With the recent pandemic and increased digital era, many hospitals and health systems have adopted digital technologies for certain functional areas. Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems for patient data and innovative imaging with AI capabilities are in hospitals, but the way hospitals do business has remained the same for decades. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and significantly altered the healthcare system and its consumers. Hospitals and healthcare systems began to embrace a digital mindset and create a digital culture, accelerating virtual healthcare, digital communications, and innovative care models that help transform healthcare and provide a better patient experience.
MedTech companies have taken notice of healthcare’s focus on digital platforms and the preference for using digital communication and care within the healthcare industry. In turn, MedTech companies have adjusted their product launch and sales activities to meet the customers where they are spending most of their time, online!
MedTech companies astutely realized this new normal of digital marketing bolstered by the pandemic was a powerful tool to reach customers. With more restricted access to hospitals, meant sales consultants could not rely on traditional marketing tactics or meet with healthcare providers forcing a sudden pivot in strategy and salesforce. Without the clearance to meet with physicians to demonstrate a new device, build contacts, or run an evaluation on a new product, MedTech companies needed a new model of sales to reach the providers within the hospital systems or Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs). Although the disruptions caused by the pandemic meant MedTech companies and the like had to alter their marketing efforts to digital, it also allowed medical device companies time to hone their digital marketing skills. Now, health tech teams are skilled in creating and executing marketing campaigns via email, social media, webinars, podcasts, and targeted paid advertising, among other channels. Many have focused efforts on content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) and embraced omnichannel marketing to create powerful and personalized engagements.
In fact, in the last five years, many MedTech companies have shifted their marketing budget to digital marketing, reports McKinsey. "Patients are receptive to new ways of engaging with their healthcare providers; telehealth services, for example, have increased by 38x since pre-pandemic levels." Healthcare providers are also more receptive and reliant on digital communications. And now more than ever, the expectations for timely and targeted information are at an all-time high, so building quality content can help establish your brand and products as a trusted partner.
When launching a new medical device, it is essential to incorporate omnichannel engagement, digital marketing, and data-driven analytics to customize content and delivery. These will help improve the quality of each engagement, improve your return on investment, and provide a successful launch of your new product. Consider the below statistics to support a digital marketing strategy for product launch.
Many people understand the importance of having a digital marketing strategy to launch a new MedTech product. However, where do you start? Consider the 6 following steps to help craft your digital product launch strategy:
1. Identify your target audience + create value propositions for each stakeholder
- Physicians and providers
- Hospital administrators - C-suite executives
- Value Analysis Committee (VAC)
- Key departments + end-users
What publications does your persona type read for industry updates? What social platforms does your persona engage with most frequently?
2. Understand the specific pain points + provide clarity on top initiatives
- Reduce costs
- Improve patient care and outcomes
- Infection control
- Quality metrics
- Improve workflow
3. Create evidence-based content and informative resources
Initiatives for each stakeholder may vary and therefore your message and content type will reflect your specific target persona.
- Physicians/Providers – Outcomes, Workflow, Evidence Based Results, Innovative Technology, Etc.
- C-Suite – Cost, Savings, Data Security, Improve Patient Experience, Etc,
- Sales Consultants/Distributors – make sure the internal team has what they need to sell on the CRM or during direct sales and trade shows
- Technical brochures and clinically based resources
- White Papers
- Solutions to combating top objections (testimonials, case studies, etc)
4- Determine what channels to market your product launch
- Trade show sponsorship
- Online professional journals
- Industry organizations and groups
- LinkedIn Ads
- Google Ads
Identify cadence of digital marketing campaigns around major events of your company and the industry of specialty. Such as annual meetings, trades show, professional forums or investor events.
5. Execute: Document your marketing road map, repurpose and differentiate
- Develop a strategic roadmap complete with a timeline, marketing initiatives aligned with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) broken down by quarter
- Create an editorial calendar and track and report on campaign results
- Create a trade show strategy
- Leverage your network, call on KOL’s or Clinical Champions to voice their endorsements (capture it in a corporate position video or on a podcast)
The goal should NOT be to create heaps of content! The objective is to create QUALITY content that resonates with your audience and captures your devices impact and on solving a problem. Lean into the storytelling aspect of marketing backed by clinical data. Repurpose white papers to utilize as lead magnets on social media or as sales collateral for your sales team to speak to your device's efficacy. Take snippets from an article and recycle it ti use in a a podcast, add value to a blog, or be the foundation of an infographic.
6. Make data-informed decisions, measure KPIs and analytics monthly
Measure your marketing efforts from the inception of your campaign by tracking data that measures specific KPI metrics across channels. Some examples of common KPI's are:
Keep in mind that your product launch’s digital strategy is not a one-and-done project. It is a continuous process of refining your message, keeping the cadence of marketing activities, and building on your success. The more you test your message and content, the more success you will earn. “Fail forward, fail fast, fail better” is a quote from Erik Qualman’s book, Digital Leader; 5 Simple Keys to Success and Influence. Harness the power and reach that digital marketing offers to create your robust product launch strategy.
If you are seeking a partner to market your medical device and devise a product launch strategy check out our new ebook, available on our website.
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