IT’S TIME FOR DIGITAL-FIRST MED DEVICE LAUNCHES. HERE’S HOW.

Medical device marketers are grappling with the cold hard truth that COVID-19 has made their jobs more difficult. Trade shows are being canceled, reps are losing access to hospitals, and personal channels in general are being neutralized.

If you’ve always focused the overwhelming majority of your spend and expertise on personal channels, how do you launch a product in this “new normal”?

SHIFT TO DIGITAL
A digital-first launch strategy can drive revenue quickly, because its reach is far broader than personal channels. However, most medical device marketing teams struggle with digital. They don’t fund or staff these activities in a manner that can truly move the needle:

  • Mapping customer buying journeys
  • Creating content with strong engagement
  • Nurturing leads
  • Building email lists
  • Scoring leads
  • Generating demand
  • Leveraging key opinion leaders (KOLs)
  • Measuring and optimizing

To be effective in the age of COVID, medical device marketing teams need to prioritize digital-first launch strategies. But where do they begin?

STEP 1: RECALCULATE THE CUSTOMER BUYING JOURNEY
COVID-19 has changed customer behavior in nuanced, yet meaningful, ways. A medical device marketing agency like VIVO can help you understand what specifically motivates those changes. Ask yourself:

  • Who are the customer stakeholders and what are their pain points?
  • How are customers getting information and education online?
  • What role can reps play, now that they have less physical contact with customers?

STEP 2: MAP YOUR CONTENT TO EACH STAGE OF THE JOURNEY
It’s impossible to lead a customer down a “breadcrumb trail” through the five stages of the buying journey (Awareness/Consideration/Evaluation/Implementation/Advocacy) unless you have content that engages and persuades. Create content that addresses customer needs (i.e., solution marketing) in a way only your product can satisfy, and make sure it’s mapped to the right:

  • Stakeholder
  • Media channel, and
  • Stage of the buying journey

STEP 3: DIGITALLY ENABLE YOUR REPS
When you remap the customer buying journey, you’ll see that reps need to virtually engage with customers. Arm your reps with the right materials. Once they have a meaningful array of tools at their disposal, they can use their skills and expertise to connect the:

  • Right content to the
  • Right customer at the
  • Right stage of the buying process

STEP 4: DRIVE DEMAND WITH PRELAUNCH DIGITAL CAMPAIGNS
With personal customer engagement curtailed, medical device marketers have to pick up the slack on lead-generation efforts. The best way is to start before the launch, by driving awareness of the problems that your solution will uniquely solve. By arousing customer needs, you’ll create pent-up demand for your solution.

  • Virtually convene KOLs to discuss the problem and its impact on individual multidisciplinary stakeholders.
  • Use what the KOLs say to create educational digital content (articles, infographics, short interviews, etc.) that reps can share.
  • Implement a prelaunch ad campaign promoting the problem, with a landing page experience and the ability to connect with a rep through Zoom.

STEP 5: WIN INCLUSION AT THE CONSIDERATION PHASE
VIVO’s win/loss market research demonstrates the high percentage of companies – even market leaders – who miss out on sales opportunities. The reason? Poor digital presence during the Consideration phase of the buying journey. The fix is centered largely on your value proposition, promoted in two ways:

  • PAID SEARCH: If your value prop is outwardly facing and customer-need oriented, it will do well. If it’s inwardly facing and essentially just a product description, you run a high risk of being unmemorable and bypassed. Your value must be conveyed to multidisciplinary selection committees in terms of solving problems and transforming outcomes. Don’t be satisfied with winning inclusion at the Consideration phase. Take the opportunity to set the bias against your competition by helping to shape customer buying criteria in your own favor.
  • PROMOTIONAL ADVERTISING: Creative campaigns must catch the customer’s attention and pull them into deeper engagement with your value prop. This means that advertising has to motivate customers to act. The biggest mistake at this stage is creative that fails to motivate.

STEP 6: LET CUSTOMERS TELL THEIR TRANSFORMATION STORIES
In this age of value-based medicine, every clinician is on the hook to transform their clinical practice. A subset of those clinicians wants to tell their stories and empower others. Focus on creating these assets to be repurposed across digital/social channels:

  • Zoom KOL roundtables
  • Organizational video case studies
  • Transformation case study articles

MAKE SHIFT HAPPEN
Shifting to a digital-first medical device product launch isn’t easy. You must follow the right sequence — from strategy, to execution, to optimization. VIVO’s medical device marketing experts can help by guiding you every step of the way. Reach out to VIVO for your next launch, today!

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