Medical Device DTC Marketing: Digital Co-Marketing and the Power of the Referral (Part 2 of 4)

July 21, 2014
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Second in a four part series describing a unique digital marketing strategy for medical device companies that has been proven to drive ROI for both device companies and their clients.

Second in a four part series describing a unique digital marketing strategy for medical device companies that has been proven to drive ROI for both device companies and their clients.

In the first blog, I introduced the challenges device companies commonly face with DTC marketing and the advantages of using a new digital approach.  In this post, I discuss which device companies are ideally suited to the strategy.DTC Marketing, Medical Device Marketing, Medical Technology Marketing

Before discussing the specifics of the co-marketing strategy (next post), it is important to assess key considerations for what type of medical device company is ideally suited to successfully execute it (it is not appropriate for ALL companies):

  1. Highly searched (prevalent) disease/condition – As this is an online marketing strategy (and heavily reliant on search), it is important that whichever disease or condition your technology targets has a sufficiently high volume of patients accessing information on the web.  80 percent of all internet users seek health information (iHealthBeat), so most any condition with a high prevalence is likely to have a high volume of search and internet traffic.  Long gone are the days where patients (no matter their condition) completely rely on physician referrals; if it’s serious (or expensive) enough, patients will go to the web to evaluate their options.  There are numerous keyword research tools that can give you specific estimates of search volumes in (and around) a given condition.  While there is no hard and fast rule, you generally want to see >500,000 searches (or impressions) per month in the US (distinct of any display or contextual inventory) for this strategy to have the requisite power in local markets.
  2. Patient-swaying technology – Before pursuing this strategy, you should ask yourself one fundamental question:
    • Does your technology change patient care to the level that a patient might make their decision on which specialist/surgeon to see based on whether (or not) they have your technology?

It is easy to be biased here, so be careful.  If you sell your technology on primarily economic (cost reduction) considerations, than maybe this isn’t for you.  Simply put, your technology needs to be revolutionary, not evolutionary. 

  1. Consultative field sales – To both sell and execute this strategy, your sales organization needs to be able to employ a consultative sales approach – going beyond just a ‘clinical sale’ to work closely with client hospitals and physician practices, show a broader understanding of their business and demonstrate the positive bottom-line impact this strategy can have.  If your company can find the right (agency) partner, they may be able to contribute on the sales front and potentially mitigate the impact on your sales organization.  Either way, your sales team will need to be involved and bought in.
  2. High value per procedure (both reimbursement & disposable) – At the end of the day, this program will prove a positive return on investment (ROI) by demonstrating an increase in appointment and procedure volume.  To this end, having a procedure with a higher reimbursement (or fee) for the hospital and/or doctor (usually >$2000) makes it easier to tip the ROI ‘scales’ in your favor.  If you are looking at any corporate ROI, then having a higher disposable revenue per procedure will similarly increase your chances.
  3. Funding? (not required)  -First off, let me be clear that funding (from your company) is not an absolute requirement on these programs.  When we get to the results, I will show you highly successful program examples that were both funded and not funded by the sponsor company.   The strategy will typically result in a clear and positive ROI for the client (physician or hospital), even when they are completely funding it.   But, to the extent your company is willing to fund (or co-fund) such programs, you will be able to accelerate adoption and increase control and exposure of your marketing messaging.

In the next blog, I’ll look deeper into this digital DTC strategy that can leverage your revolutionary technology and has been proven to drive ROI for both device companies and their clients. In the final blog of the series, I’ll discuss specific results from campaigns conducted with multiple medical device companies.