I’ve read that 95% of the brands fail to take off in the market. In pharmaceutical industry, I assume its 96%. I am one among in those 96% who has a loser tag tied around my neck.We majority, ‘The losers’ hear the stories of the other 4%, often look back and wonder that they haven’t done any different than what we did. Then why do we keep on losing?
The winners whom I often forced to listen to, make mockery of my marketing capabilities and throw at me their “successful marketing secrets” with which I have been pooping my sales team out for a decade.
The problem is that ‘winners’ are the only one who talks. They talk how better their teams are, how better their training methods are, how better their products are, how better their strategies are…. “I have fought & failed in numerous battles my dear friends- This fallacy of being better will not disillusion my ‘loser’ sensibilities”. Had someone listen to we majorities (96% of us who have been tagged worst), we would have said what doesn’t work for you in marketing (Unfortunately I can’t say what works for you as I am yet to find it). I presume some of the general principle that I am made to believe is totally wrong. Let me list down a few for you.
1) If you heard that ‘Staying at the top is more difficult than reaching at the top’- Its utter non sense
My experience says it’s far easier to stay at the top than to get there. There is something called “principle of force” always exist in the market which makes big fish eat small fish, big brand eat small brand. Nepolian once said “God is on the side of big battalion” – the same way God often smiles on the larger sales force, heavier sales budget, bigger research department. The size always matter and in general smaller brands have to fight all odds to replace bigger brands at the top. I spent my life fighting, Meronem, Augmentin, Mesacol, Perfalgan, Voveran, Targocid,Volini etc and realize this hard truth.
2) If customer orientation is the key to your success – be prepared to invent 7 billion keys.
Agreed; we moved far away from Henry days who said “you can have any colour as long as it is black” but are we really prepared to understand our customer? People says it’s the era of extreme personalization. Brands like ‘Sephora’ indulge customer through its ‘Beauty insider’ loyalty program where they define each customer (Based on skin tone) and offer customized product range at their each store. Pizza hut is running 17000 campaigns online targeting every possible niche of customers. Brands like Airbnb, is giving start hotels a tough competition, through their customer oriented business model.
I have heard of Dell personalizing the computer, Adidas and Nike get customers design their shoes, BMW make customers design the car roof, Banks offer personalize cheque book and credit cards.
The concept is well poised for the future. In the future everything will be tagged, people animals and things (By 2020, 15 billion things are connected to the internet and each other).
So an elevator manufacturer can repair a lift even before it break down through a sensor which send signal to the central server regarding the critical wear & tear. A pacemaker will send a signal to your doctor if it sense something wrong and the doctor would call you to have your check up done before you even felt the discomfort.
It’s all amazing to read, but my reality says, even my customer doesn’t know what he wants and how come my marketing research would find out a fact which is unknown to their source. (But it’s amazing that every time they come up with satisfying answers which I gulp for my own survival). Then people says technology enabled efficient data processing would make everything possible. But hello..... I am a part of an industry, still debating to use smart phone applications and when the whole world is thinking of individual customers (considering no two individuals are same)- I realize I will take a decade to reach there.
3) If you think you have people edge (Better people to work for you) - May God help you.
Please tell your people how terrific they are but don’t plan on winning a marketing battle based on them. Companies believe that they can hire better people and their superior training will keep the edge ahead but in reality, it doesn’t happen. Yes, you can recruit a small cadre of superior people, but as we expand, we automatically fall prey to the low of average and end up being an average team in terms of quality. So depend yourself on superior strategy, not on superior people.
4) Do you have better product to market- Go and convince your Mother in Low!
There is a prevailing illusion that better product will win. History says so, but this history is written by winners and they would always say they have a better product. But a loser like me testifies to prove it’s wrong. I s had better product in my kitty and I thought truth will out one day with better promotion, better ad agencies, better sales team. But it never happened.
Now I understand “Misconceptions cannot be changed by advertising & sales effort. Single most wasteful thing you can do today is to try and change the human mind. Truth is the perception that’s inside the mind of a prospect. That may not be your truth, but that is the only truth you have to work with it. So deal with it. By the way, I tried to convince my mother in low that Maxiflo is faster than Seroflo which she takes daily, then she made me realize for the first time that better product is a ‘fallacy”.
Finally one silver lining for losers, when you know everything about losing you tend to stop losing. So a pre-requisite for being a winner is- read "A Loser's Note".