Jack of all Trades or Master of One (continued) ~ Brand Mix

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Jack of all Trades or Master of One (continued)

Last week, I reported on the work of Alexander Chernev who has been trying to determine whether a narrow, specialized positioning where a product focuses on one feature works better than an all-in-one solution.

His main conclusion is that consumers tend to devalue the perceived performance of features if they are bundled together compared to a product with just one feature (unless the bundled products are priced higher).

Today, I listened to a story on Marketplace about healthcare which has parallels. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, family doctors aren't getting the funding or the respect that they ought to from the National Institutes of Health.

In his commentary, Robert Martensen says that this is wrong. He makes the case for family doctors by comparing Pierre, S.D., where there are only a few medical specialists with Boca Raton in Florida which is chock full of them. Turns out that people live longer in Pierre. Martensen thinks it's because family doctors play a critical role in integrating and coordinating health care which specialists simply can't. As he says of the specialists: "Because their focus is narrow but deep, few of them, however well meaning, are likely to have the big picture about you."

Bringing this back to the world of marketing, is this the challenge that integrated marketers have vs. specialists? They may have the potential to provide the best solution because they can develop a coordinated plan across multiple disciplines but they don't get the respect they deserve vs. a specialist who offers just one solution/approach.

1 comment:

Denise Lee Yohn said...

does it have to be either/or?

an integrated marketing firm could position itself as the "swiss army knife" of marketing services -- in doing so, they would be both expressing their ability to take on a large range of challenges and the value of having such a "handy" resource available at all times, as well as implying that they're not going to have the expertise of a specialist in any one area.

i don't think anyone's not bought a swiss army knife because the screwdriver tool isn't a large as a standalone one -- it's likely most people own both, and use each accordingly.

likewise, perhaps integrated firms and specialists should not be selling customers off each other but rather educating them on the value of engaging both kinds of resources -- let the customer assess when they need "good enough right now" vs. "better later."

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