The global medical device market is projected to grow 50% to $800 billion by 2030—driven to a great extent by rapidly aging populations in many countries around the world (including the USA). At the same time, product innovation from advances in technology (including robotics and A.I., miniaturization, and materials sciences) will ensure increasing competitive pressure. In this environment, it will be ever more critical that your medical device marketing is effective. In what follows, I outline strategies that will help keep your medical device marketing efforts ahead of the competition:
1. Use your brand more effectively
Each product or service should come from a reputable brand and, in turn, add to the brand’s reputation. It has been long recognized that all customers (from consumers to medical professionals) make decisions based on emotional factors as well as functional ones. How your brand connects with your stakeholders is critical to success and should never be neglected when introducing and marketing a new product or service.
Some of the most prolific marketers of medical device products are large corporations that cover multiple product categories and customer audiences. Often, these large corporations have a strong corporate brand, but a less compelling brand story at the divisional or product category level aimed at connecting with specific customer audiences. This is a huge opportunity for those brands to define themselves in a relevant, differentiated and credible way to their customers—while staying consistent and true to the umbrella corporate branding. Humans are hardwired for stories and the purpose and motivation of organizations. Proper branding does that, and the marketing of individual products and services is the mechanism by which brands are built and maintained among specific target audiences.
We recommend that 20-25% of the marketing effort around a given product or service be dedicated to the company brand. After all, it is the company brand that will provide the confidence and trust in the new product or service—and then, post purchase and use, return equity to the company brand.
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2. Create a robust online presence
We are increasingly entering an age of democratization of information. Consumers and patients can now, with a few keystrokes, find and learn about the most technical complex issues and be more educated and self-sufficient in what they consume—from everyday products to medical procedures. Successful marketing of medical devices increasingly means providing accessible information about brands, products and services, and how they are contributing to making the world a better place. Content, as they say, is king because it (a) is expected, (b) drives awareness and purchase interest and (c) builds brand image and reputation.
Of course, patient outcomes/product success stories will always remain the most important content a brand in medical device marketing can provide to customers. However, there are many other forms of content that are also important for customers and, therefore, the brand’s success. Some of these include things like ease of use messages, cost-benefit information as well as training and support.
Frequent, high-quality content provided across all relevant channels is essential for future brand success.
3. Competitive Differentiation
Obviously, it is always a goal to have products and services that are differentiated from the competition in substantive ways. However, the reality is that often marketers are presented with the challenge of marketing what is basically a “me-too” product. However, here too, leveraging the brand is helpful to differentiate the product from the competition and give customers a reason to buy. In addition, in a complex space like medical devices, there are other ways to set your marketing apart from that of the competition’s. Avoid using the same jargon or phrases that the competition uses, and maybe even come up with unique terms that are meaningful and useful to customers. Also, make your marketing distinctive from the competition to stand out. If the competition zigs, zag instead. Be authentic and real with customers rather than trying to make something out of nothing. Customers will respect you more for it. Consider that you are marketing a portfolio of products to the same customers over time. Maximize on the portfolio, not the individual product.
Following these strategies will help make your medical device marketing efforts more effective over time. For more information or help with your marketing efforts, please reach out to us at Six Degrees. We have over 24 years of experience in this area.