Monday, March 2, 2009

Three Tips for Optimism: Positioning Health Products Amid Recession

With the economy hurtling downward, it's not a question of if the economy will affect your business - but to what extent. However, if you're selling health products, you've got some reasons to be optimistic. In fact, the health product market has a history of staying strong despite dips in the economy. And the reasons behind this staying power bodes well for health products today.

A recent survey conducted by Nutrition Business Journal and Avero Research found that 98% of American households spend at least a portion of their budgets on healthy foods. And better yet, on average consumers reported spending 51% of their household food budget on healthy foods.

Now admittedly, this survey was conducted in May 2008, before the real financial travails started, but when you look deeper into consumer thinking, you'll find three significant reasons to feel more positive about your health business' prospects over the next few months.

Furthermore, these 3 reasons provide great ways to position your products for the altered consumer mindset:

1. People see health as a wise investment: This election showed more than ever that people are hurting financially as a direct result of health problems. And as the Avero poll above demonstrates, people are using health, specifically preventative health, as a criteria for where to put their dollars.

Even more telling, people see better health as an investment in their careers. As Cara Morrison reported in her extensive report for Packaged Facts, Sport Nutritionals for Active Lifestyles in the U.S., sports nutrition products are not only used by people for sports performance improvement but increasingly for better performance outside of the gym. The benefits of increased energy, higher acuity and even better physical appearance resonate with consumers seeking to perform better at work.

And on the corporate side, corporations are rewarding employees for good health and investing in personal trainers and gyms to help them achieve it - because they know how much this pays off.

Positioning Tip: Position your product [or services] as a smart investment, an investment that will never be at the mercy of global economic fluctuations, investment scandals or government interventions. Place value on your product by comparing it to the costs of more costly interventions - prescriptions, medical bills or time lost from work.

2. People latch onto health as something they can control: In 2001, the Hartman Group, a Seattle-based market research organization that focuses on the natural health consumer, found to their surprise that sales of organic foods was not declining, despite the economic problems.

When they started to look into why organics had staying power, they found out that consumers did not perceive them as luxury items, but as essentials. But even more interesting, consumers reported again and again that purchasing healthy food was a way of maintaining some feeling of control in their lives when everything else seemed so out of control.

Positioning Tip: Position your product [or services] as something that gives your prospects' control over their lives. When they choose to take care of their health, they are making themselves invulnerable to whatever comes along. With good energy, strength, alertness and stamina, they can take on the changes up ahead and find a way to tackle problems. They are not held hostage by the fears of medical bills, or debilitating chronic disease. And within the health care world, they can advocate for themselves better with better information and be smarter consumers as a result.

3. Health care items can be smart and satisfying indulgences: With a tightening budget, consumers are putting off old rewards like big vacations, a new car or the latest electronics. But consumers are still looking for ways to feel good and treat themselves - even more than ever. As green marketing expert, Darrin Duber-Smith explained, with troubling financial times, people tend to nest more, taking care of themselves and their immediate retreat - their homes. Many health care products - from natural personal care items to tasty but healthy desserts - strike a chord with consumers looking for a guilt-free way to reward themselves and put a soothing balm on their stress-filled days.

Positioning Tip: Emphasize the nourishing, sensual nature of your products [or services]. If you sell a lotion, don't just talk about how good their skin will look, but talk about the scent, the feeling of putting it on, the experience of using it. If you have a wonderfully-flavored whey protein, suggest using it in a delicious smoothie treat when you get home from work. Promote a new cookbook as a replacement for those restaurant meals consumers have been cutting out of their spending habits.

© 2009 Ezine Articles:

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