How to get traction with medical device marketing
Medical device manufacturers face a unique and challenging product development life cycle – completed products must be fully tested and approved before offering the device for sale.
However, the demand for more and more effective medical devices is increasing. The needs of Baby Boomers and the looming needs of Gen X are driving device manufacturers into a highly competitive market – one that requires these companies to find ways to make their products stand head and shoulders above similar medical devices.
Medical device marketing requires a balance of regulatory compliance and gaining the right attention. Marketing of medical devices means using the most effective strategies to gain the right attention, at the right time.
It’s critical that medical device manufacturers remember to use modern marketing tools while leveraging traditional marketing best practices. Here are six of the top considerations modern medical device companies should keep in mind as they prepare their go-to-market strategy.
Understand your audience
Identifying your audience and building personas may seem like remedial marketing, but they are so important that it’s worth reminding companies of the value of understanding who you are selling to.
Much of the information you need to build personas probably already exists within the organization. Market research should have identified who you’ll be selling to, whether that is doctor or patient, hospital or private practice. Use this information to identify the most critical person your marketing should be aimed at.
But don’t stop there. You may think that a doctor or specialist is the most important person for you to key your message to, and you’re likely correct. You may also need to catch the attention of nurse practitioners, office admins, or hospital procurement managers who may take part in the full cycle of the buying process, from research to ordering.
Understand the problem
Knowing the audience isn’t enough for your medical device marketing to stand out. Your messaging needs to be able to speak to your intended audience, but it must also show an understanding of the challenges they are facing and clearly describe how those challenges are met with your device.
For instance, doctors may have an existing device to help treat a condition, but the usage of that device frequently results in complications for the patient – something that causes some patients to refuse necessary treatment, and still others to consider malpractice suits despite having been informed of the risks. If your device reduces or eliminates those risks, it important to inform your audience of the differentiators that make your their life easier.
Build your go-to-market strategy to meet the customer along the buyer’s journey
Medical device purchases are not like buying a gallon of milk. The purchase of a device requires a great deal of consideration and research over time.
Because of this extended buyer’s journey, it’s important to have information and marketing materials ready to meet the customer at each step of the decision process. The steps of the buyer’s journey typically consist of:
Awareness: Your audience becomes aware of your device’s existence through internet searches or ads.
Consideration: The audience understands the problem they are facing, and knows that you have a device that may help. In the consideration phase, customers look for information that will help them understand the product’s effectiveness and clinical results.
Decision: In the decision stage, the buyer has done their research and is ready to make a decision on the product that will best meet their needs. Product comparisons, ROI analysis, and device guides help the audience make the decision to buy.
Ensuring that you can answer a buyer’s questions at each step of the journey will paint a complete picture of the value of your device compared to the competition, and impress upon the customer the meaning of the outcomes to doctors and patients.
Message around the value to the customer
It’s tempting to market your medical device based on the outcomes for patients, and certainly, positive patient outcomes are an important part of a medical professionals consideration criteria.
However, unless you are selling directly to the patient, your marketing materials should be geared for your buyer – the medical professional making the purchase decision. Your marketing should speak to the value of the device to the professional. Benefits for the patient should be framed from the perspective of the medical professional.
Further, your message should not be simplified for patients if medical professionals are the ones that will be making the buying decisions. It should speak their language.
The web is a crucial tool
According to research from Google, 89% of B2B buyers researching solutions are doing so on the internet. Without a clear and informative website, medical device manufacturers are missing a significant portion of their potential audience.
Simply having a web presence isn’t enough, however. Potential buyers need to see the information and messaging that will get them to return to your site over and over as they move through the buyer’s journey.
Lastly, as Google points out as part of the results from their study, B2B buyers don’t start by looking for a product name. Websites should be optimized for generic terms to draw users to your website and provide them with the data needed to make a purchase decision.
Build trust with consistency
Few industries rely on trust as much as the healthcare industry. Your audience must believe your statements and research, and developing trust with them is paramount to effective medical device marketing.
One of the quickest ways to destroy trust with your audience is to be inconsistent in your brand’s presentation. This doesn’t only mean that your copy shouldn’t contradict your results (although that is also important). It also means that all of your marketing properties – offline, events, and online – should have a consistent voice and look and feel.
Consistency in marketing materials builds trust with buyers by making it clear that the brand knows who they are and what they are selling. It prevents confusion and sets the organization up as professional.
That doesn’t mean the marketing for every device, every channel, or every event needs to be identical. Instead, materials should look like “siblings” – close enough to be recognizable as related while still unique enough to let the point of the campaign or marketing piece shine through on its own.
Because of the need to present complex and critical data to a highly educated audience, medical device marketing can be challenging. Applying marketing best practices to your messaging, strategy choices, and presentation will ensure your products are elevated above the noise and send a clear signal on the benefits of your device.