When you think of medical device marketing, what do you see?
Glossy brochures. Nondescript trade show booths. Stock photography.
This has become the standard way of doing things. But as medical device technology evolves and people play a more active role in researching treatment options, what makes marketing effective has changed.
You have an incredible opportunity here. While other medical device manufacturers stick to the same old strategies and wonder why they aren’t working like they used to, you can attract an audience, build meaningful relationships, and guide them on the path toward better health.
Let’s talk about how!
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Imagine shouting on a street corner. If you’re the only one there, people will pay attention out of the sheer novelty. But if you’re one of many, you become just another voice to tune out.
Savvy medical device marketers understand this. Exposed up to a staggering 10,000 brand messages a day, their potential audiences are overwhelmed like never before. How can we get our voices to pierce through all the noise?
The solution isn’t to shout louder. It’s to change the conversation completely.
Instead of one-way broadcasts–which try to demand attention with little regard to their response – think of marketing as a way to start two-way conversations.
When in doubt, listen.
Forums, social media groups, and other digital communities are telling you exactly how to connect with them already. Everything from the language they use to the topics they discuss the most can help inform your marketing. The insight is freely available…but only if you’re willing to question your assumptions.
By listening and responding (instead of broadcasting and hoping for the best), you’ll make people feel like you read their minds. Invite them to share their questions, stories, and successes. This makes them feel valued, and they become co-creators of their own marketing experiences.
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Your audience – both the patients themselves and the medical professions who treat them – is taking healthcare into their own hands.
77 percent of health seekers start their search at online search engines. Results help them diagnose symptoms, compare treatment options, and form like-minded communities.
Medical device marketers can choose to fight this trend…or embrace it.
We’ll take the second choice. The search begins online, so that’s exactly where we need to be. Insightful, engaging content gives people the information they need to make the best healthcare decisions while establishing you as a thought leader in the industry.
Study up on the basics of SEO. This will help you better understand which content to create and how to structure it in order to climb higher in search engine rankings. Consider investing in a tool to help research popular keywords – or downloading a free one.
Every popular keyword is a glimpse into the psyche of your target audience. These glimpses help inspire marketing content you wouldn’t have thought of on your own.
Remember: your audiences start their searches with education and awareness in mind. Most of them aren’t researching specific devices yet. Keywords like “best blood glucose meter” (called buyer keywords) are often competitive. Broaden your focus to include awareness/consideration keywords, like “signs of high blood sugar” or “how to treat diabetes”, which might be less competitive and still relevant.
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For most medical device companies, marketing, sales, and customer support are completely separated. They use different procedures and buzzwords. And they rarely (if ever) meet.
That’s a shame. These “silos” don’t just create division within your team; they also do a disservice to your audience.
Marketing has a ton of experience designing campaigns and researching markets. But sales and customer support have something marketing doesn’t have: personal interactions with patients and providers. Insights from your team members on the front lines are invaluable.
Sales reps know the most common obstacles in the path to purchase. Customer support understands pain points. Both know how your brand is being perceived in real life. These are incredible resources at your disposal; far too many device marketers aren’t using them!
What happens when you do? You create content specifically designed to educate and overcome objections before they come up. You frame things in your audience’s words – instead of jargon that you think makes you sound smart.
It takes humility to do this, but the benefits of getting your sales reps and customer support team involved are more than worth it. Meet regularly, share ideas, and commit to transparent communication. You’re all on the same team.
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Creating engagements with your marketing campaigns is a necessity. But it’s usually only the first step before someone agrees to try your medical device.
Unfortunately, if you don’t give your target audience a call to action, that’s probably where the relationship ends. Those who might use your device are insanely busy. They get overwhelmed. Days go by, and they wanted to find out more… until they forget.
The vast majority of people won’t be ready to buy right away. They’re gathering information and exploring options. It might take dozens of interactions before they’re: 1) ready to invest in a medical device, and 2) convinced that yours is the best choice.
Great marketing accommodates that. It kicks off a process that guides people from “interested enough to hear more” to “ready to buy.”
By creating hooks that separate prospects from everyone else. These could be offers to download an eBook, free diagnostic tool, video course, or anything else. Offering access to incentives in exchange for personal contact information builds a list of people to follow up with.
Now, instead of hoping that people come back on their own, you can use tactics like email marketing to proactively guide relationships.
Image credit: Victoria_Borodinova
With all the technology in the newest medical devices, it’s easy to get carried away and make that the focus of your marketing. Sometimes those pamphlets you’ll see at trade shows or in sales rep briefcases start to read like textbooks.
We can’t afford to forget that, at its core, effective medical device marketing is about human impact. Helping people enjoy life instead of being stuck in the hospital. Empowering them to do what they love instead of worry.
That’s why we’re huge fans of leading with an emotional appeal. This should be something that laypeople can appreciate just as easily as health professionals.
If you’re marketing a wireless pacemaker, for instance, the new technology becomes compelling only when it’s properly translated into tangible benefits, like avoiding the need for a chest incision and less risk of infection than from the wires.
Doctors, nurses, and hospital administrators are people too. They’ll respond to the same emotional appeals that resonate with everyone else. Technical advancements and cutting-edge features can support those appeals… but only after the emotional core catches their attention.
Remember our motto here at Bloom Creative: marketing head and heart.
Your medical devices have the potential to improve health and increase quality of life.
That’s something worth getting excited about! Done right, your marketing will share that excitement in a way that’s infectious.
Every device is unique. But if you follow the universal principles above, you’ll connect with medical professionals (and the patients they treat) on a deeper level.