Personnel working for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are responsible for keeping tabs on diverse product introductions then run the gamut from vitamin supplements to medical devices. That doesn’t mean that the agency gives short shrift to marketers eager to find their place in the medical device marketing scheme of things. This niche is the very definition of progress as it impacts the world’s medical community.
In fact, U.S. medical devices are subject to so many regulations under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; just keeping tabs on them can require a full-time medical device marketing expert on staff to keep up with existing and new laws–especially those related to marketing radiation-emitting devices. With new types of devices coming out that are taking advantage of the connected healthcare landscape, the FDA will have its hands full trying to keep up with and regulate the new devices.
The FDA strongly recommends that manufacturers of medical devices acquire a clear understanding of all aspects of this industry, so marketers don’t think that all they need do to introduce and promote their products is to put them out there and hope the technology alone sells the medical device. Inter-industry communication has become essential due to rapid growth and complexity, which is why this guide was written.
There are 3 classes of medical devices:
Class I devices are low-risk devices, such as bandages, handheld surgical instruments, and nonelectric wheelchairs.
Class II devices are intermediate-risk devices, such as computed tomography (CT) scanners or infusion pumps for intravenous medications.
Class III devices are high-risk devices that are very important to the health or sustaining life, such as pacemakers and deep-brain stimulators.
Recent Changes In Medical Device Marketing
Journalist Heather Thompson tracked the evolution of the medical device industry to understand recent business practice changes. In her opinion, seven factors are currently impacting this industry. These are her encapsulated findings:
- Major consolidation has become a driver of advances as acquisitions, mergers, and takeovers form conglomerates that put an end to some brands that didn’t stand the test of time, technology, or competition.
- The entrance of new medical manufacturers established by launching a single innovation that becomes dominant domestically, and in some cases, worldwide.
- The link established between manufacturers and end-users received a boost with the advent of product distributors. Middleman has become so critical to the smooth functioning of the supply chain; some wonder how they functioned without distributors.
- Because minimally invasive surgery is trending, the tools needed for these procedures are revolutionizing the industry’s product mix. Writes Thompson, “The global market for minimally invasive medical technology will be worth $50 billion by the end of this decade.”
- “Contract manufacturing sophistication” is driving the medical device market forward. In the not-too-distant past, medical device makers were told what products to produce and how to make them. That has been turned on its ear as medical device marketing solutions and idea generation are being driven by manufacturers themselves.
- Private equity is changing the face of device marketing. This shift is not very old, yet it is deeply impactful as private equity investors get involved in underwriting startups. As an offshoot, competition is tightening, and not every company will survive.
- OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) have changed the way professionals market medical devices. OEMs are reducing manufacturing footprints and opening the industry to more cooperation between technical and production partnerships. OEM is here to stay!
- Bluetooth and connected medical devices are starting to gain popularity and become approved.
5 Medical Device Marketing Trends To Follow
We turned to HealthcareSuccess.com for predictions, not all of which are included in the list below. Each of the following trends represents a step you can take to drive your company’s device sales-forward and become a marketing and thought leader within the medical device industry.
Trend #1: Provide the best medical device marketing service on the planet
Given the proliferation of competitive medical devices entering the market, prioritizing customer service could mean the difference between a company that thrives and one that struggles. Your medical device marketing service must be impeccable, efficient, and comprehensive if your devices are to stand out from the crowd. Medical device website design innovations can push your online presence to new heights.
Trend #2 Prioritize medical device digital marketing trends
Prioritizing the mobile interface via your marketing plan should not be the beginning and end of your efforts. Business owners and consumers want answers now, but if your medical device digital marketing efforts stop and start with mobile exchanges, your products and company can suffer. Further, make sure your medical device website design is so easy to navigate, even a child could do it.
Trend #3 Manage your website’s user experience creatively
Nobody has to tell you that “user experience” has the capability of making or breaking the way your medical device website is perceived. You can employ every medical device marketing strategy in the book. You can employ all of the latest medical device marketing tactics, too. But if your customers are dissatisfied with their user experience on your company site, you risk kissing some of them goodbye.
Trend #4 Prioritize medical device SEO marketing efforts
Provide medical device marketing solutions to satisfy and delight your audience, making sure review pages are packed with endorsements and favorable comments. Prioritize “near-instant” response methods, fast-loading site pages, and when possible, personalize marketing messages. Pepper copy with medical device SEO marketing messages and anticipate platform changes. One day Instagram stories resonate. Then, it’s all about Twitter. Stay tuned for new entries in this fickle medium.
Trend #5 Practice the art of marketing tool consolidation
Having put into place every medical device marketing strategy at your disposal and using emerging medical device marketing tactics too, consolidate your efforts to save time and money. Use social media to drive your efforts, especially if marketing budgets are trimmed to accommodate budgets that are diverted to R&D. Add live and streaming video to your bag of tricks because it has a 95-percent retention rate in audience minds.
Are these trends all you need worry about as you advance up the medical device marketing corporate ladder? Hardly. But if you are dedicated and curious, industry literature will consolidate and synthesize cutting-edge advancements, so you’re always in the loop. Start with this treasure trove of resources and subscribe to/follow the relevant ones. You’ll be glad you did.