The Edwards Lifesciences School of Marketing (and Why It Works)

In just over 60 years, Edwards Lifesciences has become a household name in the medical device industry. What started as one engineer’s vision – to help people with heart disease – has grown into a thriving company with thousands of employees across the globe.

How did they do it?

And more importantly: how do they keep doing it, despite all the rapid changes in healthcare today?

Their relentless focus on helping patients lays the foundation. An effective marketing strategy helps communicate it with the world.

Although marketing tactics and technology change, the principles beneath them never waver. Let’s take a look how Edwards Lifesciences applies them to build long-term relationships and stay relevant in this competitive space.

Even with only a fraction of Edwards’ marketing budget, you can adapt these principles to stand out to the people who matter most to you.

Ready to get started?

Here we go!

1. Communicate with Patients Directly

Some medical device manufacturers focus so much on hospital administrators and healthcare professionals that they overlook another crucial audience: the patients themselves.

Edwards Lifesciences takes the opposite approach. From the moment you land on their website, it’s clear that patients play a leading role. An entire section is dedicated to them, featuring frequently asked questions and discussions of the patient experience. Complicated medical procedures are explained in simple language – complete with compelling illustrations. Everything is geared to help empower patients to understand what they need to know in order to make the best decisions for their health.

Another key point: the conversation is two-sided. Edwards doesn’t just lecture patients like a college professor lectures a room full of students. Instead, they actively invite patients to participate in the dialog. Opportunities abound to get in touch and offer feedback.

There’s no denying it: patients are taking advantage of online resources to become increasingly savvy about their health. They’re active partners with their healthcare providers, researching procedures and devices, figuring out whom they can trust.

The Edwards marketing approach embraces this shift. Instead of overlooking patients, it celebrates their participation in the process. By giving them the attention and tools they need to make smart health decisions, Edwards makes them feel valued and builds long-term relationships.

Patients are doing their own research, forming their own opinions. Whether or not a medical device manufacturer acknowledges them will become a key factor in those companies’ successes (or failures) moving forward.

2. Build Communities

We just discussed the power of conversations in building relationships between patients and medical device manufacturers. There’s no substitute for feeling like you’re appreciated and understood – especially in matters as important as your health.

Now, imagine if you could harness these one-on-one connections and multiply them across entire communities?

That’s exactly what Edwards is doing!

One way they build communities is by hosting “patient experience” events. Attendees sign up to visit Edwards’ headquarters in Irvine, where they can tour the manufacturing facility and even meet the employees who designed and crafted their medical devices. Here’s a video highlighting one event:

These experiences are unique because they take relationships that often begin online or in the sterile environment of a hospital room, and make them warm and real. In some cases, patients can build human connections with the very people who made the device that saved their lives. There’s nothing quite like it.

The Edwards events also create opportunities for patients to build their own communities. People can meet others who share their health conditions and offer mutual encouragement and support. This is invaluable because, for many patients, even the most supportive caregiver won’t quite understand their journey in the same way as someone who has experienced it firsthand.

Edwards also partners with dozens of patient programs and support networks. This demonstrates their commitment to lasting relationships. Edwards helps give former patients the tools they need to thrive for years to come. They don’t view medical procedures as “one and done” transactions. Instead, they are just the first step in the journey to better health.

3. Empower Healthcare Professionals

While Edwards devotes plenty of attention to patients and building communities, they don’t neglect the healthcare professionals using their devices.

A key feature of the Edwards online presence is their Edwards Education website. This site, separate from the homepage, offers a robust library of content designed to help professionals better understand not just how to use the medical devices, but the underlying health conditions.

There’s truly something for everyone here. The Edwards Education website contains everything from webinars and videos, to simulations, games, and reference materials. Not only is the content broad; it’s also easily accessible. Edwards makes the information sortable by specific product learning quick links. You can also filter the library’s contents based on your specific role in the healthcare profession.

We don’t have to remind you just how quickly medical device technology is evolving. This opens up a world of possibilities to improve health outcomes. But it also demands continuous on-the-job education from healthcare professionals to keep pace with the latest developments – which can be challenging given their busy schedules.

That’s why an efficient, convenient library of content is essential. And that’s exactly what Edwards delivers. Thanks to the Edwards Education website, healthcare professionals can access this education on their terms. Content is divided into easily digestible chunks. There’s even a mobile app option, which is convenient for professionals who are always on the go.

The end result?

As healthcare professionals improve their understanding of the medical devices and underlying conditions, their confidence grows. This translates into better health outcomes for the people who matter most: patients entrusted to their care.

This type of educational content helps build (and maintain) relationships between healthcare professionals and medical device companies unlike visits from sales reps, which can be sporadic and inconvenient for healthcare pros. Here, the relationship is gradual and ongoing. Each piece of content is another touchpoint.

4. Showcase Charitable Work

Edwards focuses on patients while continuing to serve busy healthcare professionals…

But they do more than that too. They’ve broadened their perspective to consider even greater causes.

Hop on to the Edwards website. It won’t take long for you to see how they’ve featured their missions to promote sustainability and various charitable initiatives. Looking beyond the balance sheets of running their business, they’ve decided to tackle issues that affect everyone.

Some of Edwards’ major initiatives include establishing a STEM scholarship program, as well as a clinic in their office to administer thousands of free COVID-19 vaccines. Probably their most influential activity is their “Every Heartbeat Matters” campaign, which partners with cardiac-focused organizations around the world with the audacious goal of educating, screening, and treating millions of underserved structural heart and critical care patients by the end of 2025.

Many medical device manufacturers are doing great work for causes like these. Unfortunately, it’s easy for that to be lost on patients or healthcare professionals, who probably aren’t even aware of those efforts unless you tell them about it. Showcasing charitable work as a larger part of your marketing strategy could build relationships with potential customers, who have been shown to respond well to cause-based marketing.

Edwards features their charitable initiatives in a tasteful way. You don’t get the sense at all that they’re trying to boast. They’re simply taking the opportunity to show us how they are investing in areas well beyond profits, and furthering the brand’s credo to help heart disease patients around the world.

Your Turn

Every medical device manufacturer dreams of a larger marketing budget…

But an understanding of the key principles that make it work is even more valuable.

With a little creativity, you can adapt some of the strategies Edwards Lifesciences is using to connect with your own healthcare professionals and patients like never before!

 

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