Feed the Need | Selling to a pill popping society

44% of American adults take prescription medications the associated press reported a few years back and that number has only grown.

In 2004 Pharmaceutical companies made $200 billion in pill sales, this doesn’t take into account the pills pushed illegally through the streets.

The other day I filled my first ever prescription for ‘pills’. I haven’t taken any yet, to be honest I’m afraid to. But I made the leap and just knowing the little pink pills are nearby comforts me in some strange way. You see I have suffered from nearly debilitating anxiety attacks in past years and always thought it was ‘normal’ and only a few months ago did I realize how much havoc my condition was causing in my life and business on a daily basis.

That is when i started to see a very nice lady therapist to help me with my anxiety, racing thoughts and obsessive behavior (come to find out many entrepreneurs share these characteristics). Anyways I say this not so you can feel sorry for me or judge me but because as a blogger I’m dedicated to 100% transparency (in a tactful way of course). So while looking at my little red bottle of pills shortly after I was prescribed them I was struck by the thought “entrepreneurs must adopt a pill popper’s mentality to really get ahead”. This sounds awful at first, but let me explain and it really makes a lot of sense…

A new analysis has found that in the majority of trials conducted by drug companies in recent decades, sugar pills have done as well as, or even better than, antidepressants.

So what can the entrepreneur draw from this statement?

Well firstly, as a culture we tend to want a quick fix. “Popping” a pill helps us alleviate pain or anxiety and the above quote would suggest that the perceived affect of taking prescription drugs does more than the real thing. As entrepreneurs we can see that creating a product that has perceived value is just as important, if not more important, than the items real value.

Example. Problem: Woman doesn’t feel good about herself Solution: Woman sees ads were beautiful, happy looking women carry around Louis Vuitton bags… thus Woman perceives the value of an LV bag being very high and plops down $2500 for one.

Is the purse really worth $2500? Not at all. In material and craftsmanship its probably not worth $100. But to thousands of people around the world Louis Vuitton represents glamor, luxury and a privileged life that they are willing to pay handsomely to be perceived as part of.

Determining if your target market is a pill popping one…

What do you sell? Is it a service, product, intellectual property? Who is your target market? Have you thought long and hard about this one… if not pause and think for a moment.

Alright, now ask yourself, is my TM a pill popping demographic? Or more importantly does my target market go towards the quick fix in life or the hard work will save the soul road? This is VERY important to figure out early on, it has everything to do with your product and your marketing. Are you making a quick fix for people that like to get their hands dirty and build something from the ground up? If so they probably won’t buy it. But if you are making a quick fix for a soccer mom who just wants to feel 5 pounds lighter she’ll grab it in a second, because she (if you do the research) if more a part of the pill popping demographic than the I-cut-down-my-own-Christmas-tree group.

Food for thought: Do you think Louis Vuitton would sell as well if the women who bought their products had to construct the bags themselves, sow the zippers on and treat the leather?

Making your ‘pill’ easy to swallow

People like Xanax because it is little, easy to take and calms you down when you are feeling stressed. If a Xanax was the size of a T-bone and you had to gnaw on it for hours to get it to work do you think ANYONE would take it? Probably not… they’d move on to a pill that was easier to swallow.

So consider your product, consider your market, what can you change to make your pill easier to swallow? Should you cut costs, raise perceived value, change the packaging or re-invent your marketing?

Packaging it right & ensuring negative side effect are to a minimum

This is an often over looked part of being a business owner, service pusher or product creator. You must think of what you have to offer the world in a very logical way… what are the negative side effects associated with your offering? Is it price? the look of the item? or something perceived? Your job as the entrepreneur is to make sure your packaging is as attractive as possible, whether that means how your physical product looks or the cover of your eBook.

Keeping negative side effects to a minimum is essential in your product catching on, imagine if Apple Macbooks randomly caught on fire. People may love them and perceive them as ‘cool and hip’ but if they knew the downside was lighting their house on fire because of faulty tech most people would go back to their PCs.

Food for thought…

So hope that this kind of crazy, rambling blog post gave you something to chew on and just like the warnings say on the side of pill bottles… do not read my blog while driving or operating heavy machinery… it could lead to an accident :)

Lots of love to my entrepreneurial friends!

Maren