The Two Most
Potent Forms
of Medtech Marketing
A CERNER VS. EPIC CASE STUDY

No medical technology is more complex, or has a longer sales process, than the EMR. That’s because an EMR isn’t just one thing. It’s made up of 30-40 departmental applications that all integrate together.

To sell it, an army of reps and clinical specialists have to descend on a hospital over a period of many months or years. There, they have to demonstrate the system not just to doctors and nurses, but also to all clinical and financial departments, including the C-suite. But remarkably, when the army consistently messages over a long period of time, an amazing thing happens: The target audience co-opts the message and makes it their own. I saw this firsthand while working at Cerner and have seen it repeat itself over and over.

The #2 most powerful form of medtech marketing: Consistent messaging
But what really convinced me of the power of consistent messaging was the fact that what I was selling wasn’t even real. My EMR was in development. It was vapor. You couldn’t visit a hospital and see it. And yet with consistent messaging over a period of time, you could win, and win big. Cerner went from $400 million to $1.8 billion in six years. They appeared unstoppable.

Then Epic showed up…
While Cerner started as a small, inpatient laboratory software company, tiny little Epic started even smaller—as an outpatient physician-office software system.

The #1 most powerful form of medtech marketing:
Customer word of mouth

Epic had zero formal marketing messages. Instead, they followed a different approach: They relied on customer word of mouth. Physicians loved their system, found it to be intuitive, and told their peers. The C-suite had no alternative. They had to buy the system their physicians pledged to use. Kaiser, Cleveland Clinic, Geisinger, and many others rapidly followed. Epic sales exploded and never looked back.

it is simply unstoppable.
Epic proved that it trumps all forms of marketing.

Epic simply let physicians do the talking for them.
To this day, Cerner is searching for answers, but it may be too late. Epic is used in the vast majority of the top 20 academic medical centers, and in nearly every children’s hospital. They get an outrageous price premium and win the KLAS survey every single year. Their domination is so overwhelming, they’ve become the industry standard.

Put these medtech marketing weapons to work for you

Surprisingly, both consistent messaging and customer word of mouth, despite their potency, have become medtech marketing lost arts. There are reasons for this:

  • Value propositions have become too complex—they’re impossible for sales forces and customers to consistently message.
  • Companies don’t invest enough in customer marketing, so their customers can network and tell their stories.

Prioritize these weapons and put them to work. Here’s how you’ll know you’re doing it right:

  • Ten randomly polled reps and customers can recite your value prop, unaided.
  • Your sales force confidently gives out customer lists (names, phone numbers, emails) to prospects, knowing those customers will tell a great story, unaided.

MAKE SHIFT HAPPEN

No matter how strong your value prop and messaging are, the power of customer word of mouth wins every time. Leveraging both of these powerful marketing weapons is the key. But it isn’t easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes long-term planning and precise execution.

VIVO can help. As a full service medtech marketing agency, we can engage strategically to map out a plan with key milestones along the way.

Reach out to schedule a Zoom – and find out what’s possible.

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