We’ve been talking about gathering customer feedback on a regular basis here at Health Connective. It’s a guiding light that will guide your marketing efforts considerably.
But we don’t always have to rely on surveys to get some overarching ideas about what customers are looking for. After all, we’re not the only ones interested in this feedback. I’ve sourced information from three different folks with a strong background in medtech sales (two via email / messaging and one via a LinkedIn post) to help us get into the mindset of our customers.
Jim Chessie, a consultant to medtech companies looking to break into the U.S. market, did a great job of summarizing what to anticipate when understanding customers’ needs.
“With regard to commercialization, one size does not fit all. If you have ten goals or targets, you need ten different strategies. Some accounts are hyper focused on price or product efficacy or ease of use. You just don’t know until you try, but you need to be prepared for everything.”
Let’s break that down into four key aspects marketers should highlight when promoting new medical devices, according to their customer needs.
Your device or system has to not only work, but it also has to outperform the current standard.
In a recent post on LinkedIn, Rick Gerhart, a sales and marketing consultant in the orthopedic space defined “outperforming” as a device having “superior clinical results to a similar product used for the same indication” and “decreas[ing] complications from the procedure for which it exists.”
I labeled this section as “money” instead of “cost” because cost includes more than just the amount of money that goes into a device or system. Let’s focus on the money component first.
Of course, people care about how much a new device costs, but it’s more than that.
In the same recent post, Gerhart mentioned that a device needs to be able to “decrease the cost of the episode of care for the procedure for which it exists.”
Ideally, a device would cost less than comparable devices at the initial purchase, and its efficiency would pass along cost savings to patients and/or insurance providers.
Alyssa Huffman, the CEO and founder of orthopedic and spine hardware company Allumin8, noted that hospitals will want to run any potential new devices or systems through their own value analysis. They will be considering, “Does your product solve a relevant problem for the hospital, or is it considered an ancillary?”
Ancillary problems get less attention and less money.
3. Effort & Time
Beyond the dollars and cents, what else will a hospital have to invest in order to be able to effectively use your company’s product?
Huffman asks, “How much modification of the customer’s current practice is needed to incorporate your product? Will the entire staff need to be trained?”
Any new system will be sure to cost at least some disruption for a customer. The more significant the change, the higher the barrier will be.
Health systems will have to truly believe a product is “worth it” if they will have to majorly update their workflow.
For example, if a rep is required for every application of the device, this includes a new scheduling hurdle to overcome (or at least an adjustment to the scheduling process they’ve used with a competitor).
4. Market Standing
Hospitals have not had a great financial run in the past few years. That’s no secret. Covid upended traditional business models for health systems, and they’ve been playing catchup ever since.
Gerhart points out that standout devices today have to “increase the hospital’s market share because of [their] nature.”
Is there a “wow” factor to your device that patients will gravitate towards? Can you help health systems stand out because they will be the first in the area to perform a specific type of procedure or will have the latest and greatest technology?
If so, be sure to promote the point heavily.
Does Your Marketing Address These Concerns?
You can’t make every point in this list the focus of your next ad. That headline would go on and on.
You can look for ways to weave in this messaging through your ads, your website, your sales materials, and your trade show booth.
A quick glance at conference floors and ads reveal how glamorous devices and technology can look given the right budget and level of creativity. Still, the job doesn’t end at just getting someone to look at the product.
Consumers are doing more work than ever to do their own research, but they don’t have infinite patience. If critical messaging isn’t readily available in the format consumers choose, they simply move on to whomever does have the info ready.
Your sales people can’t fix that.
In order for your team to have a chance, you need to equip the consumer as thoroughly as possible–in every channel.
Creating a standout experience isn’t all on marketing, of course. Your products actually have to live up to the hype. They need to be differentiated from the start.
Once that differentiation exists, then marketing needs to make sure customers know.
- Quick Wins Versus Trust-Building – When it’s time to get to work on trust-building, including making resources readily available for your customers in the format of their choice, this article will help with framing up your efforts and provide intriguing examples.
Michael spends a great deal of time with the healthcare industry both professionally and personally, which gives him the perspective of what stakeholders on either side of the care equation need.
He began coding in 2008 and subsequently shifted his attention entirely to online marketing. Michael completed his MBA in 2018, focusing on the intersection of healthcare and marketing.