As the healthcare industry changes, medical device marketers scramble to adapt and transform to better respond to the changing needs of their customers. As the industry is shifting to an omnichannel engagement model, companies are forced to think outside the traditional ways of doing business. But despite the undeniable urgency to find new and effective ways of marketing medical devices, most companies do marketing the same way, making it easy for those few with novel ideas to stand out.
According to a recently published article by McKinsey titled Omnichannel engagement in Medtech: The time is now, MedTech companies have not yet reinvented their ways of engaging with their customers and have not yet figured out how they can integrate digital, remote, and in-person channels. 77% of MedTech companies reported channel conflict when attempting to tweak their existing marketing models, demonstrating a significant gap in MedTech marketing.
But why is this? What are the biggest problems in medical device marketing? And what should you do about them?
Treating marketing as a stepchild
Emerging from the restrictions triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most difficult challenges for medical device marketers is their obsolete, disjointed marketing processes and tools, delaying the production and distribution of marketing content. If your company is one of the many without an internal marketing team, you understand how painfully long it can take to produce even a simple marketing brochure. Combine these issues with acquisitions and mergers, resulting in different legacy systems colliding, and you have a less than ideal situation.
Solution: Management teams often do not fully understand the value of marketing, let alone the need to create an internal team dedicated to medical device marketing activities. Either market internally the value such a team could bring to the table or find a reliable medical device marketing agency to partner with in the long term.
Inadequate MedTech industry experience when outsourcing marketing
When MedTech marketers outsource their marketing activities, they often make the mistake of choosing an agency out of the industry. While a proven track record of success and a Rolodex of satisfied clients are a good sign, you want to ask about specialized knowledge and industry expertise. Agencies not solely focused on serving the MedTech space will likely lack the depth of industry knowledge necessary to help you reach your marketing goals.
Solution: Partner with a marketing firm with MedTech industry expertise to align your brand, products, and services with market demand and create a winning MedTech marketing strategy tailored to your company's unique needs. Choose wisely when selecting an outside marketing firm, and ensure you partner with a team of expert MedTech marketers who can tap past knowledge, successes, and insights to help you reach your marketing goals. The agency should also possess the latest SEO, email marketing, social media, product launch, data, analytics, and strategy knowledge for your brand's long-term success.
Inability to stay on top of regulatory guidelines
Many companies fail to realize the extent of regulations governing the marketing of medical devices. Without a complete understanding of the regulatory landscape, device marketers can end up making costly mistakes when developing their marketing plans. Relying on industry consultants not well-versed in medical device regulations can also spell disaster.
Solution: Dodge the bullet by assigning one of your employees the responsibility of staying on top of the ever-evolving regulations affecting your devices. Master evidence-based marketing and the proper use of substantiated claims. Alternatively, hire a marketing firm with specialized industry knowledge and an in-depth understanding of the regulatory landscape to protect your company from violating rules and having to pay fines imposed by regulatory agencies.
Lacking the resources and expertise to pull the trigger on marketing initiatives
A common problem with medical device marketers is that they underestimate how much work goes into creating a successful MedTech marketing campaign. As a result, they often think that once they have developed a creative idea, it will automatically translate into a successful campaign. Unfortunately, this isn't true. Creating a successful campaign takes much more effort than just coming up with a good idea. For instance, whether you rely on your internal marketing team or an outside agency, you may be faced with potential delays in deliverables due to the learning curve needed to take those ideas and turn them into actual campaigns.
Solution: Once again, developing a marketing campaign or launching a new product requires a collaborative effort from a team of marketing experts. To execute your campaign from start to finish, you will need content writers, SEO experts, social media and email marketing experts, and more. Speed up the creative process by hiring people for your internal marketing team with MedTech marketing experience. If you decide to outsource your product launch or marketing campaign for even faster results, partner with a MedTech marketing agency.
Failure to capitalize on data analytics to track campaign performance
Many companies fail to understand the importance of data when developing a medical device marketing plan. Data helps companies make better decisions by providing evidence that supports their ideas. Without data, MedTech marketers cannot prove whether their campaigns were successful or if they had a positive ROI. This makes it almost impossible to determine what changes need to be made to improve future campaigns.
Solution: The only way to understand what's working and what's not in your marketing campaign is by measuring its performance with the help of KPIs. Some of the most important KPIs you should be measuring are marketing qualified leads (MQL), cost of customer acquisition (COCA), website traffic to website lead ratio, and others.
Whether you are a contract manufacturer, a capital equipment manufacturer, or an OEM, you can create the most innovative medical innovation, and still, without effectively communicating its benefits to your ideal customers, your product will be doomed to fail. Let's face it, the old ways of MedTech marketing are over, and companies willing to invest in connecting more meaningfully with their customers and developing innovative marketing campaigns will gain a significant advantage over their competitors in the coming years.