Sometimes it’s more important to focus your marketing on what customers want rather than on what they need. Highland Marketing founder, Mark Venables, looks at the fine art of positioning.
Meeting a need doesn’t mean making a sale.
Need and want aren’t the same thing. Let’s say you’ve developed a brilliant new product, something that meets an unfulfilled healthcare need, and it’s widely recognised as cost effective. Surely prospects will be beating a path to your door? Well, not necessarily.
If potential customers don’t perceive what you’ve got as what they want, you risk them doing nothing or, worse, going elsewhere. In our market, that’s compounded by funding being focused on centrally-defined priorities – if what you’ve got isn’t what the customer is able to buy, they’ll have to pass on it.
The fifth ‘P’.
Seasoned marketing practitioners sometimes talk about the “four Ps’ – product, price, promotion, and place. It’s an approach that’s stood the test of time, but it can lead to a simplistic view of “right” product. That brilliant, new, cost-effective product that which meets a pressing need? It’s only the “right” product if your customer thinks it is.
That’s what the fine art of positioning is about, and why I think positioning is the fifth P.
Adopt the position.
At its simplest, positioning is about shifting your viewpoint. No matter how smart your development and marketing people are, they’ll always benefit from shifting their perspective. It’s about moving from features to benefits (another piece of hallowed marketing wisdom), it’s about understanding market dynamics, and it’s about not being precious.
Just because that special piece of functionality that the team worked long and hard on is really quite smart, don’t assume your prospect is going to be impressed or that it fits into what the market is buying.
One of the most important things Highland Marketing does when working with a client on messaging is to be the person in the room championing the customer view. We apply the “so what” test, which is a simple way of getting to the heart of a message. If there’s not a compelling answer to the question “so what”, the argumentation needs more work.
Positioning your product well means your customers get what they need.
We work with inspired innovators. What they do breaks new ground and has the potential to genuinely make a difference. It’s a privilege to work with these people but, sometimes, they can get lost in their own echo chamber. They don’t need convincing that what they’ve got is what customers need. As a marketer, your job is to make sure the customer knows that too, and that’s why you need an external voice to help with positioning.
We’ve been working on a couple of use cases recently.
- There’s the innovative point product – You know it’s great, and we can help you find its place in the complex, noisy market that is healthcare. Maybe it’s messaging, or targeting the right kind of prospect, or building alliances.
- Then there’s the conglomerate – You’ve amassed a collection of established products, and we can help you bring them together into a coherent market proposition.
Getting it right?
It’s a tough job for internal teams to get positioning right. That’s especially true in our world of innovative products, it’s all too easy to fall in love with our creations. What’s required is an unprejudiced external view that’s informed by deep knowledge of technology, healthcare and the NHS market.
There aren’t many places you can find that kind external view, but I’d suggest Highland Marketing is one of them. With deep roots in the health tech world, an experienced team, and an advisory board comprising luminaries from the health tech scene, we’re well positioned to help you with your positioning.
Get in touch if you want to know more.