When developing a new medtech product, it’s tempting to try to go as broad as possible with the features you include. The more you add on, the more potential users for your device, right?
When you try to appeal to every possible need that any potential user might have in a single product, you will often find that you don’t serve anyone’s core needs particularly well.
Think about it this way: As a marketer, if you needed to target diverse groups of people, would you run a single broadly-targeted campaign? Or, would you create multiple campaigns targeted to each user group, with separate creative that spoke to the needs of each of those groups individually?
The product development process is a similar approach. Instead of creating one product with an expansive set of features that attempt to appeal to everyone, really focusing on each key user group will likely yield better results.
In Episode 3 of The Health Connective Show, we talked about this issue with Jose Bohorquez, Mohammed Foustok, and Andres Echeverry of Bold Type. They shared their advice on how to hone in on customer needs and plan for the features they need while developing your product.
Identifying the Primary Needs of Your Customers
It’s easy to get bogged down in all of the things that your product could do. But what do your key customer groups need the most? What features make their lives easier? What would improve their current processes? This is where your focus should be.
Andres Echeverry summed up the issue nicely when it came to resisting the urge to include too many features:
Surrendering possibilities is one of the hardest things in product development because everybody wants the best product possible, the widest scope possible that reaches as many different markets as possible.
When you try to fit too many features into the first iteration of a project as you go along, what ends up happening is scope creep and a project that takes longer to complete than initially anticipated.
For example, we recently worked with a client who asked for a prototype of a dashboard that would show post-procedural work in aggregate. The intent was for physicians to be able to understand the results that their teams had generated by using the medical device. However, after reviewing the dashboard with an advisory board comprised of key user groups for the device, the client found that what they actually needed was to create separate interfaces for each customer type, rather than a single dashboard that held all of the data.
This is why it is so important to consider your key user groups from the beginning, and get feedback on planned features as soon as possible. When you don’t hone in on your customers’ wants and needs from the start, you can end up having to go back and make a lot of changes to your plans. And when you try to create a single product that appeals to everyone, you might not end up serving anyone’s needs particularly well.
Plan for Future Iterations to Create Tailored Experiences
Once you have an initial version of the product launched, you can then continue to work with advisory groups to add new features in future versions.
As we mentioned before, you’ll often find that your product will have different use cases. Physicians using the device want to see a certain set of data, while hospital admins want to see something else.
Lumping all of those features into a single experience can make your dashboard clunky and overwhelming for everyone to use. And as a product marketer, that makes your customer story a lot more difficult to tell.
When you create separate experiences for each user group, you can more easily tailor your content, marketing materials, etc. to each one. You can also continue to add on new dashboards or views over time as you discover new use cases.
Finding the Best Trade-offs
In the various examples we’re discussing here, we are looking at making the best decisions possible within the constraints presented.
Sometimes, the simplest is best. Other times, there may be legitimate reasons to go with a more complicated approach.
In our discussion with the Bold Type team, Jose Bohorquez mentioned that device manufacturers might sometimes forget they need to account for caregivers from a usability perspective (meaning, doing everything possible to prevent caregivers from hurting themselves or loved ones by using the device incorrectly). You can’t always create separate devices for each user.
The goal would be to make sure all your user types are included from the outset, but no one and no company is perfect. These kinds of issues will happen.
Adjusting hardware or software along the way requires a lot of creativity to have the device still fulfill its intended purpose while making accommodations.
In any case, there are basic principles to keep at the forefront:
- Know exactly what problem your product is solving
- Design with simplicity in mind (narrow your feature list)
- Keep the audience(s) in mind
- Get regular, ongoing feedback from your audience
After your product has launched, this process should not stop. In fact, you’ll get the chance to learn so much more from a wider selection of users. This is where your product will get the chance to continue evolving into what your customers need.
Keep with the process. Product development is not for the faint of heart.
We know that medtech companies like yours can continue to be bold and creative as you work towards ever healthier patients.
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.
As the marketing manager, Ashley ensures that our clients’ marketing strategies are put into action. This includes content writing, SEO, online advertising, analytics, and interfacing with the tools, systems, and team members needed to help our clients accomplish their marketing goals.