Obese people consume more food than people with normal weight and lead a sedentary life. There are many problems associated with obesity and its causes. The natural treatment for obesity is appropriate dieting and regular physical exercise. But maintaining a disciplined schedule for exercising and dieting is difficult for most of the obese people. Bariatric surgery is another effective treatment for obesity, but that too has difficulties associated i.e. risks and costs. An optimistic invention has been reported as a tool for controlling the impulse for eating among obese people. The scientists of Imperial College, London have developed a microchip that can regulate the eating behavior. The microchip is considered as an intelligent and implantable device that can modulate and trap the signals of the vagus nerve. In two years’ time the chip will be commercially available and the business planning need to be made for its marketing.
Nao Lab Co., Ltd is a company that plans to introduce the microchip on a commercial basis, and the company has a mission to help individuals in managing lifestyle related health problems. The product name suggested by the marketing team is M-chek, which has been approved by other teams too. In the market analysis by the company, various references were made regarding the occurrences of obesity. WHO reported that at least 2.8 million people die of being overweight or obese, and about 35 million of global Disability –adjusted Life Year (DALYs) are triggered by overweight or obesity. With respect to socio-economic angle, ‘WHO’ has observed that the occurrence of overweight in high-income households and upper-middle income families was more than that of the lower income families. These two vital statistics indicate that market potential for the microchip is large enough for a billion-dollar business.
Competition in the field of obesity and eating disorder is fierce. There are two companies that are well positioned in the field of Obesity treatment, Vivus and Arena Pharmaceuticals. There are more players in this field than we can imagine. Investors are also lining up eagerly to invest in promising companies. Almost for a decade, GlaxoSmithKline and Roche have enjoyed a complete domination in the weight-loss medicine market. They were challenged by later companies such as Vivus and Arena. Now, beyond the pharma companies, natural weight loss companies have begun to capture market share in the multi-billion dollar obesity market. The competition in the field of overweight, eating disorder and health is always dynamic and fast changing. Hence the Nao Lab has challenges not only in successfully launching a product, but also maintaining the position and thriving in the market.
Another internal challenge the company needs to take care is that the inventors may give the knowhow to other competitive companies too.
As per product category segmentation, the weight loss & obesity market may be divided into three segments, i.e. dieting aids (special foods, beverages, & health supplements), services (fitness center, weight loss programs, counseling, etc.) and surgical equipment (gastric bypass, laparoscopic sleeve, etc.) (M Chek may be classified under this segment). The market forecast till 2020 is that rise in obesity and overweight cases are bound to increase manifold. M Chek has the potential to emerge as a prominent alternative to obesity management program. Higher and middle income families that have obese people may be the target market for M Chek, and the company must reach the right clients through multiple channels, Through doctors, fitness centers, surgeons, obesity clinics, etc. and must position in the mind of the customers that “Care free life” is possible with M Chek. Awareness programs, brochures, fliers, social media and activations are some of the promotional methods the marketing team can as adopt.
Since the implanting of M Chek requires a minor surgery, the product can be sold thought hospitals and clinics under the supervision of physician and surgeon. The physicians and surgeons must be educated on the usage, implantation and benefits of M Chek, and incentive schemes must be developed for the doctors who recommend M Chek to their patients.
World Health Organization, ‘Obesity: Situations and Trends’. Web. 30 July 2014. http://www.who.int/gho/ncd/risk_factors/obesity_text/en/
Neil Bowlder, ‘Electronic implant designed to reduce obesity to undergo trials’, BBC News Health, 2013. Web. 30 July 2014. http://www.bbc.com/news/health-21852062