How many times have we heard the phrase, “Well, not to get too clinical, but...”? The term “clinical” connotes something which has a deeper level of meaning or knowledge than is necessary to our existence—topical is relevant and ok, clinical is scientific and complicated. At least I felt that way until I noticed the word appear on my mouthwash bottle, and then again on my deodorant container—both products I thought I had understood.
It seems that to get clinical, means to finally get to the point, and that only my Clinical Strength dental rinse would guarantee me 24-hours of protection. I know I don’t stand alone that when it comes to pursuing fresh breath and plaque-free teeth, why not opt for a product that will get the job done? And as for body odor protection, what consumer wouldn’t pay an extra $2-6 for the same sized product that offers hours of sweat maintenance with Action Scent?
As a consumer, I am conflicted about the perceived versus real difference between a clinical product and a regular one, yet from a marketing perspective, I find it intriguing.
There are times when the best tactic of a marketer may be to play into a consumer’s sense of fear or perhaps the unknown. The thinking here is that if you can identify what a customer wants (to smell great), or conversely doesn’t want (to smell yucky), you have been given a marketer’s gift. Across a broad spectrum of industries— whether it’s healthcare, technology, beauty, insurance, architecture, or any other—the decision to elevate the discourse on messaging lies squarely within marketing’s control. Consumers are savvy, hungry for quick answers to complex problems, and yet often overwhelmed by the influx of competing or conflicting information inundating them.
Our challenge as marketers, therefore, is to define and craft ways to ensure the brand we represent becomes the clinical voice that resonates, the calm in the storm, the trusted and perceived thought-leader within a given field or on a particular topic. Who is that person, product, or company within your industry? Is there an area they don’t cover completely, or which your brand could help round out or simply do better?
Last week, we spoke with the CEO of a middleware firm who was frustrated with his company’s inability to close partnership deals due to lack of brand recognition. When asked what level of involvement he currently had planned at an upcoming tradeshow most critical to players in his industry, he shrugged his shoulders and said they were considering renting a meeting room at an off-site hotel. That was it. Not exactly the marketing tactic of a company looking to be a bold, clinical thought-leader in their space.
Marketers are consistently scrutinized over the value their efforts bring to a business’ bottom line, and rightfully so. However, as talented, connected and innovative as we may be, we aren’t magicians either and sometimes it is the case a new program may not yield results, and proactive pitches may not get picked up, but we press on. And, not to get too clinical, but our brands are typically the better for it.
If you have a marketing story you’d like to share, we’d love to hear it. This week, we are launching a publishing platform for marketers to share stories such as this, and invite you to check it out here.
Here’s to your marketing success!
Valerie Pressley is a co-founder of Bay Area-based Elevate Partners, a marketing and business development firm working with technology and consumer product start-ups, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.