GUEST POST from Arlen Meyers, M.D.
Marketability may apply to things i.e. goods or services or people. When it applies to people, we are talking about making them attractive to potential employers or clients. People may study for a degree to improve their marketability. This means that they believe that getting a degree improves their chances of getting either a job or a better job.
Are you looking for a non-clinical career job? Here is how to make yourself more marketable by building your personal brand.
When it applies to things, we are talking about their ability to be marketed or sold. If you are selling your house, you might improve its marketability if you convert the loft into a living area. In other words, converting the loft will make it easier to sell the house.
If you have invented a new medical device, how likely are the multiple stakeholders likely to buy, use or prescribe it? Will they choose it, use it or just lose interest in it? Is your product just another brown cow or is it a purple cow? Is your new product sufficiently better than the standard of care for doctors to go to bat with administration to change vendors?
SmallBusiness.Chron.com has the following definition of the term:
“Marketability is a measure of whether a product will appeal to buyers and sell at a certain price range to generate a profit.”
The business model canvas is a way to validate your hypotheses about the desirability, feasibility, viability and adaptability of your idea.
But, how marketable is your product and how do you determine marketability in advance? Of course, there are no guarantees the dog will eat the food, but here are some things to consider:
- Early on, startups must identify the market type in which they plan to operate. In The Four Steps to the Epiphany, Steven G. Blank describes four different types of market:
- Existing market
- New market
- Re-segmentation of an existing market as a low-cost player
- Re-segmentation of existing market by employing a niche strategy
Winning in some markets is harder than others. For example, entering a “never been done before at scale”, like electric cars, is expensive and takes lot of convincing the early majority to buy it. On the other hand, the upside potential is enormous.
2. In markets where there are lots of stakeholders, personas and members of the buying group, like sickcare, you have to satisfy the jobs, pains and gains or each with a somewhat different value proposition for each one.
3. A “marketability evaluation” is what all inventors should have completed prior to attempting to market their invention. A marketability evaluation basically considers whether the invention is “marketable” within the current and future market. This is extremely important to you since a manufacturer will not license your patent rights for an invention that may be “really neat” but is not competitive with the other products currently on the market.
Here is a quick 20 Factor Invention Evaluation Form that you can complete yourself or have a friend complete. Remember, this form is only effective if you or your friend are honest with the scoring.
4. While you may have determined that your invention has a high marketability, the results are in the execution of your go to market strategy by your sales and marketing team.
5. Marketability exists in a particular moment in time and can easily change by competitive entries, and other threats.
6. The VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world demands that you constantly test your ideas and explore and exploit new business models and products and their marketability.
7. Complacency erodes marketability.
8. Markets constantly change. The modern marketplace is unlike anything seen before in human history. For example, eCommerce allows anyone to order practically anything from anywhere in the world with virtual currency, often with the help of a virtual assistant that personalizes its recommendations so that each person’s buying journey is unique. In this new age, previously reigning marketing paradigms like the 4Ps of marketing are also undergoing a transformation. Welcome to the age of the 4Es instead.
The “4Es” of Marketing are “Experience”, “Everyplace”, “Exchange” and “Evangelism”. Anyone familiar with Marketing theory will recognize that the 4Es draw their basic wisdom from the famous “4P” mnemonic in modern marketing theory.
9. Many startup founders have low marketing IQs
10. Different business models require different marketing strategies and tactics, e.g. direct to patient marketing v B2B v B2B2C
11. Dissemination and implementation among healthcare professionals is a complicated and often unpredictable process. It often takes many years.
12. Successful social media marketing involves finding the right influencers and “sneezers” to help your idea go viral.
If you are a physician entrepreneur looking for investors, or an academic entrepreneur trying to commercialize your idea with your technology transfer office, then the first three questions you will have to answer are:
- What is your intellectual property and other barriers to entry?
- What is the technical and commercial feasibility of your product?
- What is the marketability of your product?
If you fail to convincingly answer these questions, it is likely that you will not pass GO and collect $200. But, given the dismal track record of investor’s and inventor’s new product success and portfolio returns, the exercise might all be marketability theater and just a Wild Ass Guess, that, ultimately, will be tested in the marketplace.
Image credit: Pixabay
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