Markets are also inevitably global today, thanks to the all pervasive media. During my childhood, events in places like Syria or Egypt had that "far-off feeling" - there was not much connect to such global events. The world has shrunk now. Products are crossing geographies to meet the desires of a global community.
The collapse of information divide is yet another feature of the information society. Gaining access to information was a challenge, years back, today, knowing what to do with the deluge of information is the challenge area.
The above points have a major impact on healthcare and pharmaceutical marketers.
For instance, Singapore is a gateway market, although it has only about 52 lakhs population, there is a 1.1. crore annual floating population from all parts of the world. An interesting feature of the Singapore market is that entry barriers are lesser for entry of healthcare food supplements (nutraceuticals or dietary supplements) compared to entry of drugs.
In Singapore, the Health Science Authority of its Ministry of Health is the national regulator for health products.
The current situation of the healthcare supplements market in Singapore is summarized below:
qHealth supplements can be imported and sold without a license from HSA
qHealth supplements not subjected to pre-market approval by HSA
qDealers of health supplements are advised to comply with the guidelines for health supplements set out by HAS
qOnus of responsibility in ensuring the safety and quality of health supplements, and compliance with the guidelines for health supplements rests with the dealer
A body called Health Supplements Industry Association Singapore (firstname.lastname@example.org) helps liase with the Govt. of Singapore to deal with issues of marketing health supplements in Singapore. Health supplements in English packs are marketed. Exposure to markets such as Singapore will help health supplements gain a global toehold. Singapore is a sophisticated market, success in Singapore will help health supplements spring to other country markets!
The expanding population, knowledge feeding curious minds, and creating new desires and wants, are all interesting market drivers, which marketers take a note off. The decreased physical activity of people in modern society is creating new markets for cardiometabolic disorders, obesity, low glycemic index products, and those that will help improve body mass index. People want to live better and protect themselves from ill health, this need is driving hordes of health supplement marketers to provide trustworthy products for this segment.
Marketing as a game of differentiation. With production systems expanding, value delivery is challenging process for marketers. Marketing verily has now become a game of differentiation. One has to make the product different from the crowd, a me-too brand cannot command high margins, the perceived value needs to be higher to command brand equity. Brand ambassadors will help, but differentiation needs to come in a compelling manner.
Differentiation can come from the composition of ingredients in a healthcare or pharmaceutical formulation. It can also come from the packaging and labelling, the way the product is presented to prospects and customers. PET bottles, Tetra Pak aseptic packaging concepts, Alu-alu packs, calendar packs, tin packs ... these differentiators tell a story to target audiences, and hopefully the differentiation edge will be competitive and compelling for the customer to see it as a feasible solution to his problem.
Mobile, internet, social networking sites (mainly facebook) and e-mail have significantly impacted marketing messaging and influencing consumption patterns. Besides the doctor, the internet is also a problem solving medium for niche segments of end-customers (whose nos. run in crores), they are looking to internet for information gathering and obtaining the wisdom of crowds for decision making. This is influencing adoption of new and old products.
The market is a state of exchanges, happening in pharmacies, doctor chambers and internet sites. The market is a continuously evolving place with new trends happening, always on shifting sands. Macroeconomic indicators and factors like a good monsoon - all influence consumption patterns in the market (where exchanges take place). A company is of the market, for the market and by the market. Thanks for reading this blog, please recommend this blog to your acquaintances, scroll down and click on older posts, for reading all other posts!