Stop following the 4Ps of marketing if you’re building a product. If you want your product to cross the early adopter’s chasm into the majority market, then your marketing messaging should not start from product.
The 4Ps of marketing: Product, Place, Price, and Promotion are obsolete in a world where customers are looking for value, solutions to their problems.
Back in the days, when you create a product, the job of your marketing is to harp the product into the ears of all who cared to listen, or not listen. Newspaper ads are run. Television ads are run. Radio jingles are run. The company sends sings and talks about their product so much customers who weren’t interested in the product start getting interested.
The old formular of promotion worked because customers didn’t have a choice on what to listen to and when to watch what they wanted. But now they can.
I was scrolling through Twitter the other day, and I came across an advice that was attributed to the legendary Gary Halbert. Gary said that before creating a product, know what your audience wants, and create the solution for them.
According to Gary, work the 4Ps backwards: know the market first, then create the product that solves their solution. When you do that, you’re able to market to an already hungry market. Makes the marketing more effective.
However, in today’s tech-crazed world, young men and women are constantly creating apps and designing software. While it is great, the focus, from the start, was on the product.
However, the focus should be backwards.
Instead of starting with your product, start with the solutions you can provide to people’s problems. Here’s where market research comes in first.
As a Start-up, your messaging should focus more on what solutions you’re providing, and less on what your product is about.
Instead of making your marketing mix about the 4Ps, or 7Ps, make it SAVE.
The SAVE mix Solution, Access, Value, and Education.
The first one, SOLUTION, means that your product isn’t the main focus of your messaging. Where you’re supposed to be focused on what your product is about, you should be focused on what solutions you’re solving.
For example, a start-up that caters for people’s health issues from the comfort of their home can sell the solution they give rather than the product.
E.g., Selling the product will sound like this: “Product XYZ helps you see a doctor without going to the hospital.”
While that is a good place to start, it shows that the marketing is about the product and not the solution.
Now, people seek solutions to problems. Customers in the country, don’t see doctors, not because they want their doctors in their homes, but because they’re:
1. Unable to access good healthcare because of the price of the healthcare.
2. Spend long hours in queues in public hospitals
3. Get poor healthcare service when they’re attended to
These issues, when tackled from the PRODUCT, PLACE, PRICE, AND PROMOTION standpoint will fall short of meeting customers’ needs. It doesn’t matter whether the marketing team has all the data it needs, if product is the crux of the marketing, then nothing changes.
I’ll propose two important ways to think of this product, and to market the product.
The first is replacing PRODUCT with SOLUTION.
The main question that the marketing team should be asking is what solution can we proffer to the current problems people are facing? And not the “how can my product be the solution to the problem people are facing?”
The latter is more product-centric than solution-based. The drive for the latter is shaping the product to fit the market, instead of a creating a product that solves a market problem.
Now, because the product is already in its beta stage of development, it may be hard to start from the customers before product development. Therefore, to solve this problem, the company will have to focus on value innovation.
Value innovation is a concept that focuses on offering superior value to customers, not in response to what competitors are doing, but to what the market needs and others are missing.
To value innovate for this telemedicine business, it needs to ask itself these pertinent questions:
1. How can I solve the problems in a way others haven’t solved it before using my product?
2. How can I serve the customers in ways that they’ve never been served before?
3. How can I deliver these services in ways that has never been delivered before?
I’ll suggest a few solutions to the problems.
PS: These solutions aren’t tested yet; they’re from my imaginations.
What is Nigeria’s biggest medicine problem?
· Traditional Habits of ‘calling an aunty when you’re sick.
· Dread when you think of the long queues at the hospital.
· No money for healthcare
· Poor healthcare.
How can the product solve one of the biggest problems: No money for healthcare?
Make health insurance available.
Use the POS method of banking, and take health insurance to the people.
Collaborate with Health insurance companies to provide registration to people on the streets.
But what hospitals?
Many of these people use their local drug stores and clinics.
The requirements to register these small medicine store, approve them and equip them with the right trainings and medicines should be proposed to the government.
Should the government not respond fast, local clinics and primary healthcare centres are leveraged for Health Insurance.
The POS-like registration and ‘Ajo-like’ fees collection will prompt more people to take their health seriously and use the Telemedicine’s solution.
PS: Tech solutions doesn’t always have to be in the hands of consumers. Tech solutions can also be in the hands of agents helping laggard customers bridge the gap.
What other ways will you design a better solution for the lingering healthcare problems?