Few industries can rival the excitement – and the risk – that ripples through the medical device health care sector. The thrill of bringing science and invention to life is real. But, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to tell the complex stories that lie at the intersection of health and technology.
With many demands and limited time, many medtech companies struggle to know where or how communications should fit. It’s easy to say that you need compelling communication and marketing that deliver business results – and another thing to make it happen. The market is hot, and the time for companies to accelerate their efforts is now.
The medical device industry is experiencing unprecedented growth, estimated to increase from $340 billion in 2016 to nearly $436 billion by 2020, according to the International Trade Administration. It’s not too late to reevaluate and ramp up your current activities. As a place to start, here are three key marketing priorities and three target markets vital to a medtech company’s success.
Priority: Crisis Planning and Training
Device failure. Aggrieved customers. Funding fluctuations. Situations can devolve quickly, and nothing damages a company’s reputation more than a poorly handled crisis. There’s no substitution for preparation, and if you’re planning for the crisis as it unfolds, you’re in for a rough ride. On the other hand, the right response can help protect your brand – and often, your bottom line. It’s crucial to create a crisis plan and train your team to execute it.
Priority: Elevating Your Public Profile
It’s not hard to convince most people of the value of getting placements in trade, technology and business media. Such coverage boosts credibility, improves brand momentum and generates awareness – hopefully leading to warmer sales calls and a shorter sales cycle. However, great results require a great strategy, which encompasses a lot more than just earned media.
If your communication approach doesn’t include the full spectrum of the PESO model, it’s time for a refresh. PESO stands for paid, earned, shared and owned – all the intertwined platforms you have for sharing your story.
For many medtech companies, the greatest untapped opportunity lies in proactive use of social channels, not just to amplify activities cross-platform, but as a tool to drive web traffic and conversions. You need to develop a social media strategy that works cohesively with all other marketing and communication, weaving in consistent key messages and creating a content calendar to guide your efforts. And, of course, you need to dip into the paid category for best results – a healthy mixture of paid and organic social content ensures maximum reach and impressions.
Priority: Doubling Down on Marketing to Buyers
While the market may be thriving, getting in front of your overscheduled, overstretched buyers – especially doctors and surgeons – remains a challenge. The best place to meet this market is always going to be on their turf. Your best bet is a multi-channel strategy that covers the industry conferences, online spaces and trade media most relevant to their specialty. A combination of in-person and digital engagement, supported by tailored content will help you ensure that your technology is understood, appreciated and differentiated. For creative and strategic tools to help market to surgeons and physicians, access Padilla’s interactive infographic here.)
Market: Direct Buyers
It’s worth talking about your direct buyers a little more, as few targets are more demanding – or risk-averse – than hospitals, in-home health care services and other providers. It’s understandable, but proves challenging for marketers to persuade them to try something new.
With this market, you can break through the old habits and the marketplace noise by focusing on the facts. The key is being able to demonstrate that your device delivers the same patient outcomes, level of safety and cost – or better. Making a convincing argument requires clear and compelling clinical trial data, research and evidence. Ideally, you should be able to support this foundational information with experiential data from the field, such as peer testimonials. If you can package this information, making it as easy as possible to access and consume wherever your buyer may be, you have a strong foundation to educate and persuade.
Market: Direct to Consumer
Patients and caregivers are just as invested in understanding how their medical devices work – and the corresponding success rates. However, the stakes are intensely personal. This market will live with the device every day. It’s a quality-of-life issue, and they want to understand what they have to gain. You need to demonstrate not only the day-to-day user experience, but the long-term impacts. Testimonials from existing patients and caregivers offer valuable perspective on what prospective patients might be able to expect. These firsthand accounts should be as specific as possible, helping prospective patients visualize how the device will improve their lives, in ways big and small. It’s also important to share any added value and support you bring to the table, such as tutorials or access to customer support lines. The goal is to convince patients and caregivers not only that the device will work, but that they will feel comfortable and confident with it.
Market: Prospective Investors
The investor community also cares about the details of your device and the safety, efficacy and user experience it offers. However, as you pursue funding opportunities with prospective investors, your primary goal is to establish the stability, reliability and credibility of your company as a whole. You can’t achieve this without showcasing your product(s) and all relevant market research, data and product information, of course. It’s still critical to have clear, compelling materials that make your offerings easy to understand and are free of unnecessary industry jargon. You just have to make a business case that’s equally as clear and compelling, laying out the strength of the company and your path to success in the marketplace.
This article originally appeared in Medical Alley.
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