Marketing – Positioning and Communication Strategy

Marketing – Positioning and Communication Strategy

Q1: WHAT IS THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS FOR METABICAL? WHO IS INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS?

Consumer research over the years has shown that shoppers often follow a relatively common shopping behavior for product purchase. In theory, a shopper is said to go through the following five stages as a process. In reality, sometimes the steps may be switched around or even left out, as not all consumers are by rule, always alike. The decision-making process (DMP) for Metabical, Cambridge Sciences Pharmaceuticals’ (CSP) new weight-loss drug involves several people. The product end-user is the main subject of the decision-making process, but other external parties interject at different stages, influencing the consumer’s ultimate decision. Below is the flow Metabical’s consumers would go through as part of their shopping behaviors.

STAGE 1: NEED RECOGNITION & PROBLEM AWARENESS

A recognition occurs that consumers are unhappy with their current body image, their weight or their unhealthy lifestyle. This can come from consumers’ existing, continuous dissatisfaction in terms of their weight physical appearance. It can also be triggered by external media sources such as TV, Outdoor, Radio or Magazine advertisements whereby a variety different visuals, articles, messages can lead to consumer awareness that there is a problem, and a need, that must be satisfied. At this point, both the consumer and the respective media agents are involved in process.

STAGE 2: INFORMATION SEARCH

In order to find a means to solve their problem and satisfy their ‘recognized’ need, consumers engage in the search for a solution through information collection. Given the high-involvement with Metabical, with its direct impact on consumers’ health and high possible personal risk, consumers will consult various sources of information to ensure they have as much information they can get in order to properly evaluate their options and next steps. Information available in publications, other commercial or public resources such as TV, magazines or the Internet provide a large amount of information for the consumer in the decision making process. Notably, however, for Metabical consumers in the information search process, healthcare professionals such as medical doctors, pharmacists or nutritionists may be the most significant source of information during this process as the information they have is of expert level and holds a different level of credibility and legitimacy.

STAGE 3: EVALUATION OF ALTERNATIVES

Once enough information and insight about the diet pills market and the various possibilities offered has been gathered, the consumers will look into the different brands available within the same market in order to evaluate the available choices. Based on top-of-mind awareness, involving brands or names already present in the consumer’s knowledge-base, such as Alli or Xenical, to new brands which may be learned about during the information search stage, consumers begin evaluating. Depending on whether a product is a high or low-involvement purchase, the evaluation process will take longer, as thorough analysis is carried out. Consumers will see Metabical – as any other diet pill – will associate as a drug associated with numerous perceived risks, and therefore the level of involvement at this stage by consumers would be high.

Advice may be sought from various reference groups, including the primary and secondary groups, who are made up of one’s parents, spouse, relatives, as these are the closest connections to the consumer and will advise honest feedback and will help the evaluation process for potential users. Feedback from peer groups comprised of friends and colleagues that may have already experimented with a diet pill or shared a related experience may help further help consumers in the final evaluation.

STAGE 4: PURCHASE

Following the Evaluation of Alternatives stage, if / when the consumers are convinced of the information attained and advice provided about Metabical and its benefits, attributes and possible risks, they will make the choice of whether or not to proceed with the Metabical weight-loss program, and promise.

STAGE 5: POST-PURCHASE EVALUATION

It is common for customers to feel a sense of doubt about or question the purchase at this stage. Knowing whether they made the right decision to buy and try Metabical, and therefore engage in losing weight by taking a pill will, instead of embarking on customary long-term dieting and vigorous exercising journey, become evident at the post-purchase stage. Until they start the weight-loss program and achieve the end-results without experiencing dramatic or serious health problems on the way or as a result, consumers will undergo “cognitive dissonance”, wondering whether they made the right choice to engage in this method of weight-loss, and whether they picked the right product or brand.

This decision-making process for Metabical demonstrates the recognizing, gathering, assessing, processing and re-evaluating of information that consumers of the respective product must carry out in order for them to make an informed decision and satisfy the recognized need.

Q2: HOW SHOULD PRINTUP THINK ABOUT THE SEGMENTATION OF POTENTIAL METABICAL CONSUMERS? WHO IS THE OPTIMAL TARGET CONSUMER?

Market segmentation involves the categorization or ‘segmentation’ of a market into established groups, usually based on a set of common or similar characteristics. In order for Printup to successfully reach and communicate to her audience through the Marketing Communication Strategy, she would need to clearly identify who she is speaking to first. The respective Case Study provides some useful research data that helps determine Metabical’s target market:

END-USER MARKET SEGMENTATION

Metabical’s market segment consists of overweight adults in the United States who have a Body Mass Indicator (BMI) that falls between 25 and 30. Metabical’s ‘optimal’ target market falls within this differentiated market segment that focuses on the “overweight” 25-30 BMI market specifically, as opposed to targeting all individuals who are struggling with weight issues, namely the obese and severely obese segments. Metabical’s chemical composition has demonstrated unfavorable results for the obese (30-40 BMI) and severely obese (≥ 40) segments, whereby the weight loss was quite minimal. Consequently, these two segments are excluded from Metabical’s segmentation. According to market research, the overweight category itself contributes to 34% of the adult population in the US in 2000, a substantial market to focus on. Additionally, 70% of the respondents to a 2007 Marketing Survey said they were dissatisfied with their current body image and weight – of which the overweight represents about half – making the respective segment accessible and open to new solutions, preferably safe and effective, regarding weight loss.

HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS (MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS) MARKET SEGMENTATION

In addition to the overweight adults that make up an important part of Metabical’s market segmentation, the Medical Healthcare Providers also play a significant role in the success of Metabical among users. Their medical background, as well-informed professionals, will contribute to the viral communication of Metabical’s benefits. This Healthcare segment includes Medical Doctors have the required expertise, and consequent credibility, to study and assess Metabical’s attributes and promote its use to consumers, making them a key fraction of the segment. Other professionals who will contribute to and influence the consumers weight-loss process are Nutritionists, Dietitians, Pharmacists and Gym instructors. With the right information, these professional individuals will serve as support systems for the overweight segment during their journey to a healthier, happier life by teaching them healthy eating habits, encouraging regular exercise habits, and in general, providing additional consultation if needed, and therefore make up a considerable part of the Medical Healthcare market segment.

OPTIMAL TARGET MARKET

The objective behind identifying a core or ‘optimal’ target market is to direct efforts of communications toward the ‘best’ market. It is to ensure that the message conveying the product promise will reach the desired audience, and that the needs of that particular target audience will be met by the respective product promise. Metabical’s optimal target market is comprised of both the product end-user, the individuals who would ultimately consume the product for weight-loss purposes, and the medical healthcare providers, including medical doctors, pharmacists, nutritionists, dietitians, and even gym instructors, who altogether would support Metabical as the best choice for the effective weight-loss solution and prescribe it respectively.

“I WANT TO BE HEALTHIER”

“I WANT TO WEAR MY SKINNY JEANS”

Q3: HOW SHOULD CSP IDENTIFY AND EMPLOY THE DIFFERENTIAL ADVANTAGES THAT METABICAL OFFERS TO POSITION ITSELF IN THE MARKETPLACE?

Given the large selection of weight-loss alternatives in the market, Metabical needs to penetrate the respective market with a strong, unique selling point versus the competitors, both the direct (Alli, Xenical) and indirect (herbal medications, food supplements), in order create an impact and convince consumer purchase behavior stand out in consumers’ eyes. The diet pill weight-loss market has been infested with a variety deceitful and dishonest products that target fast and seemingly easy weight-loss solutions. Consumers of this market hold a highly skeptic view of the products that claim endless promises of fast, easy, effective solutions for weight-loss. Metabical’s advantages and points of differentiation over other diet pills in the market are identified below, which ultimately set the basis for its positioning strategy as a safe and effective weight-loss solution for overweight individuals with a BMI ranging between 25-30.

The first and rather unique attribute of Metabical is that it is the first FDA-approved prescription drug that caters particularly to the overweight segment of the population (individuals with a BMI ranging between 25-30). There are no other drugs with FDA approval in the market that are prescribed by Medical professionals to patients for weight-loss purposes, positioning Metabical as a safe, trustworthy weight-loss drug that no other player in the market can share claim to. FDA approval provides assurance to consumers that the composition of Metabical is not dangerous, and its usage will not result in major side effects that have previously been noticed among drugs such as Alli or Xenical, or among other herbal or dietary supplements.

Metabical is composed of a compound called Calosera, which aids appetite inhibition, and Meditonan, a mediating agent that both blocks fat and absorbs calories from food substances. This unique combination of Calosera and Meditonan results in dramatic weight loss without putting pressure on the heart and / or liver; two body organs that are often the first to be affected by drastic, unhealthy drops in body weight.

While Metabical promises a safe diet pill alternative for weight loss, side effects relating to uneasiness in the gastrointestinal area may result following the consumption of high fat, high calorie foods, although they are far fewer than the side effects resulting from the use of competing diet pill brands. Consumers engaging in healthy eating habits in parallel to the weight-loss program will evade such discomforts, and will be able to experience the positive side of healthy dieting and better living.

The second and equally important point of differentiation for Metabical is that results are achievable in just 12 weeks. The unique combination of the Calosera and Meditonan compounds allows for such fast results, while regulating the consequent effect on vital body organs. The target audience that makes up overweight individuals will witness significant drops in their weight over a relatively short period of time, positioning Metabical as an effective weight-loss alternative. This shows that positive results may be quick to achieve without engaging in fad, drastic, unhealthy dieting.* Because Metabical represents safe and effective weight-loss, it supports the implementation of a healthy diet and encourages regular exercise, thereby allowing users to reach their goals and ideal weights, and ultimately a happier life, within an acceptable and attainable time frame.

Q4: GIVEN THE POSITIONING STRATEGY YOU CHOSE, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY TO EACH OF YOUR TARGET AUDIENCES? WOULD YOU CHANGE THE MARKETING BUDGET OR THE IMC MIX? IF SO, HOW? WHAT WOULD THE TIMELINE FOR YOUR COMMUNICATIONS PLAN LOOK LIKE?

By studying the diet pills and weight-loss market, by identifying the related target audiences, and by analyzing the existing brands and products of the market, Metabical’s positioning is established based on its distinct attributes, differentiating it versus the competition. The object is to build top-of-mind awareness in consumers’ minds that Metabical is the safe and effective weight-loss solution for overweight individuals with a BMI ranging between 25-30. It promises results in just 12 weeks without causing major risks on the heart and liver, and with far fewer side effects on the gastrointestinal system than witnessed by competitor products. This was accomplished through the breakthrough research conducted by CSP’s team involving the combination of the Calosera and Meditonan compounds, which contribute to the effective results. Due to this composition, Metabical obtain FDA-approved, making it the first and only prescription drug have the approval. The support program that is offered in parallel to the dieting serves as further support to the consumer, showing CSP’s dedication to educating consumers about healthy habits and to the ultimate cause of helping adult men and women in the United States battle obesity.

Metabical’s communications strategy is directed both to the product end-users and the medical professional community as their expert advice and input are vital to building awareness and credibility of the brand promise in the consumers’ minds.

The Integrated Marketing Mix provided by Printup clearly includes a comprehensive 360 degree campaign whereby all the elements that are needed to support such a strategic brand are included. All the phases of the launch have been accounted for, from consumer research prior to launching in order to assess consumers’ needs from the ATL / BTL communications, the support program, the professional medical community and its marketing mix to post-launch sales and research.

However, a recommended modification to Tools & Activities section of the communications strategies of the end-users would be to include Digital Branding and Social Media. In this day and age, the Internet upended the way consumer engage with brands. While consumers still demand that their brands deliver on their promise and offer value, the way communications are directed to consumers has evolved significantly. Metabical’s IMC should recognize this change and ensure to implement it into its communication platform. Social networks such as Facebook should be utilized, whereby groups for information sharing and providing support can be created.

A spokesperson can be made available on Twitter in order to carry out continuous discussions about Metabical, its benefits and attributes, and respond to questions, concerns or comments that arise over the months, particularly during the first 6 months of its launch to monitor performance and what type of feedback Metabical is generating. A very important point of using this digital medium to communicate is that users of all products, services, brands, etc. share their experiences online. Blogs, forums, discussion groups all allow a network of a multitude users to talk about everything and anything. It is at this point that a lot of opinions are formed, and things are taken into consideration, as other users are seen as just other ordinary consumers, so they can relate to each other, and hence, influence behavior.

Additionally, while Printup’s initial consideration of a celebrity endorsement was shied away by management, introducing Metabical on a TV show revolving solely around medical topics, such as “Doctors” will generate great awareness for it. If the show holds a credible stand in consumers’ eyes, and holds good rankings in the media, it would be a different but useful way of introducing Metabical to the public, answering any possible questions or concerns by the audience immediately, from the beginning, to start the brand off with a positive, reputable image.

Having said this, the changes that would be made to Printup’s Marketing Budget would be to allocate additional funds to the Pull (DTC) Advertising budget in order to account for Digital Advertising and Social Networking and for being present on the “Doctors” TV show. The reallocation may be done by possibly shifting funds from the Lunch & Learn seminars / Other promos. While this activity may serve as a part of the educating process of Metabical to the healthcare providers, ultimately, the focus must be directed towards consumers, and where they can best be reached.

The timeline to implement the marketing communication would remain as is. The one-year time dedicated to the plan is relevant and logical. The promotion and public relation activations should be carried out as soon as Metabical is ready for launch, as the medical community, including but not limited to the medical doctors, nutritionist, dietitians, in order to ensure they are well-equipped with all the information about Metabical as needed. Upon consultations with consumers, their expertise and conviction behind the brand should be at top level, in order to convey Metabical’s brand promise and message accordingly.

COMMUNICATION STRATEGY: END-USERS.

OBJECTIVES

Create and establish awareness in consumers’ / end-users’ minds behind the Metabical brand offering in terms of its benefits and attributes; it is the 1st prescription drug targeting weight-loss for overweight individuals to receive FDA approval.

Position Metabical as a safe and effective weight-loss drug.

AUDIENCE

The communication will be targeted towards the established optimal target market: overweight adults with BMI ranging between 25-30.

KEY MESSAGES

1st prescription to receive FDA approval.

Safe and effective weight loss program for overweight individuals (BMI 25 – 30).

A 24-month support program will be executed in parallel to the 12-week program to offer support in terms of:

Reference materials: medical publications, journals (Journal of the American Medical Association.

Weight-control tools: weight-loss tracker, food diary, nutritional and calorie calculator (to be available online).

Personal support: community forums, group meetings to discuss feelings and get support from others sharing the same experience.

Meal plans: menu planner, grocery lists, recipes for healthier eating.

Exercise plans: weight training, cardio routines, etc.

BMI calculation – to help consumers determine if they are eligible for product use.

TOOLS & ACTIVITIES

Above-the-Line (ATL), Outdoor, Print, Radio media to be used to convey Metabical’s key messages.

Celebrity endorsement – introduce Metabical on the “Doctors” TV show revolving solely around medical topics to generate awareness and create interest and hype behind the brand.

Online activations – social networking (Facebook, Twitter) to be used to generate awareness, engage consumers, gain insight.

Facebook advertising.

Group creation to engage users, share information / experiences and create interest through discussions involving professionals from the medical community.

Point-of-sale materials (POSM) such as leaflets, flyers containing all relevant information about Metabical for consumers – to be omnipresent across consumer trade channels – pharmacies, medical centers, gyms, supermarket (pharmaceuticals section, to create awareness and encourage consumers to ask their medical healthcare providers about Metabical.

Implementation of Total Commonality: the same message will be communicated across all materials in order to build an association between the consumers and the brand. The objective of this is to ensure contact with visuals, branding, etc. will lead to repeated ‘brand recall’ between weight-loss, dieting, diet pills and Metabical, associating it as the ultimate safe and effective solution.

TIMELINE

The communication timeline should be maintained over the course of the full year following launch date. Strategic periods such as spring, the season before hot, beach, skimpier-clothing weather, often reignites the awareness and realization of low self-esteem about body weight and image. At this point, both the consumers and medical healthcare providers should be reached for the initial phase of awareness creation and information development behind Metabical.

COMMUNICATION STRATEGY: HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS.

OBJECTIVES

Create and establish awareness in consumers’ / end-users’ minds behind the Metabical brand offering in terms of its benefits and attributes; it is the 1st prescription drug targeting weight-loss for overweight individuals to receive FDA approval.

Position Metabical as a safe and effective weight-loss drug.

AUDIENCE

The communication will be targeted towards the healthcare providers and related professionals. These include medical doctors, nutritionists, pharmacists, dietitians and even gym instructors.

KEY MESSAGES

1st prescription to receive FDA approval.

Obesity is the 2nd leading cause of preventable death among adults – an issue that must not be neglected.

Metabical is comprised of Calosera (appetite-inhibiting) and Melatonin (fat-blocking) compounds that, when combined, allow for rapid but safe weight-loss results by preventing stress on the heart and liver.

Metabical provides fast results, allow for significant but healthy weight-loss to be observed after just 12 weeks.

Metabical results in far fewer side effects in the gastrointestinal area vs. competitors, and those side effects occur only upon consumption of foods high in fat and calories.

A 24-month support program will be executed in parallel to the 12-week program to offer support in terms of:

Reference materials: medical publications, journals (Journal of the American Medical Association.

Weight-control tools: weight-loss tracker, food diary, nutritional and calorie calculator (to be available online).

Personal support: community forums, group meetings to discuss feelings and get support from others sharing the same experience.

Meal plans: menu planner, grocery lists, recipes for healthier eating.

Exercise plans: weight training, cardio routines, etc.

TOOLS & ACTIVITIES

Holding Medical Conferences / Seminars: to present, talk about and generate awareness behind the brand, its benefits and attributes. Media to be invited / present.

Participating in Medical Conventions to get Metabical’s message of its benefits and attributes out in the community, and generate positive word-of-mouth.

Medical publications, journals (Journal of the American Medical Association.

Press Kits

Press releases

CD entailing background of CSP & Metabical

Product benefits and attributes.

Online activations – social networking (Facebook, Twitter) to be used to generate awareness, engage consumers, gain insight.

Facebook advertising.

Group creation to engage users, share information / experiences and create interest through discussions involving professionals from the medical community.

TIMELINE

The communication timeline should be maintained over the course of the full year following launch date. Strategic periods such as spring, the season before hot, beach, skimpier-clothing weather, often reignites the awareness and realization of low self-esteem about body weight and image. At this point, both the consumers and medical healthcare providers should be reached for the initial phase of awareness creation and information development behind Metabical.

REFERENCES

(Textbook) Kotler, Philip and Keller, Kevin Lane. Marketing Management, 13th Edition, Pearson International Edition. (2009)

(Textbook) Peter, J. Paul and Donnelly Jr., James H. Marketing Management, 10th Edition – KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS. McGraw-Hill International Edition. (2011)

Quelch, John A. and Beckham, Heather. Brief Cases (Harvard Business Publishing). Metabical: Positioning & Communications Strategy for a New Weight-Loss Drug. (July 22, 1010)

(Internet source) Planning Tools: How to write a communication strategy. Manual/Toolkit, 2005.

http://www.odi.org.uk/resources/details.asp?id=5186&title=communications-strategy-planning

(Magazine Publication) Harvard Business Review, Article: Branding in the Digital Age, “You’re Spending Your Money In All The Wrong Places” (Dec.2010)

(Internet source) Marketing, Buying Behavior – The Decision-making Process. “How do Customers buy?”

http://tutor2u.net/business/marketing/buyingdecisionprocess.asp

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