Embracing Creativity to Outshine Competition in Your Marketing Strategy

Competition is part of the natural world and finds its way into many facets of our work and lives. Right now, there are peacocks feverishly flourishing tailfeathers trying to gain the attention of a female, lions baring their teeth ready to fight for a pride, and a hoard of coworkers climbing over cubicles to make sure they get their pick of the cookies baked for Diane’s retirement (so they don’t end up with oatmeal raisin).

Everyone loves the feeling of winning, but sometimes you are so wrapped up in the competition that your focus shifts. Your efforts are centered on being better than the next person and your strategy is consumed by reacting to what your competition is doing, rather than creating the best product or service you can. This is especially true in processes like changing consumer behavior. So, what’s our solution? Creativity!

Let’s say we have a group of Health Care Providers who prescribe Product X to their patients with Condition Z. They have been using this product for years and know everything you could possibly need to know about it. They have gotten to a point where, if a patient walks in and says a couple of key words their minds automatically go to Product X and they prescribe. If you are marketing Product Y, then your mindset might be to highlight every area where Product Y is better or has an edge, but that may not be the best strategy.  To understand why you would have to walk through the steps needed to change their behavior.

1.     Contemplation – The Healthcare Provider has been made aware of their behavior. They realize they mainly prescribe Product X to their patients with Condition Z and wonder if there are better treatment options for them to consider.

2.     Preparation – The Healthcare Provider begins to educate themselves on other options. They weigh pros and cons and try to make an informed decision.

3.     Action – The Healthcare Provider chooses to continue primarily using Product X or they decide to add other treatment options to their care toolbox.

4.     Maintenance – They continue the behavior they have reached until something triggers their awareness – again – and causes them to reexamine their prescribing behavior.

It is true that identifying all the points where you are better than your competition would help in the preparation stage, but this may do more harm than good. Some of the areas in which you one-up your competition may hold little significance in the decision to choose a treatment by the Healthcare Provider. You may end up spending precious time and resources highlighting that Product Y is better in an area that does not even really matter. Additionally, highlighting any marginal improvements could negatively affect the maintenance stage. If you focus your efforts on making Product Y better than the competition in every way you can, this could set an unrealistic expectation if they decide to try it. Anything less than a stellar outcome can lead to them going back to Product X and viewing Product Y in a negative way. These outcomes occur when you allow your competition to dictate your strategy. Concentrating your efforts as a reaction to your competitors’ actions will lead to suboptimal use of your own strengths.

Focusing efforts creatively prevents these issues. Assuring that relevant messages are displayed in a way that accurately represents Product Y’s story and emphasizes value in treatment, can easily bring a Healthcare Provider to the contemplation stage to consider Product Y if they are currently using another product. Beyond that, using resources to highlight relevant messages in a creative way – rather than focusing solely on points where Product Y excels over Product X – will lead to more realistic expectations of outcome. This flows right into a better chance of the Healthcare Provider staying in the Maintenance stage longer. These creative efforts are your peacock feathers or lion’s claws. They are the tools you use in competition and displaying them puts pressure on the competition. It is them that should react to what you bring to the table.

Creatively, OptiBrand encourages our clients to think ‘outside the box’ about how to differentiate your brand vs. your competition.  If one looks, you can generally find a focus for your brand. That focus will create an opportunity for your brand to succeed.  For example, explore the treatment of the disease in a variety of contexts.  These might include the treatment of different severities of that medical condition, the impact on different patient populations (pediatric, geriatric, etc.).  Sometimes one must consider the dose of competitive drug. Is it too high? Too low? Incidence of ADRs vs. your brand. By highlighting common clinical scenarios HCPs commonly see will give your brand the opportunity / the foothold it needs to break existing prescribing patterns in the mind of the clinician and give your brand the trial it deserves.

At the core of it all, if you optimize your creativity then you maximize the benefits of your products and services, so your brand always finds a way to remain relevant as well as competitive.

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