A couple of weeks ago, Mary wrote in our weekly trend post on LinkedIn about The Ozempic weight loss miracle.   The drug appears to have astonishing results for patients, with a side effect profile that makes it safe for most people to use. 

The question for our clients is not if this phenomenon is going to affect their B2B industry, but when and how.  What makes us so sure that Ozempic will affect even seemingly unrelated markets? 

In her post, Mary cited a Bloomberg report that “the maker of Ozempic is receiving calls from food industry CEOs who are anxious about how the drug works and its rollout speed. Morgan Stanley cited a Numerator research study revealing that Ozempic users are reducing their grocery spend by up to 9%. Snacks, pastries &ice cream dropped while yogurt, fish & veggies increased among the users. Even the airlines, such as United Airlines recognize that they could save $80 million annually if every passenger lost 10 pounds.”

Healthcare touches the world economy so significantly, and weight issues are so relevant to modern life.  We think your business will be impacted by Ozempic – and that you should be strategizing about it now. 

We challenged ourselves to brainstorm how three industries that seem far removed from the impact of a weight loss pill might develop potentially lucrative strategies.  This article will give you three strategies/tools that will help your business be proactive – or purposely reactive – to this momentous trend. 

Strategy #1:  How The Back End of a Trend Analysis Will Help Your Business Anticipate Customer Needs (Medical Example)

Typically, the hard part in anticipating trends is determining which ones will be both long-term in nature (not “fads”) and that will be meaningful to your customers.  This one seems to be pretty obvious – a magic pill for weight loss is not a fad.

But many companies move from the highly relevant trends they’ve identified, straight to a “what should we do about it” strategy.  They skip a key step:  how will this trend impact customer needs in your industry?  Don’t skip this step – it is the key to success. 

For example, let’s say your company manufactures dental supplies.  What are the potential impacts of Ozempic to the needs of dentists?

On one hand, maybe patients who have their appetite diminished by Ozempic might eat fewer sugary sweets and have fewer cavities.  On the other hand, many will be feeling good about their appearance and will want to continue enhancing their looks through teeth-whitening. 

So, the dental supply company can shift focus towards teeth-whitening supplies to help with their product and supply planning, and perhaps take the lead in the industry in helping dentists navigate the shift in their services towards a more cosmetic-oriented practice. 

Strategy #2:  How Segmentation and Targeting Can Tell You If You Should Make a Weight Loss Value Prop (Industrial Example)

What if you are a manufacturing automation machine maker and you are wondering if this trend will affect enough of your customers to warrant a specific Ozempic-driven strategy?  Segmentation and targeting will help you make that determination.

We once segmented the manufacturing clients of a company that made factory automation hardware as below:

The automation company targeted the “Manufacturing Gurus” segment manufacturers with unpredictable demand and tolerant processes.  Cereal manufacturers were in this segment because food trends where unpredictable but, like with grass seed, no one counts the number of corn flakes in a box. 

This segment was in the automation companies’ wheelhouse because their machines could ramp up production quickly but weren’t as exacting in controlling volume as other machines.  So, it would be smart if the automation company thought deeply about how the Ozempic-driven weight loss trend might impact this segment.

Well, the reduction in appetite from a weight loss drug might increase demand for smaller cereal box package sizes (have you seen how big cereal boxes are lately?) This might worry the Manufacturing Guru segment customers because of the potential impact on sales and profits. 

Maybe the automation manufacturer could tout its machine’s superior ability to manufacture in smaller package sizes to meet new demands.  And maybe they could provide some best practices research for these clients as to how other, non-competitors in the Manufacturing Guru segment are selling smaller package size at similar price points with some added value to keep sales and profits in line. 

Strategy #3:  This Strategy That Will Help You Think Exhaustively and Creatively About Re-Focusing Your Offer (Financial Services Example)

What if you create financial services products that are sold through banks and planners to individuals?  How might you find ways to refocus your offer for a world that now has a magic weight loss pill?

One way to do this would be to create a set of 4-5 customer needs your target market had in the pre-Ozempic world.  Don’t just list them, spread 100 “poker chips” against the 4-5 needs by allocating more chips to a more intense need, etc.

Now, ask your team:  how will these weights change because of Ozempic?  Would some new needs emerge? 

For these new and/or now-more-important needs, does (or can) your company have an advantage in meeting these needs?   We call this strategy “re-orienting the customer.”

For financial service products, there’s always been a fear amongst customers of outliving their savings.  It’s not a stretch to think that this fear/need might become much more prominent because of the longevity benefits of living at a healthy weight.

The financial services maker could change their focus from life insurance products to the manufacture and ultimate sale of the best annuities on the market – a product that provides a hedge against running out of money due to living longer than expected.

Trends like this one can offer both threats and opportunities to companies.  The trick, as we mentioned before, is recognizing them early and aligning on what to do about them.  There shouldn’t be a lot of debate in your organization about whether this trend is going to last.  The issue is, will it have enough impact on your industry to warrant new strategies?

Based on our exercise above, we believe almost every one of you will have your business impacted by Ozempic.  Try the approaches we recommended in this article right away, and you will increase your chances of ensuring this trend presents an opportunity for your company:  getting out in front of it.  

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