It's a match made in heaven -- a revolutionary product that will benefit mankind and a veteran, visionary marketer at the direct sales helm. The just-launched IV-7 Ultimate Germ Defense is a non-toxic disinfectant boasting the lowest EPA toxicity rating possible: a 4 ("practically nontoxic") on a scale of 1 to 4. Its tagline: "Living safely. Saving lives."
As the BP oil spill and Gulf Coast disaster continue to grip the headlines, public debate about our increasingly toxic environment and the efficacy and safety of disinfectant products continues to rage.
More than 700 products are on the market just in the U.S. with claims of killing bacteria, molds, viruses, and 75% of Americans use up to six antimicrobial products daily. It's a lucrative market, with the largest and the smallest companies fighting for market share -- just witness the battle between Method products and Clorox Green Works.
Michael L. Krall is President and CEO of PURE Bioscience, the company behind IV-7. It's a biotech company that develops products geared towards global health challenges including Staph (MRSA). At the core of IV-7: silver dihydrogen citrate-based antimicrobials (SDC), a proprietary, patented electrolytically generated source of stabilized ionic silver. PURE's SDC technology is the first new disinfectant active ingredient to be registered with the EPA in 30 years.
Everything old is new again: silver has been used since Greek and Roman times as an anti-bacterial agent for healing and cleansing. But it took Krall and team seven years and $40 million in R&D to patent a process for stabilizing an ionized form of silver in solution. IV-7 kills germs on any hard surface, carries bacterial "kill times" as quick as 30 seconds, and disinfects for up to 24 hours after the first application.
The direct sales expertise behind IV-7 is John Rochon's Richmont Holdings. Rochon is the man who brought us Mary Kay, Avon and Dirt Devil, and he's an expert at direct sales and C2C, one-on-one marketing.
"I'm a passionate believer in integrative thinking," says Rochon. "By that, I mean looking at a problem or a situation in a new way and linking together different elements of a solution that nobody thought of connecting before."
Krall concurs. "When I met John I felt he understood what we were all about. He wasn't looking at our technology the same way that a conventional marketing firm would."
Bringing his experience to the table, Rochon says he "knew that the big players wouldn't embrace it, because it's classic 'disruptive technology' and it's going to make their products obsolete. We had to go to market in an unconventional way. We had to go right to the grassroots. We had to get to moms and schools and families."
It was clear from the beginning that IV-7 needed a distinctive place to tell its story. Sharing shelf-space with 409 and Lysol and even P&G's Green Works was not right for this "marketing conversation." "We didn't want to be under the 'green cloak,' which is not strong enough for this revolutionary product," added Russell Mack, EVP, Richmont Holdings.
Rochon will not be using traditional marketing tactics, eschewing Wal-Mart for "mommy-bloggers" and direct sales partners who can sign-up on the website. IV-7 is the perfect product for today's intersection of consumer demand for effective, prophylactic, greener products and the power of viral marketing via social media. Facebook and Twitter will be used to the fullest as direct sales and marketing channels.
As for the brand name, over 700 were tested according to Mack, "What emerged were brand qualities such as 'defensive' and 'revolutionary.' We see this as serious medical and scientific battle. 17 million people die yearly from infection. IV-7's brand personality is a fire-fighter or a policeman, someone that will protect you and your family."
Krall believes his product "is an important and timely mission to open a new line of defense against germs in many diverse industries. As a platform technology, our patented SDC antimicrobial molecule has applications in hundreds of products. The surface disinfectant is just the beginning."
In the biggest test of the product's potential to date, IV-7 Water Purifier was shipped to Haiti for use in areas ravaged by the earthquake. Donations of SDC in liquid concentrate form (through Project Hope) were deployed -- enough to purify 40 million gallons of water for safe drinking.
"IV-7 is a once-in-a-lifetime product that is going to protect millions of people from the threat of bacteria and viruses. We have an obligation to get this product into the war on germs as quickly as possible, to protect our loved ones and save lives. Direct selling is the best way to do that," says Rochon.
Disruptive technology, social media, and a world in great need of cleaning up its messes -- IV-7 could be exactly the right product in precisely the right hands to make a difference. In full disclosure, this writer tried the product -- in my kitchen, my bathroom, on my Blackberry and laptop. I can attest: it's truly amazing. I'm never turning back!
This article commissioned by brandchannel.