So you have this amazing new innovation that you’re confident will change the face of healthcare as we know it. You’ve figured out the timing for when you’ll announce and launch it. You’ve mapped out your intended audiences through a careful targeting strategy. Now it’s time to combine these elements to strategically position your innovation within the market segment.
Perception Is Reality
Positioning is best defined as the way you create a distinct impression in the consumer’s mind in relation to competitors within the same category. If you don’t tell your audience exactly how your innovation will meet their needs or solve their problem, they very well may never know. Likewise, if you claim your product or service will solve every problem they have ever had, you are only going to diminish your ability to influence their perception. A one-size-fits-all appeals to no one. When entering the realm of perception, best practice is to differentiate your innovation based on the primary distinction(s): features, quality, price, service, or availability.
For example, consider a new mHealth smartphone app that allows patients to schedule consultations with specialists, share medical records, track medication adherence, connect to a health coach, and a number of other useful features. Based on market research and segmentation, what problem are you solving for this target audience? Stick to positioning yourself that way or you run the risk of the consumer discarding any information they can’t place in their mind. As a result, you lose the opportunity.
When launching a new high-tech innovation, the initial audience will consist of “early adopters.” This audience is very tech savvy, with a willingness to explore what makes your product stand out and which new features and capabilities can potentially change the market. So instead of positioning a technological innovation as a continuation or addendum to previous technology, innovators typically have more success positioning an innovation through emphasis on the new, revolutionary components. Differentiation in today’s over-crowded marketplace is a business imperative, not only in terms of a company’s success, but also for survival.
Pave the Way for Your Innovation
Don’t let your innovation get slated as a “second string” tool. Make it known right off the bat that your innovation is truly innovative. A potentially fatal mistake that has been made many a time in the past is to use an innovation’s brand name or product line to “ride the coattails” to success. Don’t get me wrong, being backed by a big name or a well-known line can be a great influencer in terms of trust and value. But if innovators fail to set their innovation apart and show their target audience how and why it’s valuable, simply being part of a trusted name won’t be enough to stand out in the healthcare haze.
Positioning for Adaptation
Taking it a step further, you must also position your innovation so that early adopters know what to do with it. What are their options for integrating it into their processes and systems, and what tangible benefits will result? How exactly is it worth it for these risk-takers to take a risk on your innovation? When your messaging is clear, concise, and results-oriented, there’s no room to misinterpret your bottom line. A company can outperform rivals only if it can establish a difference that it can preserve.
Keep your eyes peeled for installment four of the 8 Dimensions of Commercial Success series, where we’ll discuss the importance of building strategic partnerships and alliances in your industry. Read any posts you may have missed from this series here: How to Effectively Market Your Healthcare Innovation, Making Sure Your Healthcare Innovation Doesn't Flop, and Sometimes Innovators Lose and Followers Win: Why Timing is (and Isn't) Everything.