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What Are You Really Selling?

Tim Burr

July 8, 2014
Tim Burr

Recently, a medical entrepreneur approached Princeton Partners to help him develop and market a new, online tool for authoring advance directives. Advance directives are end-of-life instructions that you give to a designated person (your “healthcare advocate”) in the event that you can’t make medical decisions for yourself. He called this tool, Vimty.

It was a difficult challenge. The emotional nature of the product meant we had to approach it with great sensitivity. But it was still a product. From that standpoint, other companies were already offering similar, online tools, and, while Vimty had features that made it a better solution, like online notarization, storage, and notifications, the competing products were free.

To overcome these issues, we had to ask:

What are we really selling?

It’s the most basic question in marketing. Yet, sometimes, it doesn’t receive enough attention. While you may think your product’s value proposition is straightforward, customers may see things in your product that you don’t. Or there may be hidden potential that can truly differentiate your product.

With Vimty, we looked at the product with fresh eyes, from the point of view of a potential user. That’s when we realized, it wasn’t just “user.” It was “users.”

End-of-life decisions aren’t just difficult for the people making them. They’re difficult for the people who have to carry them out.

Vimty could be the only advance directives authoring tool designed specifically with that in mind. In fact, because it was a Web-based tool, it could be a platform for preparing not just the healthcare advocate but a person’s family members and other loved ones. Because Vimty was still in the development stage, we had that opportunity.

This premise resonated deeply with Vimty’s founder, and it truly differentiated the product – all because we asked, “What are we really selling?”