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My list of 7 winning tactics for medical technology marketers
The medical field is a unique ecosystem. Within it, the medical technology industry holds a prominent place. The global medical technology industry spans numerous companies whose products ensure that the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions and diseases is smoother and has more positive outcomes. We can see successful medtech companies in the fields of vitro diagnostics (IVD), cardiology, diagnostic imaging, orthopedics and more.
These days, 72% of internet users search online for health information, products and services. This means that members of the medical field – doctors, healthcare centers, health service providers and medtech developers and distributors must establish a digital presence. Either they become active in the digital space, marketing themselves on websites, social media or medical industry platforms, like referralMD, or they run the risk of losing out on significant sales and brand recognition opportunities..
At its core, medical technology marketing does not drastically digress from that of any other B2B company. Like any good marketer, medical technology marketers must understand their audiences, learn what they value and uncover the best ways to present them with your marketing content. Still, medtech marketing is about two years behind the rest of the marketing world. The technical and regulatory issues the industry faces slow marketing methods’ ability to drive change and warrant distinctive marketing operations that do slightly differ from regular B2B marketing tactics. What’s more, many medical professionals are extremely pressed for time and need quick, highly effective methods for evaluating new products and services. As such, medtech marketers must leverage the attributes unique to their field, while tweaking existing B2B marketing tactics to match their prospects and clients’ needs.
Over the past 10 years, B2B marketing has become increasingly more personal. Customers have learned to judge brands by their warmth, experience and areas of expertise, forming relationships with only those who enable them to communicate with the highly-skilled and approachable person behind the business, instead of with a stuffy job title. Marketing for the medical technology field is no different. Medtech marketers need to develop user personas and create targeted content that is engaging and emotionally-compelling – across all channels. Here is my list of winning tactics that in my opinion any successful medtech marketer should use to capitalize on the latest in personalized marketing campaigns, while leveraging the unique attributes of the medtech industry.
Before we start, I want to invite you to visit our use case for a medical devices company. This can help you get a specific idea and a clear picture about the shape a medtech marketing operation can take and maybe help you think about practices and strategies you can implement within for your specific company.
Now we are ready. Let’s start.
1. Curate customer and professional testimonials
The goal of any marketing tactic is to draw leads towards your product or service. Why not use positive reviews of existing satisfied patients or medical professionals to do so? Listing testimonials on your web page will show potential patients and new customers that your offering is worthwhile. And if you focus on key thought leaders from within the medical community, their clout will impress upon those leads and entice them to convert. If you have the ability (mostly budget-related) to present these testimonials in video format, they will probably be even more successful than written testimonials, as video content is known to be more effective than written content.
2. Pay special attention to the future generation of medical professionals
The minds of young medical professionals are exceedingly impressionable. What they learn in medical school and during rotations at teaching hospitals will likely remain with them once they begin to practice; it’s a natural human tendency. When you take your marketing content to medical education activities, you are essentially launching peer-to-peer selling campaigns. You present doctors or medical educators with your marketing content and they transmit this information to their colleagues and students. The students then start to practice and they find it most convenient to use the technologies and methodologies they are familiar with from school. This is a highly effective form of marketing for the medical field, as the target audience will be more receptive towards your marketed products or services if they come from a known source of knowledge and expertise.
3. Publish in leading medical publications
The medical profession keeps changing rapidly. As such, medical professionals must stay abreast of the latest research and developments in their field. They tend to do this in two main ways: attending professional events (a tactic we will touch upon very soon) and by reading professional medical publications. Today, most renowned medical publications can be found online as well. Publishing your content in periodicals and reviews that have both paper and digital versions, like the New England Journal of Medicine, will ensure your content is seen by those who need it most and will give it the prestigious stamp of approval associated with the publication itself.There is a cost associated with this very important tactic, so it’s important to plan ahead both the topics and the budget allocations. Here is an interesting article about the true cost of science publishing.
4. Present at tradeshows and professional events
As I already mentioned above, medical professionals must continue their education, an effort they continuously need to invest in, to stay relevant. One of their key ways to stay on top of what’s going on in their field is by attending professional events.These events present great opportunities for doctors and other medical professionals to learn about the latest medical advances, developments and innovations – including the medical technology you are marketing! That’s why you must attend these if you seek to gain exposure and create awareness among your target audience. Each company and the relevant events to their niche. The variety of these events is huge, from mega events that cover many industries to small and focused annual meetings of specific associations. There is also a variety of options when it comes to presenting in these events, depending on where your company is in terms of its ability to tell a meaningful story and its ability to spend. You can just send people to attend, walk the floors, hand out brochures and try to schedule meetings ahead of time. You can take a table-top, shell scheme booth, build a huge booth from scratch, present at a partner’s booth, sponsor the event or a specific symposium and more. The opportunities are endless, so you need to decide what’s right for you, according to each event, your KPIs and your specific circumstances. By presenting your offering and its benefits at several annual tradeshows and events geared towards members of the medical field, you can keep your technology at the forefront of prospects’ minds. You can also initiate a little pull activity to obtain a list of potential prospects that you can use to create a highly targeted lead-nurturing program later on.
5. Engage in specialized social media marketing
Social media is an extremely powerful communication tool, especially for busy medical professionals, who can express a thought or make contact with the click of a button. Certain social channels, like Sermo, DailyRounds and AmongDoctors are specifically physician-oriented. They offer medical professionals the chance to connect, network, consult anonymously, crowdsource and learn about the latest innovations and technologies in their fields. If you’re not marketing on these social channels, you’re likely missing out on some great opportunities.
6. Partner with relevant associations to create a buzz
Relevant medical associations are held in high esteem and are known for their credibility. These associations usually foster long-term relationships with professionals and patients who are active in their niche (e.g, cancer, alzheimer, focused ultrasound, digital health, etc.). These associations also tend to have large databases through which you can reach many potential customers. Partnering with them bridges your cutting-edge technological offerings with long term relationships and an expansive reach. Together, you can generate marketing campaigns that will surely create a buzz.
7. Create patient communities
Generate demand from the bottom up. Create digital communities – on social media, forums and through a dedicated blog or minisite, to provide relevant patients with rich information and value concerning, but not exclusively about, your specific solution and the indication its built around. Within these communities, your patients can learn about your offering but also get a lot of other information about alternative treatments, the latest related research, trends, tips for better living with their condition and more. They can then turn to their medical professionals about possible products or services that may alleviate, treat or cure their ailments.
Medtech marketing tricks of the trade
So, we’ve covered some important must-do tactics for medtech marketers. Now, it’s time for some tricks to help you market your medical technology or solution without hitting any significant bumps along the road:
- Know relevant regulations – what you can and cannot say about medications, treatments and medical devices. Be sure that you do not make any claims or phrase any marketing content in a way that exposes you to liability. Make no guarantees – unless they can be backed by clinical trials and real-life results.
- Know the implications of marketing in certain geographical areas – While many marketing channels are global, there are rules and regulations regarding marketing content that are applicable in certain geographical areas, but not in others; even within the same country. Learn your limitations in each region you market to. Cover your bases and only talk about topics that meet the lowest-common-denominator when marketing on global channels. And when possible, employ geo-targeting tactics, so that only those allowed, will see certain posts. You don’t want to violate FDA, CE or other significant bodies’ regulations.
- Tell your story – to several, different audiences, like doctors, healthcare professionals and end-patients. Create the versions that satisfy their curiosity, but also fulfill your need to get certain points across in an attractive and engaging way. Do not assume that the highly technical medtech industry is only interested in a single, cardboard cut-out version of your offering. Create content that is appealing to every segment, demand can be created from many different directions.
Medtech marketing sometime needs to be highly technical but there is always room to look for creativity, communications and expanded reach. Regulations may slow the advancement of medtech marketing practices and limit what and how products and services can be promoted.
But there is still a lot that can be done, in digital and offline spaces, to raise awareness, create a brand name and generate actual leads with much success.for medtech companies. In this article we covered some specific tactics that are relevant for medtech, but let’s not forget additional, common B2B marketing tactics that with some relatively simple tweaks can become more suitable for medtech marketing. These include PR, paid campaigns, SEO, email marketing, influencer marketing and more.
Good luck and don’t forget to join our Facebook group that’s made for global tech pros and startup marketers operating in Israel
Tsipi Joseph is a co-founder of G2M. She has been in the global tech marketing industry for 'oh so many years', dealing with technical products and services in almost any industry you can think of, including mobile apps, augmented reality, telecommunications, finance, medical, cyber and more.