4 Questions to Ask Before Bringing a Medical Device to Market
Marketing medical devices isn’t as straightforward as you might think.
We see it time and time again working with clients in the process of bringing a medical device to market —
Every detail of the FDA compliance is handled with great care. Hurdles are cleared, changes are made, claims are revised. Production is outlined and designed, partners are researched and vetted, and supply chains are built.
Sadly, when it comes to managing how the product will be introduced to the market and cross over from inception to maximum ongoing profitability (i.e. actually getting the device into the hands of influencers and users), things grind to a halt.
The conception and development of medical devices requires an analytical approach; so does a good marketing strategy.
A research-based, holistic approach to your product launch provides you with a solid plan while serving as an insurance policy for your investment.
Your answers to the following questions should lay the foundation for your marketing plan as you’re bringing a medical device to market:
1. What are your goals?
Every strategy must be founded on clearly defined SMART goals — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. These are not just sales goals.
Try to adopt a big-picture view of what you want to accomplish, and create goals around operations, human resources, technologies, production, sales, and other key areas of the business. Cross-referencing your goals will reveal shortcuts and contradictions that can really support (or hinder) progress. Macleod & Co. offers a comprehensive goal-setting workbook to guide you through this process.
2. Have you done your research?
With everything you’ve done to develop your product, you’ve probably researched your concept from the inside out. But what about other players in your market? Trends? Market size? Changes in health care and regulations? And what about the purchase process?
Have you identified the influencers in your market? What are the pain points that your device alleviates? How is it better than or different from existing solutions?
Once you have your goals established, it’s easy to define a research scope and task someone in your organization with finding the answers.
3. What’s your strategy?
A great definition of strategy is “a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty.”
Often confused with tactics, which are the activities undertaken as part of the high level plan, your strategy is the reason behind everything you do. It provides you with a framework for success by acting as your compass while allowing you to adapt your tactics intelligently.
Start simply with Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning. Using the research you’ve already done, divide the market into distinct segments, decide which of them can help you reach your goals, and, finally, establish the story arc (messaging) around your medical device to motivate them to action — which brings us to the next question:
4. What’s your brand story?
Facts don’t resonate with people the way stories do. Your brand is the story that will make you memorable (and successful). Brands are more than logos; they are the embodiment of your values and the narrative around your solution.
Whether you’re dealing with investors, customers, partners, or your cousin Joe, your brand is the first and last thing your prospects experience. Your brand is the promise you make. Remember: no one cares about your product like you do. You need to earn your prospect’s attention — the best way to do that is by establishing an emotional connection with them.
When you invest time and energy in developing a sound strategy, you accelerate your ROI and ensure success:
- You have SMART goals to tell you where you’re going and when you’ve gotten there
- You have a clear understanding of the market, including opportunities and threats
- You are grounded in data and as a result can learn (and adapt) quickly
- You have benchmarks to measure progress
- You have the means to connect with your prospects
Bringing a medical device to market is an expensive endeavor with a great deal riding on it. Strategy is your insurance policy.
Interested in strategic planning tools and resources? Check out Ignition ™ from Macleod & Co. for an overview of the strategic marketing process and free downloadable samples and workbooks to help you get started.
About the Author: Tanya Korpi Macleod is the founder of Minneapolis-based Macleod & Co. After more than 25 years of marketing and advertising experience in the U.S. and Europe, Tanya noticed that chasm that often exists between an organization’s theoretical marketing “plan” and its realistic ability to execute it. This led her to pioneer in the concept of “holistic marketing,” which redefines marketing as the complete process of bringing a product, service or company from inception to maximum ongoing profitability. Her mission is to show organizational leaders that a holistic mindset not only promotes a healthier culture, but a more profitable business.