COVID-19 Stalled Your Marketing. Make This Shift.

How do you market and sell when your two biggest marketing spends. – trade shows and sales forces – have been neutralized by COVID-19? Let’s face it. The willingness to physically connect – in planes; at trade shows, concerts, and restaurants; or even in in-person visits – will be reduced. Maybe, as many believe, permanently.

IF THIS IS THE NEW NORMAL, HOW CAN YOU ADAPT YOUR MEDTECH MARKETING AND COME OUT SWINGING?

START BY FORECASTING THE NEW NORMAL

The COVID-19 pandemic is a seminal moment in history. It will forever change how we interact with each other and how conduct business. Its physical and economic carnage will make providers more pandemic-sensitive. One result will be a reduced reliance on industry in some areas, and a greater reliance in others. To respond appropriately, medtech marketing leaders must:

  • Forecast what the new normal will be, and
  • Build their marketing models around it

NEW NORMAL: SALES FORCES WILL LOSE EVEN MORE PHYSICAL ACCESS
Medical device reps have already been struggling with restricted access to hospitals and practices. And post-COVID-19, it’s going to get a whole lot more restrictive. Providers will be scrutinizing the personal sales force and clinical specialist model with renewed fervor. More-stringent infection-control efforts will mandate that in-personsupported company selling and servicing be curtailed. Providers will bring more of these services in-house, such as managing implants, and access other services online or virtually. Ultimately, the opportunity to engage and persuade in-person will be greatly reduced.

IT WILL BE A SHOT HEARD ROUND THE WORLD IF
PHARMACEUTICAL REVENUES REMAIN UNIMPACTED BY COVID-19. THE TAKEAWAY WILL BE CLEAR: PHARMA SALES FORCES PROVIDE LIMITED VALUE AND THEIR HEADCOUNT WILL BE REDUCED.

NEW NORMAL COMPANY TRADE SHOW SPEND WILL PLUMMET
Any medtech company CFO can tell you that trade show ROI has been very poor for a very long time. Yet, despite these poor returns, company investment in the medium hasn’t waned. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, that will change, for several reasons:

  • Trade shows are a pandemic risk (thousands of people, global audience, close proximity, plane travel) that can easily be mitigated by not attending
  • Attendance, regardless of what organizers say, was steadily falling well before the COVID-19 outbreak and will continue to do so
  • Pre-COVID-19 attendee booth traffic was paltry (with some exceptions)
  • A number of trade shows will go bankrupt because they did not have pandemic insurance

NEW NORMAL PROVIDERS WILL ENGAGE WITH INDUSTRY MORE VIRTUALLY

Providers will not only want to convert more of their previously in-person relationships to digital or virtual relationships, they’ll also want their current digital brand experiences optimized. Medtech marketers must realize that their customers are digitally active, and this is where brands must fully engage them. Imagine a world in which:

  • OR reps support cases virtually, via Zoom
  • In-services move online and on-demand
  • Sales presentations are done remotely, requiring stories that are visually dynamic and engaging
  • Product demonstrations become virtual, particularly for bigger capital equipment

NEW NORMAL MARKETING WILL HAVE TO STEP UP DEMAND-GENERATION EFFORTS

The ability of sales reps to drive demand will be limited now that their access to customers will be limited. With reps handcuffed, funnels will run dry. Medtech marketers will have to redouble their efforts at creating better online engagement with customers.

IT’S TIME TO SHIFT YOUR STRATEGY

STOP blowing your budget on trade shows

START creating personalized digital experiences

STOP spending millions on NSM

START making it a virtual event

STOP thinking of what reps do as only selling

START arming them to be territory marketing managers

STOP anemic marketing demand gen and lead gen efforts

START acting as if the sales funnel had your name on it

STOP scratching the surface on marketing automation systems

START driving lead-nurturing campaigns with it

STOP siloing sales away from marketing

START connecting marketing automation systems to CRM systems

STOP reacting to someone else’s narrative

START making competitors respond to yours

STOP marketing products

START marketing solutions

STOP guessing if your marketing works

START marketing only that which is measurable

STOP producing skin-deep, undifferentiated content

START messaging with a focus on what makes you different

MAKE SHIFT HAPPEN
In the post-COVID-19 world, medtech marketers will have to take greater responsibility for an end-to-end customer experience that relies much less on personal channels and much more on non-personal ones. Experiences will have to be engaging and sticky, propelling prospects through the buying journey to a favorable outcome.

Want help, or a second opinion? VIVO is a medtech marketing agency whose experts can bring a new perspective and a new path forward. Reach out for a free consult, today!

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