Table of Contents
Personnel working for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are responsible for keeping tabs on diverse product introductions than 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.
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.
What can you expect if you seek employment in this industry?
Pontus Rehn has laid claim to a successful career as a medical device marketing expert for so long, his industry presence has taught him a thing or two about what someone in this field needs to keep in mind if he or she is to thrive rather than falter.
In his opinion, the role of the medical device marketer begins with a solid understanding that no two medical device marketing companies resemble each other (Read more about this here). What does that mean for you? Don’t expect every company engaged in the marketing of medical products to be a clone of another.
Nor should you anticipate encountering the same medical device marketing strategy or medical device marketing tactics from one firm to another. Every medical device marketing consultant and employee must align themselves with the unique medical device marketing business plan conceived by the corporation for whom they work if they hope to succeed in this field.
What is the role of the medical device marketer?
Perhaps the most comprehensive resources for those looking to enter this field are job listings. Not only does a candidate get a good feel for what he or she is expected to do, but this is a quick way to make certain that educational credentials match the company’s search parameters. Some of the tasks one may be expected to perform in pursuit of marketing medical devices are these:
- Execute product launches so product availability and distribution are coordinated
- Work with creatives to develop marketing kits to support product sales objectives
- Collaborate on forecasting and monitoring before and after products hit the market
- Produce or oversee the design and production of sales tools related to products
- Work on presentations for healthcare industry professionals and consumer markets
- Marketers may be asked to commission translated materials for international markets
- Interact with product developers as new concepts evolve from idea to production
- Establish strong relationships with medical professionals and key opinion leaders
- Work with teams responsible for pricing new product introductions—wholesale and retail
- Keep tabs on competitors, especially those developing similar product lines
- Work with managers to explain and expand corporate knowledge and product updates.
What marketing challenges does the medical device industry face?
When an industry operates on the cutting edge of technology, the challenges they face can be daunting. A press release published by MarketWatch in August 2018 notes, “the global medical device market is expected to reach an estimated $409.5 billion by 2013,” growing at a rate of about 4.5-percent.
Given this impressive forecast, challenges anticipated in the near future are vast and not every one of them is positive. The growth of medical device digital marketing is expected to greatly impact the industry and with it, two important contemporary marketing approaches will drive the success or failure of campaigns: medical device website design and medical device seo marketing. Will careerists be equipped to function seamlessly over time or will they require ongoing training so they function at “the cyber level”?
Another avenue of concern looms larger every day: copyright theft, design piracy and a need for cyber security measures that can be so expensive, they drive up the cost of products needed to save and improve lives. It’s a topic resources like HealthcareITNews.com take on because threat assessments continue to rise from abroad. There’s a buzzword to describe this distressing trend: Medjacking.
Healthcare is more than 200 percent more likely to encounter data theft and sees 340-percent more security incidents and attacks than other industries, HealthcareITNews reports.
Among the devices that pirates, hackers and thieves are drawn to most often are pacemakers, insulin pumps, ventilators, infusion pumps, patient monitors and defibrillators. Companies focused on these products must be especially cautious and marketers must collaborate in these efforts.
Methods of theft and compromise most often used by these criminals include placing malware, bots and trojans on the systems of companies innovating new products, hospitals and in some cases, device distributors. At present, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the FDA are all tracking and trapping perpetrators as the online marketing for the medical device industry grows in size and scope.
7 Recent changes in device marketing you should know about
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 become 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 have become so critical to the smooth functioning of the supply chain, some wonder how they functioned without distributors.
- Because minimally invasive surgery is trending, 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!
5 trends to follow to stay abreast of your field
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.
Medical Device Marketing Trend 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.
Medical Device Marketing Trend #2 Prioritize medical device digital marketing trends
Prioritizing 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.
Medical Device Marketing 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.
Medical Device Marketing Trend 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.
Medical Device Marketing Trend 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.