Do you work in medical device marketing, or need the services of a medical device marketer? If so, you are in good company. The industry is filled with people, mostly inhouse marketers who are well educated, enthusiastic and even creative. You are probably friends with many of them.
Who are Medical Device Marketers?
The big problem is, how many of these people have formally studied marketing? The answer, unfortunately is, not many. Therefore, medical device marketing positions are often filled by people either from rival companies. Many of these work in the same positions and have risen through the ranks. Marketers often come through inhouse from the sales force for instance. But that sounds pretty good right? Well, not always.
You will probably find that most sales people come from scientific fields, such as nurses, medical scientists, physio therapists, orthoptists etc. These people often do a good job with their brief. For instance, they create brochures, host a few symposia (webinars in 2020). Some may also design a trade show booth with some pull up banners. However, they do not look far beyond the traditional tasks of product management. There is good reason for this, which I will show you below.
The current state of medical device marketing
Marketers in the medical device industry often have deep knowledge of their products, the disease states they cover and their customer base. This comes from their background in science and spending a number of years selling these products in operating theatres and specialist rooms. These are great attributes to have, and creates incredibly useful customer understanding. At the same time, many medical device markets grow every year. Moreover, some even grow with double digits, so what is the problem? Ask yourself, how well are you actually doing if growth rate is equal to the market?
The Product Life Cycle
Almost every field of medical devices follow the normal product lifecycle curve. It starts off with one company. Then it becomes an oligopoly, and after a few years cheaper knock off products come into the market. So, you wake up one day and the previously semi exclusive market is now crowded. As a result, this is the point where marketers are put to the test. To this day, marketers are still creating glossy brochures, host the usual symposia and road shows. Medical device marketers will also attend congresses and showcase products. This is no longer sufficient, it is simply not enough. While these marketing tactics are still important, it is consuming 100% of the medical device marketers time. Marketers find there simply is no resources to increase output. And finally, the critical point where more products enter the market the incumbents tend to strangle their marketing spend.
What can be done, and what should be done?
As a general rule, medical device marketing is stuck in the same circles they have always operated in. There is very little in terms of digital strategy. On top of that, brand building, market research, SEO are rarely considered. Finally, content marketing is almost not existent in the medical device industry.
According to HubSpot email marketing brings in $38 for every dollar spent. This is powerful, it is cheap. But it is also crowded. As a result, a medical device marketing professional needs to be conscious about a few things. First, how to grab the attention of the recipient. Second, get them to open the email. And third, make sure they keep reading it and click through to the website and/or respond to the email.
Improve Digital Engagement
Find ways to digitally engage with your customers; 2020 has prevented many of the traditional means of medical device marketing mentioned above. Therefore, meet your customers in the digital sphere.
Your Brand Story
Your brand, what does it mean? Does it invoke feelings? Is your brand story compelling? These things are important, some of the best brands in the world do this very well. Apple, Coca-Cola, IKEA to mention a few. Yes, they spend hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing every year, but don’t let that deter you. Good branding in medical device marketing can be done on a smaller scale. Your customers need to connect emotionally with you and build a compelling brand story to stay ahead of the pack.
Take customers to your website and optimize it for 2020 and beyond – it is no longer enough to simply list your products and services, make your website the go-to online place for your target audience.
Finally, bring 2020 thinking into your medical device marketing. Make this your decade.