talk with? What kind of a reputation does your company have out there? These things are easy to set right provided we KNOW how you're seen and how the target group members (in average) see THEMSELVES. If they see themselves as hands-on, down-to-earth practical professionals then we need to GRANT them that in our communication and avoid anything that would give mixed messages in regards to this. And although it sounds quite complicated it really is not. A simple marketing survey will answer these questions quickly and with astonishing accuracy. Positioning your message to produce response through the biggest desires of the target group There's a Catch 22 in marketing that makes us believe that we are the best ones to know what our clients need and want. Technically, it is a correct conclusion. Theoretically a client should merely contact you, give you free hands to put together the best solution to their needs... and then just pay the bill. Too bad it doesn't work that way, eh? You and I would be billionaires by now, what with all the work we've done, right? However, the insistence to make our own decisions is part and parcel of human nature. Your prospective client is the most expert person HE knows and he isn't about to give you the power to decide what he wants and needs. Thus, we need to go through what our target group wants and needs; regardless of how mistaken it may appear to us. The more we position ourselves into providing what our customers need and want (AS seen by THEM), the more valuable your services will be seen by the clientele. This is so much the case that PROSPECTIVE customers will make a good part of their decision based on this single premise: "How well do these guys appear to know what I want and need... and how well do they work according to my wishes and requirements?" Now, of course you and your sales persons do their best to accommodate the needs and wishes of future customers. It goes without saying. But here's the thing: Positioning is all about ADVANCE CONTACT, see? Your promotional materials, your first contacts with prospects... these are all done "blind" as if it were, without the ability to ASK... and that's assuming all your salespeople are qualified market researchers who know what to ask, what conclusions to draw from the reply and HOW to ask. So your marketing spearheads everything and the way you position yourself there factually predetermines the reaction of most prospects... well before you become acquainted with them so you could ASK. So, what's your positioning? How CERTAIN are you which needs customers have in common and which they don't? How certain are you what is the most wanted quality of service, what's second, third and so on? How certain are you of the words they use in describing these things, the problems they feel are important, the things they consider impossible (and which you should not say you can do at that point) and so on? There are two kinds of certainty. One is self-created. The other is based on research data. Certainty alone does not guarantee success, as witnessed by those millions who went under, never once doubting that their certainty was not justified by reality. So consider researching your target group on what THEY want and need because THEY are dead-certain that they are RIGHT, see? In this matter, it's better to be successful than right... Positioning the emotional tone of your message to correspond to that of your target group What's the emotional tone within your target group? Are they angry men, are they conservative, are they hopeless about their future, do they feel sorry for themselves... or what? What are they angry ABOUT... what riles them up good and proper? Whatever it is, you had better know it and then devise a positioning that also rants about that same thing THEY hate. What do they think is at all achievable in this or that subject? Promise them more and you'll lose your credibility as they "know you're lying" (see — they KNOW it can't be done and here are you saying it can and it's easy... so you MUST be lying...) and they won't believe anything you say after that. How MUCH improvement do they consider possible? Talk about more than that and again you're undercutting your own credibility. What do they dream about in terms of success in connection with your products / services? Go with that as your main benefit and you'll find a lot more prospects and sales in your wake. What do they believe is achievable through your service/product although it strictly speaking isn't necessarily so or its acquisition depends on the buyer? Find out a way to promise that with ironclad conditions and clarifications that safeguard you legally but open up a huge demand for YOUR products/services. What do they absolutely believe about your industry and/or products, despite all efforts of you (and your competitors) proving otherwise? You had better AGREE with that in some passive way or else you won't get far with your prospects. Y You can change the mind of each individual customer LATER once he has gained sufficient understanding about the subject... but try it now and you'll fail. It's all a question of positioning your message (and, thus, YOU) on par with the emotional responses of your target group as average. You survey to find out and go with the main points that come out and start from there. I think you can see where this is headed, right? Reality, your actual abilities, the true nature of the industry and your products... none of these has much to do with positioning at this phase. You cannot START at that point. You must start at where your target group is in terms of knowhow, knowledge, understanding, beliefs, fears, assumptions and emotional responses... ...and then work your way up from there, giving information, creating more understanding, doing away with false beliefs and slowly building trust that translates into more positive emotional responses. With some prospects this cycle can happen SO fast it's almost the speed of light. You don't even notice it. With others, you'll need to work a bit to make the change. But with everyone, it will work better; your chances of success will be far greater once your marketing has been correctly positioned to correspond with the emotional responses of your target group. Positioning — the key to successful B2B marketing On the whole, marketing really builds on clever and realistic positioning. To give you an idea of what's involved; let me say that there are about 100 issues that need to be taken into consideration in positioning. For each of these there are perhaps 50-100 alternatives, some of which you know and others that are unknown to you as yet. These 100 issues need to be found so we have the top item on each (out of these 50 possible alternatives) and all of these points are then put in CORRECT SEQUENCE so that they act as steps on a ladder of enlightenment if you wish, a staircase that your prospects can walk with ease as each step is correctly elevated and leads neatly to the next. It all happens in the mind of the prospect. HE forms these data, gradually advancing from where he's at currently to where you want him to graduate in terms of understanding and knowledge. Now you see that there's no hope to come across this staircase by luck. "Hit and hope" is not the recommended technique for positioning. As positioning is the foundation of your whole marketing strategy, it's best to be thorough. But here's the good news: Once you have established the facts on which to create your positioning so it will be based securely on research, it will last for a long time, a decade or two in fact. This positioning is based on the innermost attitudes of your target group and those change very slowly indeed. Pricing: We set our pricing according to 3Cs Cost Competitors Customers Use standard pricing for all and special pricing for extra ordinary large units. Technology Adoption Life Cycle New technology presents risk for many customers. They react differently toward this risk based on their innate characteristics, the wants and needs of their companies, and the behavior of other buyers. The Technology Adoption Life Cycle (TALC) models how different groups of customers adopt to discontinuous innovation at different times. This model helps high-tech marketers build the best strategy for each phase of a product's life. The graphic below shows the markets that develop along the TALC and the types of customers that dominate them. The Early Market The Early Market is the phase in which a discontinuous innovation can grow from merely a technology with promise to a novel new product idea. The customers at this point recognize that the technology is new and unproven but it has the potential for a breakthrough. The Early Market consists of two kinds of customers: 1. Technology enthusiasts (techies) can be found in most every organization. They are always looking for state-of-the-art technology, but they typically don't have the money to fund further development. Techies provide a good test ground for a new technology. They are also gatekeepers to the rest of the TALC. Impress the technology enthusiasts, and you can get the attention of visionaries. If the techies are unimpressed, visionaries will look to another way of gaining competitive advantage. 2. Visionaries are industry revolutionaries looking for a breakthrough application that will give them a competitive business advantage. They see discontinuous innovations for the potential advantage offered, especially if the technology can give them a clear edge over the competition. The challenge is that they may want you to modify the innovation to address their specific issue, without regard to what the market wants or needs. Their importance lies in their ability to fund development as well as publicize it within an industry. The Chasm The Chasm represents a gap between the Early Market and the next phase: the Bowling Alley. It develops when there are few if any remaining visionaries to sell to but pragmatists are not yet ready to adopt. Pragmatists do not see a complete solution to their problem, plus there is no group of references that have formed that they trust. In addition, they want to see the solution working live at customer sites. Revenue growth ceases or even recedes in the Chasm. The length of this market lull is uncertain. The Bowling Alley Market momentum picks back up in the Bowling Alley phase, as early pragmatists in certain customer segments overcome their reluctance toward discontinuity and adopt the new technology to solve niche-specific problems. By their nature, pragmatists are reluctant to adopt new technology and prefer to follow the herd. Early pragmatists are forced out of their comfort zone to find solutions for broken, mission-critical business processes. The Bowling Alley phase takes its name from the market strategy that is appropriate. The key to success is to provide a complete solution for one segment while identifying closely aligned segments that could benefit from a similar solution. When the momentum from successfully capturing market share in the first segment (the lead bowling pin) is felt, this momentum is leveraged into adjacent segments. By dominating several segments, your company may start to emerge as a sector leader. The Tornado As the Bowling Alley phase further develops, a mass market sometimes emerges where the product is swept into a Tornado of demand. Up to this point, late pragmatists have delayed their adoption, waiting for the technology to gain a strong record of accomplishment and enough references from people they trust. In the Tornado, these pragmatists finally shift en masse to the new infrastructure, and they tend to go with the market leader. Only one company will emerge as the market leader around which the standard will be constructed. An influx of new customers creates a huge sales opportunity, and demand outpaces supply. One key to success in the Tornado is to expand the sales channel as fast as possible in order to capture market share at the expense of the competition. Main Street Once the new product and infrastructure are in place throughout the market, the Tornado gives way to the Main Street phase. The mass market stabilizes, and the standard product begins to experience a price decline. In this market, some conservative end users look for value-added extensions (+1 offer) that deliver additional benefit. Conservatives don't see value in technology just for technology's sake. They tend to stay out of the market as long as they can, finally making the leap because they fear being left behind. Conservatives are sensitive to price and demanding of value. The key to Main Street success is to offer the add-on products that can command a price premium from conservative customers. Total Assimilation Total Assimilation marks the end of the TALC. In many cases additional services will extend the life of aging legacy systems. In this phase, even skeptics will unconsciously or begrudgingly accept the technology, possibly obtained as a service or designed into an end product in which skeptics never see the technology. Skeptics are defenders of the status quo and want solutions that have no risk. Even though the TALC is coming to a close, Total Assimilation is not the end of the product life cycle. Just as automobiles were in the Tornado in the 1930s and were on Main Street following World War II, they are by no means at the end of their market. They have simply moved beyond first-time adoption. KAM It can be a tough life for pharmaceutical companies sometimes. Just think how many different bosses they have to answer to, some of whom have very little to do with a bottom-line result. It is not enough trying to focus on the generation and development of good relationships with top clients, but they also have to work out how to assess key account management while dealing with the difficult demands of regulators, auditors and others. Key account management tactics are of critical importance to a pharmaceutical company and the tactics must be administered creatively and flexibly, but still correctly. The key account sometimes has several different points of communication within the pharmaceutical company and this can lead to a certain amount of confusion if not handled correctly. However, it is also true to say that these individual “points” could view the key account from different perspectives, depending upon the job level and/or driving force. Most pharma consulting experts advise us that a sales executive on the front line, if he or she is motivated by revenues, could not ultimately have the best interests of the client or the company in focus. This is often not a cut and dried situation but rather very subtle, and can nevertheless have an effect on the overall relationship between the two organizations. A key account can be as valuable to a pharmaceutical company as it can provide a high level of stability and enhance cash flow to no end. However, the designation of “key account” status should not be given lightly. It should never be decided based on scale alone, and many other factors must be taken into consideration. It is possible that a high-volume could result in a low bottom-line return, due to the cost of servicing the needs of the client and razor thin margins. Typically in most organizations, 20% of the clients represent 80% of the value and this business metric is well-established. As such, once an account is designated as potentially “key,” it should be segmented and categorized to determine the best approach. A number of different layers of key account management could exist within a typical organization and all tiers of management, especially those who regularly interact with clients, must receive correct training in the techniques required to handle every level and type of account. Many different ways exist to segment and categories a client, when it comes to the designation of key account status and these include the company’s growth rate, its percentage allocation of profits, total annual sales and peer-to-peer comparison. The pharmaceutical consulting firm will be the first to tell the company that no two clients are alike and furthermore that no two key accounts can be treated the same, either. Generally, pharmaceutical consultants know how to deal with various levels of accounts and can be very helpful in imparting this level of knowledge to the company’s various staffing points. It is best if the pharmaceutical company develops a critical statement outlining the terms of the relationship with each and every client. The company should never possess a standard description of any kind, fully recognizing that the key account is so important to the company’s long-term viability, thereby resulting in all staff members being fully trained to recognize the significant difference between an “orange and an apple,” so to speak. Alan Gillies is the Managing Director of L2L Consulting, specializing in enabling pharmaceutical companies to achieve new heights of productivity and performance, throughout all levels of management and revenue generating activities.