In 2021, the global medical device market was estimated at $488.98 billion and expected to grow to over $700 billion by 2029. Due to the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, industry experts project a steady rise in demand for medical devices over the next few years. But despite the overwhelmingly positive market projection, marketing medical devices is becoming ever more complicated, leaving medical device marketers to scramble to identify effective marketing strategies to compete in the heavily regulated MedTech market.
In today's competitive health tech marketplace, it's critical for medical device companies to understand how to communicate the value of their products to gain traction. Medical device companies employ two key clinical marketing strategies: key opinion leader (KOL) strategies and evidence-based marketing (EBM) strategies. This article will discuss the most effective evidence-based principles MedTech marketers should not overlook.
The Unique Challenges Of Medical Device Marketing
While marketers in all industries encounter obstacles when bringing their products to market, medical device marketers face multiple unique, industry-specific challenges. This uniqueness stems primarily from three factors:
- the industry is heavily regulated
- the purchasing decision is based on various factors (i.e., safety, efficacy, efficiency)
- effective marketing requires a combination of medical, scientific, and business knowledge
Unlike most newly released products, innovative medical devices require specific, focused marketing strategies built on evidence-based principles.
Doctors Practice Evidence-Based Medicine, Here Is Why
Doctors and surgeons rely on scientific evidence when making clinical or treatment decisions. They use evidence-based medicine - a method of clinical practice based on the best available scientific evidence, which is not a new concept.
Here is what evidence-based medicine looks like in practical terms. An orthopedic surgeon will not perform surgery without first gathering evidence to verify the need for such intervention. Before suggesting an operation, he would likely start by ordering a radiograph or MRI to determine whether surgical intervention is the most appropriate treatment for the health problem.
Using the same logic, shouldn't evidence play a role in their medical equipment or med device purchasing decisions? Of course, it does. Using evidence makes perfect sense because it's likely to appeal to your buyers in the medical setting, adding credibility to your claims. Once you understand how doctors and surgeons make clinical decisions, it is not hard to see why successful medical device marketers embrace proven, evidence-based marketing strategies to increase the adoption of their devices by the medical community.
What Is Evidence-Based Marketing And How To Use It To Increase Your ROI?
Evidence-based marketing (EBM) has become a "buzzword" in MedTech marketing. So much so that it is now a vital strategy for survival in this hyper-competitive industry. So what is evidence-based marketing? It is a collection of marketing strategies that use thorough, well-designed research studies and empirical evidence to optimize purchasing decisions. In other words, it is a kind of marketing that relies heavily on research, studies, and data.
In the medical device industry, EBM mainly focuses on a device's efficacy and effectiveness, which weigh heavily in surgeons' decision-making when choosing between two competing devices.
So how can you use EBM to increase ROI on your marketing campaigns? For instance, you can showcase your product's clinical efficacy by referencing evidence in your marketing messages that your medical device is beneficial when used in a research setting. You can also rely on data to demonstrate your device's clinical effectiveness. For example, if a study proves your device has met specific endpoints when used in a typical clinical setting, you can incorporate that claim into your marketing messaging.
Other ways to infuse evidence into your marketing campaigns are by presenting case studies, surveys, and research results, creating fact-based infographics, and writing white papers.
Thankfully, EBM can be used in various marketing scenarios to optimize product introduction, adoption, life cycle management, and business development of medical device innovations.
Evidence-Based Principles To Include In Your Medical Device Marketing Strategy
These three elements form the foundation of a successful evidence-based marketing strategy:
1.) understanding your customers
2.) creating a compelling value proposition
3.) measuring results
Understand Your Customers
Medical device buyers are generally doctors, surgeons, hospitals, scientists, and other healthcare professionals. You are dealing with an intelligent, clinically minded, well-educated, and analytical target audience. The fact that clinical evidence plays a crucial role in how medical professionals make treatment decisions makes them likely to respond favorably to quantifiable reasons - such as studies and data - to choose your device over your competitor's.
Successful medical device marketers recognize that the effectiveness of a given marketing strategy will depend largely on their ability as marketers to get inside the minds of their target customers. They understand that while their devices' end-user - the patient - might not care about a complex case study, they still need to appease the doctors who make the ultimate buying decisions. That's where evidence-based marketing comes into play.
Create A Compelling Value Proposition
Doctors and surgeons are well-known to be some of the busiest professionals in the world. Providing patient care is only one part of busy doctors' daily schedules. Doctors are under tremendous pressure to do more with fewer resources, improve patient outcomes, make complicated clinical decisions, weigh policies and costs, and stay on top of continuing education requirements. Grabbing doctors' attention is becoming increasingly difficult, and that does not even consider all the other medical device marketers competing for their time and attention.
To break through all the noise and ensure your message stands out, follow these guiding principles when creating your value proposition:
- create a concise statement that encapsulates your unique value proposition
- be sure to outline your device's specific benefits supported by evidence
- include a powerful call to action and a compelling reason to buy from you
- deliver your value proposition early and consistently.
Remember, due to their training and the practice of evidence-based medicine, doctors always look for a fair balance between risks and benefits when assessing various treatment options. The same thing likely applies when evaluating different medical devices. Don't leave your audience wondering what the potential side effects of using your device may be. Your communication should provide a complete picture of what your device can and cannot do - according to available scientific evidence.
Use Evidence-Based Principles To Measure Results Of Your Marketing Campaigns
MedTech companies often fail to measure the effectiveness of their successfully executed marketing campaigns. It is a real shame, as ROI can be measured in various ways. Work with management to develop indicators of success and ways to reach those goals. Common benchmarks include sales numbers, devices deployed, net income, rate of adoption, and market penetration.
Then, evaluate and revise your marketing strategies as needed. This step is crucial when taking an evidence-based approach to proving ROI on your medical device marketing investments.
The marketing of medical devices often requires the implementation of a multifaceted marketing approach. Evidence-based marketing is one proven strategy that uses clinical studies, statistics, research, trends, industry practices, and customer interviews to prove your device's efficacy and effectiveness. Keep in mind, however, that putting statistics or interviews into a commercial is not enough to build an effective evidence-based marketing campaign. Instead, create a blueprint for your strategy, set realistic goals, and have a plan to objectively measure your ROI.
Do you need support developing an evidence-based marketing strategy for your medical device? Schedule a Free Discovery Call with one of our marketing strategists!
Sources used for this article include: