How to Profit from Crotch Rot

So, I had a BIG problem last year…

Let’s just say it had something to do with “where the sun don’t shine”, OK?

I had developed a bad habit–a VERY bad habit!–showering at home 60 minutes after my exercise class ended, instead of right afterwards at the gym.  First I’d stay and socialize for a few minutes, then stop for some tea on the way home, and finally throw myself into the shower.

Before you say “TMI Glenn!”, I promise there’s a VERY important marketing insight in this story, and it’s ABSOLUTELY NOT what you think!

See, after reading everything I could find on Crotch Rot AND talking to more than one doctor on the telephone, I finally got the nerve to see a dermatologist for formal diagnosis and treatment. Anyway, this dermatologist eventually convinced me to spend no less than $1,204 non-insurance-reimbursable dollars for four little tubes of miracle cream called NAFTIN.  That’s more than $300 a tube, each about the size of a small toothpaste!

Now, since I don’t particularly like collecting funky cream in a tube–and since I DO like dollars–I started scratching my head asking “What the heck just happened, and how can I use it to become a better marketer?”  (As an aside, it was a lot more fun to scratch my head than “the other place”)

Of course, the lesson here relates to the FIRST principle of persuasion:”Market to a Desperate Problem”…but NOT in the obvious way you might think.  In fact, this story clearly illustrates a very important nuance of marketing to desperate problems which even more experienced marketers frequently misunderstand.

See, when people hear “market to a desperate problem” the first time they usually say “Glenn, that’s fine and dandy if you’re selling crotch rot cream, emergency plumbing visits, or a defibrillator…but MY customers’ problems just aren’t that desperate.  I sell________”  (E.g. spray paint, piano wire, roofing shingles, empowerment coaching, or anything else which the consumer “gets around to purchasing” sooner or later.  Something which doesn’t seem desperate on its surface)

But my response is…

“MARKETING IS THE PROCESS OF MAKING YOUR PROSPECT FEEL DESPERATE TO SOLVE THEIR PROBLEM WITH YOUR SOLUTION”

Marketing is not just being opportunistic in finding desperate problems and offering up a solution.  The best marketers know how to MAKE you feel desperate about whatever their particular solution is…for your particular problem.  And they do it through a series of targeted communications, facts, and experiences…

My little adventure with crotch rot last year illustrates the point.  Because you’d THINK crotch rot, in and of itself is a desperate enough problem to create the sale. But there was actually a PROCESS the doctor and pharmacy had to take me through before I was willing to part with $1200…

It wasn’t like I said to myself “Oh, I’ve got Crotch Rot and I’m desperate to get rid of it… I’d better go get some $300 tubes of Naftin and use’m right now.”

I DID feel very desperate to get rid of it…

I DID have the idea I’d have to get a cream to treat it…

But I certainly didn’t believe I’d have to spend $300 per tube…

And I didn’t know WHICH cream to buy.

So even in this desperate state, I wasn’t anywhere near willing to purchase. It took some time to MAKE me feel desperate enough for their particular solution.  Here’s how it went down (I’m taking a little dramatic license to simplify the lesson)

During my initial visit to the dermatologist, he confirmed the diagnosis (a raging fungal infection) and prescribed a different, older and cheaper cream which WAS covered by my insurance.  I think it cost me $11 out of pocket.  He said “I think this will do the trick, but if it doesn’t there’s a new medication available which hits a much broader spectrum of fungi… the only problem is it’s not covered by most insurance plans yet”

So I tried the older, cheaper cream.  Ten days later the itch was worse.  MUCH worse…

I went back to see him again and he gave me a coupon for the NEW cream with the broader anti-fungal spectrum (Naftin).  He didn’t tell me how much it would cost, he just told me it was important to use the coupon because it was expensive.

I tried to fill the order with the coupon at the pharmacy, but they said it was expired.  At this point I asked how much it would be to pay out of pocket.  “$600+ for the first two tubes but the pharmaceutical company will pay $15 towards this” the nice lady said with a smile.  (Gee, isn’t that kind of the pharma company?)

Before paying for it, I called the doctor to ask if I really needed this particular medication.  He said we could TRY something else, but this was the broadest spectrum antifungal he knew of, and that’s what it would most likely take to succeed.  He also said his office would send out another coupon…

But I wasn’t about to wait around scratching my fire-ant infested butt for another another three days, so I just took out a credit card and paid for the order.  It took about a week to work, but I could finally sleep again, and although I was annoyed at the pharmaceutical company for charging such outrageous prices–(what do people do who can’t afford it?)–I simultaneously felt like it was the BEST $600 I ever spent.

I tried to get reimbursed when the new coupon arrived, but the pharmacy said it was still invalid.  

And here’s the kicker…

I went back a month later and refilled the prescription to make 100% sure back I’d have the tubes on hand if the infection ever came back!  Because I did NOT want to go through that ever again…and given the full experience I had come to believe Naftin really was the ONLY soluiton.  (Of course taking showers within 10 minutes of a workout helps too) 🙂

HERE ARE THE IMPORTANT TAKE-AWAYS FOR MARKETERS:

  • Picking a problem people already feel desperate to solve is a helpful, but not a sufficient condition for the sale…
  • You mush learn how to MAKE people feel desperate to buy YOUR product to solve their particular problem, even if they appear to be desperate to solve the problem already…
  • This always involves imparting enough information to convince the prospect (a) the problem won’t get better by itself–in fact it may get worse; (b) the other solutions on the market will NOT solve their problem; (c) you have diagnosed and understood their particular problem and; (d) can prove you are the only logical choice to cure their desperation…
  • Sometimes your prospect will have to FAIL trying other solutions before they’re ready for yours.  (As an aside, I often can’t convince marketers to do their research until they’ve failed enough times without it)
  • Although this particular example illustrates with a problem which DOES seem desperate on it’s surface, you can and must learn to MAKE people feel desperate about anything you sell.  For example, if you sell spray paint, you’ll need to tell stories about botched jobs using the wrong paint, degradation of color due to poorer quality of the competitor, time and expense wasted, etc… then explain to them WHY your product solves these problems, show them how YOUR solution matches their very specific needs, and then make them feel like continuing to use other solutions is no longer even an option.

THAT, my friends, is what I mean by marketing to a desperate problem…

And it’s how you too can profit from crotch rot!

OK, now, everyone go open your windows, stick your head out and yell as loud as you can “I’m going to profit from crotch rot, I’m going to profit from crotch rot!!!!”

There, doesn’t that feel better?

Onwards!,

Dr. G 🙂

PS – If you’re a coach or consultant–or think you might want to be–you might want to consider becoming certified by my organization.  You’ll have a chance to work directly with myself and Sharon to develop YOUR persuasive sales abilities.  Get started for a one time payment of just $25.  By the time you’re done with the trial I guarantee you’ll have EXPERIENCED the conversion of a moderate itch to a desperate problem with only one possible solution… it’s worth doing the first 10 days ($25) just for this marketing experience alone.

 

 

 

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