Michele Nichols, President of Launch Team, Inc., and Amy Castronova, President of Novatek Communications, Inc., are teaming up again this fall to bring you the latest in product launch, technical documentation, training, and marketing trends in medical device and manufacturing. In a series of blog posts, we’ll share industry and economic trends, emerging regulatory and business challenges, and best practices for overcoming those barriers to new product launch and adoption.
Market forces in the medical device field are conspiring to create noise and pressure in your customer base. As we discussed in our industry trends blog post, medical device product launches are faced with:
- Price pressures—stronger US dollar and weak international markets
- Increased competition—today, companies have 2x the competitors they did 5 years ago
- Lessening investment—fewer VC medical device deals than in years past
- Commoditization—more products, fewer differentiators make it a price war
There is a lot of innovation in the market, but innovation alone is not enough. Product positioning—defining your sweet spot and getting that message out in a way that your customers can hear—can improve your value, driving profit margins and revenue.
Our Positioning Guide details this process. But first, what is positioning, and where does it fall in strategic planning? Here’s the hierarchy of a typical business plan:
- Vision: a visual description of the company you’re building
- Mission: Purpose, focusing on benefits to the customer
- Positioning: Your company or product’s unique value proposition
- Goals: Specific, measurable objectives
- Strategies: Actions that set the direction, philosophy, and methodology for building the business
- Plans: Business or infrastructure-building steps needed
Positioning is about targeting your ideal customer, understanding their needs and behaviors, and matching your capabilities to what they value in a way your competitors can’t. Even trickier? Helping them perceive value before they buy.
Nissan Leaf is a great example. They originally targeted this car to the eco-conscious. When they changed their positioning from miles per gallon to miles per dollar, they hit on a more compelling value proposition to a larger market.
Nissan’s slow revenue growth for this product was their sign. For more indicators of a need for positioning, watch our video.
You can also download our Positioning Guide for more help in finding your company's marketing sweet spot.