The Leaked NY Times Report and Digital Marketing for Medical Devices Are Closely Related

June 16, 2014
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digital marketing for medical devices

digital marketing for medical devices

The internal “leaked” report that created a buzz

A few weeks ago a “secret” internal 96-page report was leaked. The report, titled “New York Times Innovation Report,” provides an in depth review of the newspaper’s digital strategy. Additionally, it asks many tough questions and provides recommendations as to the steps needed to be taken to keep up with the changing world, where the traditional offline activities are slowly shifting to the online arena, where new practices have to come into play. The report shows that The New York Times needs to catch up with the times. 

The Full New York Times Innovation Report

The report is reflective on traditional medical marketing

My work at CadenSee keeps me attuned to industry buzz so I can help my clients with most current solutions to their communication needs. I recently read a fascinating article, “30 Content Marketing Lessons From The New York Times Innovation Report”. I thought that at least seven of the insights were extremely relevant for medical companies engaged in or planning to (finally) advance the marketing of their medical devices to the digital space:

I. It’s about having a website that helps prospects find you.

Your home page is not the key.  Only a third of readers visit the home page of The New York Times. And those who do visit are spending less time on it. Page views and minutes spent per reader dropped by double-digit percentages in the year 2013. 

How does it relate to digital marketing for medical devices? 

You need to create multiple “gateways” to your website using different keyword combinations, that enable you to rank on search engines for multiple terms. One way to achieve this is to start a medical blog on your website, focusing each post on different keyword combinations.

The process of being found by customers is called inbound marketing. Subscribe to this blogto get a free ebook we are working about using inbound marketing for medical device companies.

II. You need to reach out to prospects through multiple channels. 

“If something is important, it will find me” behavioral trend. Users are moving away from browsing and expect the news to come to them through social media and mobile notifications. The New York Times has been late in seeing this shift in reading behavior and currently less than 10% of their traffic comes from social media.

How does it relate to digital marketing for medical devices?

You need to spread the word around. Having a website, drafting an occasional press release, and participating in an annual medical conference are not enough anymore. You need to start creating relationships with the market a long time before your medical device is approved. Only by then can you create more impact when you need it the most. 

III. Email works. Start building your list now.

Use email as a communication channel to reach readers directly.  According to the report email marketing is one of the most efficient ways to cut through the noise and The Times should put more emphasis on it

How does it relate to digital marketing for medical devices?

email for medical digital marketing

Medical device and technology start-ups should start creating their own email lists—even when they are years from market. Yes, it is work. Sending monthly (or bi-monthly) relevant updates is time-consuming, but it is important to have a following of patients and physicians. Additionally, it is relatively inexpensive and it would put you in a better position as you get closer to market. Remember that patients that talk to physicians or to other patients about your device can be a good source for free PR if managed correctly.

IV. Use a content management system that is flexible.

Use a CMS tool that allows you to focus on innovating features instead of minor fixes. Functionality, ease of use and speed are important when looking for a CMS. The Times spends too much time fixing bugs on the CMS that they use and the report considers it one of the biggest problems that they face. 

How does it relate to digital marketing for medical devices?

We use WordPress for all the sites we develop! It is open source, flexible, responsive, and has endless plug-in options. More importantly, it can be managed by the medical device company easily without knowing a single line of code. I met a colleague the other day who told me that she managed to stop a client of hers from using a non-open source content management system. Whatever you do, do not use proprietary CMS.

Learn more about why you should use WordPress for your medical devices website

V. Don’t neglect at least 50% of your target audience.

Don’t run your mobile experience on autopilot. 

Nearly 60% of readers access The New York Times through mobile devices. The mobile experience demands its own control and creativity – first step towards that for me is to have a mobile responsive design.

 How does it relate to digital marketing for medical devices?

responsive for digital medical device marketing

Google data shows that 50% of hospital administrators use a smart phone to make purchase decisions about medical devices.  At least one in three use smart phones to conduct research about medical equipment and devices, including reading product reviews and customer testimonials, and requesting product information. Make sure that your medical website is responsive to mobile display.

VI. Offer prospects insights into your medical company’s soul.

Pull back the curtain and talk about the process behind your work. Publish stories behind the story. Provide readers with a bit more insight into how you do your work to deepen their connection with you and your work.

 How does it relate to digital marketing for medical devices?

Showing what happens behind the scenes is an awesome way to connect with your prospects. Preparing a video of your product photo shoot, company event, or any other function that can be shared takes you a long way. It can help tell your company story to potential customers and strengthen the bond with existing ones.

Here’s a behind the scenes video we created a while back with Viora.

VII. Be flexible in your hiring. Traditional marketing skills may not be as relevant as they use to be.

Recruit the right digital staff. Data analysts, visual designers, technologists, social media editors and analytics specialists. People with intuitive sense for how to write for the web, interest in experimenting with mobile and social storytelling, a proficiency with data, a desire to engage with readers on and off the site, and an understanding of the shifting competitive landscape.

How is this related to the digital marketing for medical devices?

Here’s a story. We have been working with a client in the field of orthopedics for a while. Through smart campaigning we have managed to get the company leads to sales without tough online marketing. Understanding the value of the online world compared to traditional marketing, the company hired a marketing manager with a background not in medical devices marketing or sales, but in online gaming. They wanted to build relationships with clients and nurture leads online. A gutsy and brilliant move, I believe.

Medical device company: Stop acting like the New York Times. Start moving online.

Most medical devices engage in traditional marketing methods rather than newer techniques that may be more cost effective to their business. Like The New York Times, it might be time to move ahead and see that the world is changing, and what has worked in the past has no place in today’s world. It is time to start moving online.

Picture by: Kristin Schmit

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