First to Market, First to Thrive
by Coach Cary Bayer
In this column you will learn quite a bit about innovators who brought something new to their world. Bear with the examples because there is a great marketing lesson in store for you if you do.
In 1920, Johnson & Johnson employee Earle Dickson invented an adhesive strip for his wife who frequently cut and burned herself while cooking. The company that he worked for marketed the product and, to this day, when people need an adhesive strip, they ask for a Band-Aid. How many people can even name another company that markets such bandages?
When Candido Jacuzzi tired of watching his son Kenneth suffer while waiting for hydrotherapy treatments for his rheumatoid arthritis, the inventor used his company's expertise in pumps to create a submersible pump for the bathtub for his boy. This was 1948, and within seven years the company began to market the product. They gave it away to contestants on the TV show Queen for a Day, and by 1968, they had developed the forerunner of the spa-like product we know and love today. Many companies have imitated the whirlpool jets but most people--even today--call them Jacuzzis.
In 1959, the Haloid Company of Rochester, NY introduced the first plain paper photocopier called the Xerox 914. Within two years, the product was such a phenomenon, that the firm changed its name to Xerox. Half a century later, many companies manufacture photocopiers, but if someone wants to reproduce a document, even today, he looks to "Xerox" it.
In the last few years of the last millennium, a pair of Stanford computer science grad students developed a search engine that received a $100,000 check from Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim before the firm officially existed as an entity. It would eventually take on the name Google, Inc. in order to deposit the check, and became the largest search engine in the world. Today, when someone wants to find information on the Internet he "googles it."
The use of the words Jacuzzi, Band-Aid, Google, and Xerox describe products or services that are technically brand names. And the reason that these companies are in the lexicon is because they were either the first to market or the first in the market to hit it big. As the business coach for alternative healer, I tell such facilitators that the relevance of these companies to their work is great, because their examples show that if a healer markets herself in her community in a way that really gets noticed she develops what's known in marketing circles as "share of mind." Alternative healing is hardly new in the world today, but the professional marketing of it is still rather nascent. The therapist, for example, who does Healing Touch in a market that doesn't have anyone else doing it can gain an enormous point of difference, and a thriving business. The same can be said for therapists who do hypnotherapy, Reiki, or acupuncture, etc. By getting into the market first, you get into people's heads first, and then you can get your hands on their bodies or psyches first.
The therapist who brands herself well has the opportunity to have a very successful business. She becomes one who can afford to luxuriate in a Jacuzzi, Xerox IRS tax forms that reveal a six-figure income, and has plenty of time to google anything she darn well chooses.
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