While co-branded campaigns are a common marketing strategy for health tech companies and providers, creating successful co-branded campaigns can be a challenge. Companies and providers have to balance what they want to say with what the patient will actually care about, and that is often an issue that co-branded campaigns struggle with.
On a recent episode of our Paradigm Shift of Healthcare podcast, our hosts discussed the topic of co-branded marketing and the elements they have seen that have made campaigns successful. Below, we’ll share some of our tips on how medtech companies and physicians can create co-branded campaigns that benefit everyone involved.
1. Feature the doctor alongside the technology.
Patients may be interested in the idea of the technology and how it might benefit them, but they also want to know about the doctor who is going to use that technology. Sometimes, co-branded campaigns have a tendency to focus a bit too much on the device, and not enough on the doctor using said device.
While the device might really be great and may improve the lives of many patients, that isn’t usually what patients identify with. When a doctor is featured alongside the device, it gives patients a chance to “meet” the person who will be using the device, learn about their credentials, and hear why the doctor feels the device is worthwhile. When you have a well-qualified and respected doctor endorsing the device, it lends credibility to the proclaimed benefits of the device and builds trust with patients.
A popular concept for co-branded campaigns is to feature the product, an “aspirational” image of people enjoying their lives after receiving treatment, and simply includes the doctor’s name or contact information. While this strategy is not necessarily unsuccessful, we have seen greater success when the physician’s photo is featured in the ads. Aspirational images can be very useful as supporting imagery in educational materials, or if needed to get ads out quickly in a way that is easy to reproduce. However, it is important to understand that the physician is just as, if not more important to a patient’s decision-making process than the device itself. Featuring the physician’s photo in the ads in some capacity can help show patients that a real-life physician endorses the device, which is ultimately a win for everyone.
2. Try to personalize educational content to the physician where it makes sense.
Generic educational content about a medical device can be helpful in helping patients understand how it works, but going back to our previous tip, patients will want to hear the physician’s take on the device. When the information comes from the medtech company, it is only given so much weight by the patient. On the other hand, when the information is coming from a trusted doctor who explains why the device is great and how he or she actually uses the device, that is a much different conversation.
When medtech companies are marketing to physicians to convince them to use their products, it makes sense to focus on the product and how it will make their jobs easier and provide better outcomes. When talking to the patient, however, the conversation needs to be different. Doctors have already built up trust with patients in some capacity, either through past experiences for themselves or family members, or through their reputation in the community and online. When the information about the device comes directly from the doctor, in the context of how the doctor uses the device to take great care of patients, it’s much easier to get patients on board.
Though medtech companies might not like to admit it, patients don’t tend to care about the device itself. They just want to know that they will be taken care of and get a great result. When the doctors that recommend the device all have the exact same content available, that doesn’t reassure the patient, and it doesn’t help them in choosing their doctor.
3. Make it easy for doctors to learn about and recommend the product.
While medtech companies can and should market to patients through the physician, it’s also important for the companies to make the physician’s job easier in terms of learning about the product and actually using it. In previous podcast episodes, we’ve discussed how physicians will resist new technology if it does not make their jobs easier. This includes not only making it easy for doctors to use the device, but also to learn about it, explain it to the patient, and instruct their staff on how to talk about it.
While we believe medtech companies should encourage physicians to personalize patient-facing marketing materials to include their own philosophies and processes, they can make that process easier on physicians by giving them materials to use as a template or starting point. Physicians have a lot of things competing for their time, and if the medtech company can come in and provide a solid framework for the physician to build upon, it is more likely that the physician will move forward with the product and marketing.
This type of support could include things like preset ad and brochure templates so the physician just has to provide the details needed to customize the information. It might also include key talking points about the product for the physician to provide to the staff, and key talking points for the physician to discuss with the patient. Providing the base-level information and framework while giving the physician room to customize makes it an easier undertaking for the physician while also ensuring that all parties involved get the information they need.
At the end of the day, the goal is to get the device to the patients who will most benefit from it. When medtech companies and physicians work together on co-branding and focus on getting the right information to the right people, everyone wins–most importantly, the patients.