Showing posts with label marketing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label marketing. Show all posts

Monday, May 19, 2014

B2B Marketing - Guide for beginners

Sales and Marketing is the most used up terminology in the context to B2B Marketing in India. Though all the B2B companies believe in marketing and it is of utmost need, but barely any company ever thinks about analytic. When it comes to finance or human resources, ROI is what every company thinks first, but this doesn’t stand true when it comes to marketing function.

Most of the marketing function decisions are taken blindly or by gut instinct, this sometimes proves, but most of the times such decisions are impractical. Here I have listed down the process of marketing based on by experience and it has helped lot of companies.

Most of the B2B companies refrain from using technology for marketing function and try to run away from it, but they hardly understand that it is the backbone of any function. Having tools like CRM, Social CRM, Social Media Metrics and Marketing Campaign management helps in long way to provide meaningful insights about all the different campaigns. In marketing there is no thumb rule, sometime one of the worst designed campaign works and expensive campaign will hardly give results, so METRICS are important.
With digital marketing most of the companies are rushing towards this new found avenue, with the hope of increase in conversions, but traditional marketing also has it’s positives, it is important to sync it with your CRM.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Why should doctors market themselves?

This is what we say most often as they get references through word-of-mouth publicity.

But only doctor understands the reason behind it. After completing specializing most of the doctors attach themselves to various different hospitals as consultants and start their own clinic. The doctors believe this is the only route they can reach out to patients and market themselves. Well I am afraid as this is just one route of strategy!

There are many other ways of marketing and promoting their own brand and services, here I have tried listing a few which could help:
  1. Peer-to-peer marketing: It is very important for a doctor to inform the GPs and hospitals about services offered. This is from where most recommendations will happen. A doctor’s recommendation is worth more than patients references.

  2. Patients follow-up: Most of the doctors hardly follow-up with their patients well being or enquiring about follow-up visits. Also the charges of follow-up visits should be revised, like doctor charging Rs. 200 on first visit should charge Rs. 20 for follow-up visit and these patients should have different appointment schedule. The doctor can also send a get well card to the patient.

  3. Delivery of medicines: The doctor should tie-up with nearest medical store for delivery of medicines. This will ensure that medicines reach the patients and a service the patients will cherish. This will also benefit the pharma store.

  4. Suggesting medicines: Lot of patients hate taking medicines, the doctor can discuss with the patients and recommend only those medicines which are required. This will also ensure that patients will take the dosage.
There are many ways which can help the medical practitioners to market themselves, but most important is they should be compassionate and humble towards their patients.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Doctors do not know how to market themselves - Jagdeep Kapoor

Jagdeep Kapoor, Chairman and Managing Director, Samsika Marketing Consultants Pvt Limited On how doctors should market themselves

How can a doctor market himself, when advertising is prohibited for the medical community?
So what if doctors are not allowed to advertise themselves? Advertising is just a minor part of marketing, and there are various ways a doctor can market himself. I want to debunk the myth that marketing is unethical. Ethical marketing is permissible. Doctors can market themselves within the purview of the existing prohibition.

What brand mantras do you propagate, keeping in mind the restrictions?
We advocate simple and practical tips to doctors for improving their marketing skills. Firstly, we stress on relationship building with the patient, which we call relationship marketing. ‘Sambandh’ is better than ‘sab-bandh’. A doctor needs to build a personal relationship with the patient by making minor efforts like remembering the name of the patients, writing the name correctly and being polite to them.
Most doctors get irritated when simple piece of information is asked. They behave as if the patient is wasting his time, by asking him that question. A doctor must not treat the patient as an imbecile. These days most of the urban and educated patients before going to a doctor are aware of the nature of the disease, by dint of the internet. The patient should go back not with scare but with care.
Secondly, to build a big brand name use a small brand name. Research has shown that small brand names do better than interminably long names. If a doctor has a long name, which the patient cannot even pronounce, then the doctor needs to shorten his name. Same holds true for hospital and clinic name. Thirdly, the doctor needs to make himself visible. We hear of doctors who are good at work and practicing for decades, with not too many people knowing about him. This is because the doctor has not made a conscious effort to make himself known through word of mouth. This hurdle can be overcome by getting involved in social work. If a doctor participates in honorary work, then people come to know him and that is how he becomes more popular.
Lastly, intangible is as important as tangible. Show the patient that you care for him, by uttering encouraging words, and even patting him. Be sensitive and sympathetic while informing a patient about serious illness and when breaking the death news to relatives.

Can you give us an overview of Samsika Marketing Consultants?
The first strategic marketing consultancy in India, Samsika is the catalyst that helps corporations grow and make their mark in the market. The complexities of the marketplace are Samsika’s greatest challenges and to meet them, Samsika offers its exclusive service. Being the only specialist marketing strategy consultancy in the country, Samsika is fully equipped on all aspects of brand building, whether it is advertising or public relations, market or media research. The Samsika team works closely with clients, steering, guiding, advising and pushing the brand’s graph to an upward incline. Our brand mantras have been penned in three books- "24 Brand Mantras" and "Brand Serve-31 Customer Service Prescriptions" and "Brand Naamkaran".

Are Indian doctors more insensitive and curt, in comparison with their western counterpart?
We cannot generalise about Indian doctors. Even if Indian doctors are revered and given the status of demi-gods, they definitely do not know how to market themselves. At the reception, when patients enquire about the report, it is common practice that receptionists reply curtly. Some even say "What do you want the report immediately. How is that possible? You just gave your sample now." Why cannot the patient be replied politely? Why would the patient be made to feel undeserving, when he is paying such a hefty sum? Indian doctors need to come down from the pedestal that they seat, segregating themselves from the patient.

Has there been a change in the attitude of doctors over the years?
Yes, in the last two-three years there has been a positive change. A research conducted by Samsika which involved 1900 service providers from seven different industry in 2001-2002 reflects the change. It shows that customers are looking for care, world class treatment and sensitivity of the service provider. In healthcare, the change can be attributed to the emphasis shifting from cure to care.

Sourced from # expresshealthcaremgmt

Friday, September 12, 2008

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning forms an intrinsic part of any product/service launch. It is the most important function of any brand to survive in this cluttered market of Brands. Positioning helps to define category in which the Brand will survive, grow and grab market share to earn RoI.
Often more than 10 brands of similar features compete for market share and that is the main reason why positioning is very important. The brand needs to segregate itself from other competing brands in terms of packaging, spotting the right target audience; features such as colour, taste, aroma does count the other factors being personal touch and user friendly. We can jot down more than 100 factors where the Brand needs to position, but this largely depends on Brand like whether it is a product or service, then whether it is consumable, etc.

The Brand to appeal a consumer, it should first appeal to their senses. The brand needs to create first impression or impact on consumer sight, then smell/aroma, the touch. The other two senses hearing and mouth will have less impact. Post approval from these three senses the mind and heart thinks about the brand. This whole process takes less then 2 seconds but a lot of money is at stake. The money involved for R & D, marketing, packaging, sales, human resources, etc
So this brings us to a very important point that, we have to influence the consumer at first sight, then touch, then smells and aroma. Now that we have reached this stage, the consumer is prompted to think and decide with the help of heart. Heart plays an important role as it takes most of the decisions. There are many examples, let me illustrate a few:

  1. Idea - An idea can change life - The priest wants to teach, needy and poor students but lacks resources less no of teachers, far of villages, less classrooms, etc. So uses Idea mobile network and starts classes for these students through speaker phone. The teacher teaching students through mobile phones a great idea to reach the needy students in villages. Everybody wants to help society what they need is a simple Idea, this also highlights that Idea can reach the remote villages where teachers cannot reach.
  2. Vodafone- While Vodafone says wherever you go will be there with you always. They positioned this with a pup following a small child the goes in forests, in bathroom, in school bus, etc the pup follows the child everywhere.
  3. Airtel – Airtel instills the emotional connect of a father and son. It starts with a young college lad visiting a small house in a distant village. An old lady opens the door and upon enquiring finds out that the lad is her grandson. Grandson meets grandfather who is angry with the lad’s father for leaving them alone in their old. The young lad uses his mobile to call his father, and hands his (young lads) mobile to his grandfather. Upon hearing apologies, the grandfather gets emotional and cries. Thus the young grandson helps to bridge the gap between grandfather and father.
  4. Reliance mobile – They openly claim that they are present in more than 100,000 villages through advertising.

If we compare each mobile service providers communication, they tell/inform the consumers that their network is present everywhere even in villages, but the positioning and communication is different. So positioning helps a Brand to separate itself from clutter of different Brands, this helps to establish trust in consumers mind and they began to own the brand.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What a BRAND means for a common person?

For a common person or the people at the bottom of the pyramid a BRAND is an association, an emotion, an attitude and a sense of ownership. A common person associates his emotions with a Brand then relates his story with the Brand, this translates in the sense of ownership of the Brand, ultimately with a sense of ownership comes attitude.

Over the years even the common person has changed, his knowledge has evolved with the information available through TV, Radio, Internet and Newspapers. Also the outside world has changed quite a lot, even this made impacted on his knowledge. The common man is no longer common he might earn $ 50 (approx Rs. 5,000/-) per month but dreams to become a millionaire (Crorepati, thanks to Kaun Banaga Crorepati). The common man dreams to drive a 4 Wheeler (Nano, the Rs. 1 lakh car, new offering from Tata Motors). So dreams are being blown out of proportion by media. Banks are offering EMIs on anything and everything from buying mobile phones to buying houses, from blowing money on weddings to entry in elite clubs and all this drives the common man towards Brands.

The common man's aspirations towards Brands have led to Brand categorisation from super luxury and elite Brand to the most fashionable Brand. Marketers and Brand managers have differentiated Brands for each segment catering to different strata of society.

To take care of the common persons aspiration about Brands, stores like The Loot (Discount store, offering 25% to 80% discounts on international brands like Levis, Pepe, Banana Republic), Big Bazaar (Offering everyday discounts on grocery, utensils, electronics, etc: it provides common people shopping mall experience), Seconds outlet of Bombay Dying towels and bedsheets have been launched, etc. These stores to provide the COMMON PERSON experience on owning a BRAND and a sense of attitude about the BRAND.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

No new innovations by Indian Pharma companies?

Indian Pharma companies have experienced a lot of R & D developments in recent few years. The innovations have placed these Indian Pharma companies amongst the top elite Pharma companies in the international scenario. This industry according to Ficci reports is growing @ 26% which is more faster rate than the retail sector.

The Pharma sectors traditionally have been investing funds in R&D and Clinical Research Trials. But in the recent few years a lot of investment is put aside for International Acquisitions, Research in new molecules and Patents. Though these companies have been competing with international counterparts to reach the top position in terms of net value of the company, innovations at the bottom of the pyramid haven’t seen any light of the day. I mean the no improvement in the training of the MRs, the sales representatives and the Brand Managers. The sales reps still carry the same old visual aids and the research papers to pitch about the company product to the doctors. Actually to think about it, I feel the Medical Representatives are the most neglected lot in the Pharma companies, coz nobody feels they are driving the company’s sales.

By the statement What at the bottom of the pyramid? I mean to say the people who directly impact the growth of the company; the other people are indirectly connected to the growth of the company.

The Marketing & Sales departments haven’t seen any innovations in last 20 yrs. The MRs (Medical Representatives) still visit 10 docs and 5 retailers as per the set target, show them the same brochures and visual aids, the same pitch and lastly the research reports. The only new development that was seen, late in the year 1998 was KOL based PR stories in publications, but can we consider it an innovation?

On an average when a new product is assigned to a Brand/Product manager he is given a budget to market the product which is peanuts. In that budget the marketing manager has to

Conduct product training for all the MRs,
Brochure development providing a brief on the product,
Conduct Research on the product stating how superior the product is from its competitors,
Sponsor CMEs of KOLs which helps in spreading the word of mouth publicity on the product and
Prepare visual aids to be given out to the doctors when the MR visits the doctors.

The Brand Managers decisions are mostly based on RoI, leaving a very little scope for innovation. He has a target to achieve, and advertising is out of question because prescription drugs cannot advertise as per the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical research), so uses the age old techniques to push the product details to the doctors.

Now once this is done, the Sales Managers job is to drive the sales of the products so he sets targets for the MRs to meet doctors. The Sales manager thought process is simple meet doctors and more doctors, meet them often, also meet retailers and more retailers, this will drive the sales of the products. Actually the Sales Manager knows the doctors will listen to the MRs only once and the next time will skip the meetings, but he knows of only one thing that will drive the sales, he doesn’t try to innovate something new which will help his team to achieve the sales target.
Doctors are fed-up of the same old story of the drugs and medicines, watching the same old visual aids, pitches from MRs, etc; this often forces them to skip the meetings with MRs, which are then bound to be quite boring.
But the BIG question is, whether any Pharma companies are doing anything to improve this situation? If the Pharma companies are not able to innovate something new to help in marketing their products, sales of the drugs might be affected in the long run.

What the Pharma companies really need is some great innovation at the ground level where sales of the products are been driven, word of mouth publicity another big avenue yet to be tapped and recommendations of the drugs. The Pharma companies should hire some ad agency to ideate or pitch to NID to think of some innovation which will be the greatest innovation for the MRs.
The story appeared in Financial express was a review of a book named: The Marketing Mavens by Noel Capon: The article talks about Pfizers innovations at the Sales level, this is what the book had to say…
Pfizer rigorously schools its field salespeople to ask questions and feed information back to the firm. Target expects all employees who travel—whether on business or pleasure—to write reports on trends in other parts of the world. This kind of information gathering can give your business an edge. It can pinpoint needs that customers don’t yet recognise—needs that by definition won’t show up in traditional data gathering. You should be striving to meet and exceed customer expectations not only by solving their current problems, but by anticipating future ones, and then proactively devising solutions in existing and emerging market segments.