When looking to launch a new medical device, you want to have a clear understanding on best practices for implementing your medical device product launch plan. As you may know in the medical device industry, product launches create a significant amount of profit opportunity for a company. This includes: increases in market share, clientele expansion alongside existing business, and an overall increase in company revenue.
We’ve previously discussed 4 Steps to Achieve a Successful Medical Device Product Launch which outlines the steps to take in order to deal with some of the most common oppositions that medical device companies face when bringing a new product to market including: the planning structure, communication strategy, implementation plan and follow-ups. This article’s primary objective is to revisit the planning and implementation stage to help you understand the follow-up process from the customer support point of view.
Medical Device Product Launch Guide: Planning & Implementation
1. Develop Releastic Timelines, Set Measurable Objectives and Focus on Customer Adoption Pre- and Post Product Launch
With medical devices being required to receive regulatory approval from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) before going to market, it is critical that your product launch team has a good pulse on your premarket submissions. The FDA’s final regulatory approval process is still seen to be very unpredictable, which means that your product launch could be delayed or even be expedited in some cases unexpectedly. Due to this nature, your timelines may be shifted around throughout the entire process, but it is very important to set the foundation so that your product launch team can make any necessary adjustments along the way.
In order to prepare accordingly, ensure solid coordination between all of the top level members of each company discipline. This includes coordination with the technical documentation team, as well as marketing and sales, to ensure that all timelines are clear. This helps streamline the process for developing strategies around brand awareness, market adoption and customer support activities. It’s recommended that your product launch team develop a full comprehensive product launch plan, where all tasks can be prioritized and organized in one central location. This is also where all team communications, including marketing developments, product documentation, timelines, training and budgets should be planned and managed.
2. Develop a marketing strategy, and communication plan that enables all product launch team members to stay informed throughout the entire process.
Within the product launch planning process, you want to make sure that your team has taken the necessary time to create a well, thought-out marketing strategy. Having balanced internal communications within all company disciples is crucial to your product launch's success. You want to make sure that all members are always engaged, clearly informed, and have clear project direction. This means having both effective, and efficient communication on a regular basis.
By focusing on your target audience, and buyer personas, this will ultimately help develop your marketing story, and how you are going to deliver messaging. With the complexity of med devices, it is very important that your team utilizes techniques such as visualization, when attempting to appeal to and attract the end client for your device.
When planning all of your marketing deliverables between all marketing channels your product launch team should consider the following:
- Website Development
- Case Studies & Trial Studies
- Press Releases
- 3D Animations
- Interactive Applications (Apps)
- Email Campaigns
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Explainer Videos
- Social Proof Outlets
- Tradeshows & Events
Whether you have a large or small budget, it’s important that your team is constantly thinking of the variety of ways that you can expand your medical device’s reach to those people within your target audience. When developing your marketing strategy and the collateral that will support it; your product launch team should focus on the value propositions that are aimed at your specific target market(s). This will look differently depending on who you are trying to target.
For instance, if your target market is within the Business-to-business (B2B), companies on the equipment manufacturing or contract manufacturing side of things will prioritize what is going to increase efficiency, cut costs and add additional company capabilities. In contrast, if your target audience is composed of consumers, your product launch team wants to focus on how your device will affect and enhance their quality of life. Additionally, doctors and clinicians may also prioritize how your device will increase efficiency, improve their MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) and daily work activities.
3. Set realistic and measurable goals to guide the launch while developing fundamental customer documentation.
Creating and monitoring measurable goals to guide your team throughout your product launch plan is important to ensure the appropriate level of progress is being made, and tasks are being completed in a timely manner. All company disciplines from engineering, manufacturing, technical documentation, quality and regulatory to marketing, sales, distribution partners and customer support need to have a clear understanding of all goals. With this in mind, this will allow all team members to collaborate effectively within each department and prioritize the necessary tasks at hand.
With your entire medical device product launch team in sync, this will help streamline the process when you need to evaluate the product’s performance and ensure that everything is in compliance with all the FDA’s market requirements. When all documentation is analyzed and confirmed, it should then be located in a central accessible location. When implementing your launch plan make sure to test the market, to gain insights on initial results and feedback so that the product launch team has the ability to make any necessary modifications to the overall launch plan.
4. Understand your competition and training plan for sales personnel, distributors, field service technicians, installers and customer service staff.
Based on the fact that you are launching a medical device product, we would assume that your product launch team would have a pretty good idea of who your competition is. Nonetheless it is still important for your team to allocate a significant amount of time evaluating the device’s current market environment while analyzing both direct and indirect competitors. This will enable your team to find a variety of different opportunities and gaps that provide market advantages to help increase your device's speed to market and customer adoption rate.
Ensuring that all necessary staff in each company discipline is properly equipped and prepared to assist potential customers in all communication channels is extremely pivotal for your product launch to be a success. When preparing your staff members make sure that the appropriate technical documentation is readily available such as training and service manuals, sales and troubleshooting guides, along with quick accessible reference guides when needed in an instant.
5. Follow up with distribution networks, celebrate and continue to create dynamic content
It is important to continually touch base with your distributors and third party dealers. Make sure that each organization has been informed on every key element, and has access to training programs to continue to educate themselves on your company’s new product. Once all internal staff and third parties have been successfully trained and your company has checked all tasks of the board we would encourage that you hold an internal event dedicated to your product launch to both celebrate your company’s hard work, and to help build enthusiasm around the launch itself.
Now that your company is ready to introduce your medical device product to the world it is important that you have dynamic, compelling and overall eye-catching content to complement your product launch team’s hard work. This is where the fun starts and everything begins to come to life.
With the power of visualization and medical device marketing your team is enabled to create beautiful 3D animation videos of your device in action with all of the precise details that can be used to drive customer adoption. Your team has the ability to create 3D images to repurpose for your website development, social media management and sales collateral. Our team can help drive the creativity that will tell your story and bring what was once an idea- to reality with the sizzle that you need to obtain the most for your company's investment.
6. Verify your aftermarket framework and that spare parts are readily available for purchase.
Now that your product is available within the market it is critical that the appropriate service personnel are properly trained, available and ready to install and maintain your company’s new product with available spare parts. Without having this infrastructure in place, this can dramatically impact your sales cycle and determine the success that your device will have long term. All customer interactions should be properly maintained and documented from incoming calls coming to the help desk for support, and inquiries coming from other communication channels. Documenting all customer interactions, especially in the initial launch phase is important because it allows your company to refine internal processes and create additional support collateral such as, Frequently asked question (FAQ) documents for easy reference and accessibility for sales personnel and customers.
7. Track results & update customers with product updates when necessary
With all of your systems in place it is extremely important to track your results and measure the effectiveness of all of your communication channels when evaluating your initial goals and objectives. There are many different CRM systems, and data analytics tools that are readily available to use to enable your team to do this effectively. Whether you have a larger budget or a smaller one, there are both enterprise platforms and free platforms that our team could integrate for you.
It’s important to utilize your digital assets to track and continually monitor results, while also utilizing your field team’s feedback in unison. Do not forget that they are the ones in the heat of things, with your target audience and will be able to offer the most organic feedback available. Gathering their feedback and implementing strategies to help improve their sales process is always a great objective to have annually.
As time goes on the amount of feedback that you receive will evolve along with your device. So do not forget to update your customers with any changes that take place regarding your device and ensure that all electronic customer documentation is continuously updated, monitored and managed in compliance with the FDA’s Title CFR Part 11.
Technical & Creative Services add value to Your Product Launch
When it comes to product launches there are many key details and critical elements that are necessary to have a successful product introduction to market. These steps and tips should assist in helping you set your foundation and understanding how to push forward.
If your product launch team needs assistance with creating any marketing collateral from initial websites, 3D animations, sales collateral or any other creative or technical services related to your product launch you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or you can inquire about a new project here. The Icovy Marketing team is dedicated to your success in the medical device industry and we are passionate about bringing your device to market with quality medical device marketing.