Recently, I had a great discussion with a group of new medical device marketers. It was a great exchange of ideas. One of the topics that struck me was a question from a younger, recent graduate who was starting a career as a product manager.
Which comes first the Social cause or the Product?
The question was something like this, “I have been given the responsibility to launch a new line extension, and I would like to know how I choose the social cause that I use to market the new product?” I thought this was a great question. So I fired back, “What did your manager or director advise you to do?”
The response was, “That they told me if I wanted a great launch, I should leverage a social cause.” Having a social cause affiliated with a product launch can be a strong linkage to the product message and could, for a short time, aid in launching a new product.
There are several debatable points of view in Marketing, such as, which comes first the Brand or the Product? The Social cause or the Product? Strategy or tactics? To some in our profession, these topics are the same as the “chicken or egg” question.
If you have been a loyal reader of this blog, you will recall that I have positions on all three questions. The purpose is never to convince the reader that I am right, but rather to trigger a thought that might lead you to your informed view.
Back to the topic
In my view, we need to recognize that if we align with a social cause, as a company, a division, or a product line that we must make sure our messaging is congruent and authentic. Without authenticity to the Social cause, it will be a trick. That is why the “Social cause” comes first! If a cause is core to your Brand or that of your company’s then, by all means, your commitment will come across as authentic. It will help explain why. Searching for a cause to attach to a product so that you can gain market leverage is not going to serve anyone over the long-term.
Remember that your Brand comes from who you are, what you believe, your entire life history.
Please do your homework and look deeper behind all techniques and fads. MVP, Social media, Social cause marketing are all great concepts if they are applied correctly. However, honestly they are just creative ways of using the basics; at the base is and always will be the 4 Ps. I now think of the basics as the 5 Ps and 2 Cs.
Ask yourself, what is my Brand? Who am I at my core? Be true to that core.
There are two more blog posts under development right now. Watch for, “A return to the basics of messaging,” and “The Marketing Ethos for Medical Device Marketers, “both post coming soon.
- Social cause marketing is power if it is real and is congruent with your product message.
- Tricks to promote a product are disingenuous and may work for a while, but won’t produce a positive long-term result.
“Experience is what you get, right after you need it most.”
Make it a great day!
Tim Walker is the Principal consultant for The Experia Group. A small consulting firm that specializes in providing experience and expertise during critical device commercialization phases to increase the probability of success and relieve unhealthy tension. www.theexperiagroup.com. Contact The Experia® Group for a free 30-minute consultation to determine if 30-years of experience can contribute to your success. firstname.lastname@example.org.
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