Metabical: Positioning and Communications Strategy for a New Weight-Loss Drug

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Metabical: Positioning and Communications Strategy for a new Weight-Loss Drug Q & A
1. Who is involved in the decision making process? What is the decision making process for Metabical?

Since Metabical is a prescription drug for weight loss which can only be bought via a prescription, the overweight patients are not the only decision makers involved. The health care providers are also decision makers in this process for they are the ones who prescribe the drug. The consumer decision making process (J.Paul Peter & Donnelly, Ch3, p.49) for Metabical goes through five stages: a) Perceiving or recognizing a need.

According to the case, 65 % of Americans are overweight. Many perceive themselves as social outcasts. Here Metabical ties in with a variety of needs in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: the need for belongingness and love for companionship. After all no one likes being excluded. Exclusion can also negatively impact one’s self esteem. So it also ties in with the need for self esteem and self actualization since excess weight negatively impacts hiring, wages, and job promotion. b) Alternative Search: Once the need for love and belonging, and self esteem is recognized the overweight individual collects information from marketing sources like ads, or public sources like newspapers and magazines. The consumer might even ask his health care provider about it. He/she might even ask their overweight friends i.e. group sources who tried many diet drugs before. Then the consumer processes information after having been exposed to it, having been attentive, and having understood and retained its message. c) Alternative Evaluation: The consumer here compares Metabical to the other competitive products: OTC products, product Alli, ephedra. Here he/ she would see that OTC products have several side effects since they do not go to the stringent FDA approval. Ephedra for instance is linked to several cases of heart death. Alli although FDA approved has side effects like liver damage if consumed with too much fat, while Metabical has the least side effects. Also consumers would consider the 3$ price of the Metabical with respect to others, the benefits that go with it like the 24 month support program of Metabical which is longer than Alli’s . He/ She would start comparing which one makes you lose more weight and lets you keep it off. d) Purchase: After evaluating all the choices, the consumer would decide to buy Metabical. e) Post purchase evaluation: where the consumer might experience consumer dissonance, or concerns over whether his/her choice was the best one. Going through this decision making process would help marketers understand the satisfied and unsatisfied needs of the consumers. The unsatisfied needs are: the need for a safe effective weight loss product which was expressed by the focus groups in the case. Since the decision making process also includes health care providers. Health care providers have to perceive or recognize the need for Metabical too. From Exhibit 1, it is shown that overweight and obesity percentages rise every year. Health care providers would like to see their patients put off the weight for good and establish healthy eating lifestyles. To address this need, the marketing plan put forth the 24 month support program which guarantees patients long term effects, and helps them change their eating habits and behaviors to achieve a healthy outcome. Then comes the Alternative search component: health care providers can easily search information about metabical since they are well immersed in the medical field, and they have medical representatives who pass by them to inform them of their products be it monthly or weekly. As for the Alternative evaluation health care practitioners are aware of the side effects of the other products in the market as compared to FDA approved Metabical. However Metabical salespeople can provide them with the latest up to date...
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