Sunday, June 1, 2008

Mirror, mirror, which is the trendiest of the trends today?

I got the above very funny image from HERE. Marketers love mirrors! Not just to gaze at themselves, you see - many marketers are narcissists (!), marketers look out for articles and reports that MIRROR trends in markets. It is important to peg new products, product launches, and promotional approaches in line with the market trends for best success. That is why marketers love mirrors!

The weak LES trend

This is an elaboration on an interesting patho-physiological trend. Obesity (particularly abdominal obesity), overconsumption of caffeinated beverages, increased consumption of alcoholic beverages, smoking, excessive indulgence in carbonated or fizzy drinks, over eating - particularly fatty foods, eating and drinking splurges, spicy foods, eating food and drinking milk just before sleeping, sedentary life, increased mental tensions ... all these have led to this peculiar weak LES trend today in society (in both emerging markets and the mature markets - of the advanced countries). It is no wonder that the hottest pharma markets are related to GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease), indigestion (or dyspepsia), and heartburn. In India, about 25% of the pharma market is the gastrointestinal related market, and the market for acid-peptic diseases is significant.

LES stands for lower esophageal sphincter or cardiac sphincter. This is a circular smooth muscle located between the lower esophagus (or food pipe) and the stomach. The LES plays a very important role, it prevents the regurgitation or backflow of acidic contents of the stomach in to the alkaline environment of the esophagus. If the LES is weak, obviously, the gastric or stomach contents return back in to the esophagus, chronic weakening of LES leads to heartburn, gastro intestinal reflux disease, Barrett's esophagus, and esophageal cancer. The other complications of GERD include chronic cough, asthma, inflammation of the larynx or voice box, respiratory tract infections, esophageal obstruction, esophageal bleeding, esophageal inflammation, presence of blood in stools, difficulty in swallowing, gallstones, ear pain and lung disease.

So for pharma marketers and healthcare activists the weak LES is an opportunity area.

The doctor as a disease manager

This is an interesting twist to the doctor's traditional role as a healer. The market savvy doctor is all too aware of the empowerment process in society thanks to the increasing media power, and the information technology revolution (mainly the internet). Thus, the sagacious doctors are reinventing themselves as disease managers. The doctors not only provide their inputs via prescriptions or surgery, but they also suggest alternative therapies or Yoga themselves or refer the interested patients to Yoga or Reiki or Ayurveda practitioners. Ultimately, this increases the doctor's role as a health care counselor, improves the doctor's image with the patients and enhances his or her practice. Many trend savvy doctors run Yoga or Ayurveda camps on specific days in their nursing homes. Certain gynecologists and obstetricians themselves teach Yoga to pregnant ladies or refer them to the Yoga practitioners. Thus, doctors profit through such wellness clinics. Doctors are redefining themselves and repositioning themselves as disease and wellness managers rather than mere allopathic or ayurvedic practitioners, giving out prescriptions, or conducting surgeries. In fact, certain market savvy doctors have taken a leaf from Swami Ramdev's notebook and are also positioning themselves as lifestyle experts ....

Lifestyle expertise trend

Swami Ramdev is having an amazing run. His pranayama - Yoga - Ayurveda and lifestyle programs on TV are beamed to 150 countries (not just 125 as I had mentioned in my earlier post), his TV audience is perhaps 200 crores. Money is pouring in to his trust for strengthening his activities for the benefit of mankind. Another Yoga teacher from near Delhi - Lalji Maharaj, is following the model of Swami Ramdev.

What do the successes of Swami Ramdev and Lalji Maharaj reflect? The answer is that there is an innate need in society for a healthy and trendy lifestyle. Individuals or organizations satisfying this need for a healthy and trendy lifestyle are gaining an iconic status. So it is clear that marketers and healthcare activists can take note of the hunger for a healthy and trendy lifestyle in society.

Packaging as a differentiator and tool for market success

With product establishment becoming tougher and reinventing or rebooting the product life cycle becoming a necessity, packaging is gaining traction as a differentiator, a tool for reinventing products and product categories, and ensure continued market success. For eg., Zip Pak the resealable packaging technology pioneers and leaders talk of their packaging as a tool for shelf differentiation, perception of product freshness, enhanced consumer convenience, ensuring brand preference, and enhancing brand consumer loyalty. In fact, the vocabulary of packaging is now more oriented towards marketing rather than protection of inner contents and having a production department orientation. Riding on this wave of packaging as a differentiator and tool for market success are companies like Juggat Pharma (pharma division of Jagdale Industries Ltd., Bangalore), who pioneered the presentation of electrolyte energy drinks in aseptic technology Tetra Pak for the first time in prescription market, and have created a product category. Today, this company ( is an expert leader in this field and is contract manufacturing electrolyte energy drinks to interested pharma companies. Such is the power of packaging as a tool for differentiation and market success.

Such interesting trends are helping companies and individuals win in the marketplace. Thanks for reading this blogpost. There is a very interesting BLOGPOST HERE (ON POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE). I suggest you read this blogpost too. Please scroll down to read all other blogposts (by clicking on older posts when necessary). Thnks once again.

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