Medical device marketing isn’t easy. How’s that for the understatement of the century? One of the core complexities surrounding digital marketing for medical devices is attempting to answer one important question: Who are we speaking to?
It isn’t uncommon for a product or a service to have multiple avatars. However, rarely have I seen an industry that has to contend with so many avatars that are so different in construct, interest, and temperament.
While the type and number of avatars will vary with each device, we have defined six core avatars that most medical device companies need to speak to in some way. Those six avatars are:
- Policy makers
Patients have far more influence on medical practice than ever before. The information age has catalyzed an educated consumer base with the inclination and resources to understand more about healthcare processes.
Additionally, the increased competitive nature of the healthcare market has given patients a stronger voice and enabled patient-driven decisions and processes.
The visibility of certain devices within the process can vary; this means some medical devices may need to focus more on patient education than others. While patients may not be the primary decision point, they still need to be considered and spoken to as a potential decision driver.
Sometimes the need to speak to a patient is compounded by a provider’s need to justify their choice in device. In many cases, we can assist the provider in articulating the value proposition of our device. This is a value-add for providers and something they can rely on to ease their processes.
The caveat to speaking directly to patients is ensuring that the content meets all necessary compliance requirements. The same content that is deemed perfectly acceptable for a provider could be seen as misleading when directed towards a patient.
Because of this, it is exceptionally important to be clear and direct with content geared towards patients.
The balancing act in making content that may be patient-facing is ensuring it is simple enough for a non-medical audience without being simplistic in its presentation. The term we use internally to describe this type of prospect is educated but sheltered.
It is acceptable to assume your patient has the ability to understand certain core concepts about your device. Things like value proposition and competitive comparisons can be understood without a medical background, just as long as you’re willing to explain those concepts from the ground up.
Even if you have no intention of speaking directly to patients, realize that your content may ultimately end up being patient facing. This means that it is important to canvas the content and narrative in a way that allows for a clear and compliant approach to public-facing content.
From a content perspective, providers tend to be the target of the vast majority of “value proposition”-geared assets. In most cases, providers are reviewing the medical device landscape in an effort to identify the best solution for their specific needs and implementation.
Oftentimes, content is also used to help inform a provider who is doing follow up after having been engaged by a salesperson.
Provider-facing content is absolutely essential to the medical device sales cycle. The ability to engage and nurture providers over time is the key to successfully converting them into users and even advocates.
Quality content places medical devices sales people and manufacturers in a position to be a thought leader in the space.
Providers have limited time and like to engage with new concepts at their own pace and, where possible, on their own time. Web-hosted content is the key to ensuring your availability always matches up with that of your provider prospect.
While payers may not be a direct target for medical device marketing, it is exceptionally important to canvas content in a way that ensures your device is properly articulated.
The payer engagement with the vast majority of medical device manufacturers hovers around the classification of the device, the use case, and how the device can or will be billed for or against.
Making sure to service this avatar and doing so in a way that helps to streamline the process will ensure that your medical device has an easier path to adoption. If a device is subject to payer review, you’ll often find yourself at the mercy of a payer timeline when attempting to convert a new provider lead into a customer.
“Partners” refers to a broad array of people. These can be development partners, marketing partners, or sales and affiliate partners.
It is important to service partners with all the content, collateral, and media necessary to help keep the partner relationship strong and long lasting. Partner content is often gated and tends to be sensitive in nature, depending upon the type of partnership.
Consider creating a secure portal through which you can engage with partners. This allows you the flexibility of connecting online with partners-at-large, while still protecting sensitive information from public view.
Compliance is easily the single biggest concern in medical device content marketing. Make sure to always consider a policy maker’s point of view when drafting, repurposing, and placing content.
The interpretation of content can be subjective so it’s important to empathize with a potential policy maker by working to understand their specific pain points.
Policy makers are especially sensitive to “off label” claims and assertions. Make sure your language is clear, direct, and completely free of ambiguities. It’s also important to be very clear as to who a particular piece of content is meant for in order to assist policy makers in understanding the contextual implication of marketing content.
Administrators engage with content from a business perspective. Device specifications, costs, delivery times, availability, and other technical considerations tend to be the vast majority of an administrator’s concern.
Make every effort to help serve an administrator’s needs by ensuring this information is available, easy to understand, and easy to filter according to specific needs. Administrators can oftentimes be the gatekeepers to a successful implementation and should be viewed as an important strategic partner.
As a premier digital marketing agency, Solutions 8 continues to dedicate considerable time and resources to the understanding and practice of smart, effective medical device marketing that unfailingly remains well within the FDA’s regulatory framework.
If you have questions about anything we’ve discussed here, or about our approach to medical device marketing in general, please don’t hesitate to reach out any time.