There’s a nasty industry secret medtech marketer’s don’t want to admit:
Premium medtech brands are winning a lot of deals, but only by matching their lowest-priced competitors. This isn’t what being a premium brand is all about. It’s what being a commodity is about. What’s causing it?
Buyers want premium brands. They probably think of you as a premium brand. However, if you can’t articulate premium value, you’ll get paid like a commodity. When price is the only differentiator, the lowest price usually wins. Winning business by reducing prices has become quite common, and it can lead to an unsustainable death march for your business. So how can medtech marketers fix it?
Ask yourself these questions
Is your marketing inwardly
focused on your product?
Are you saying the same things your competitors say?
Is your value proposition really nothing more than a product description?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions (or if customers are refusing to pay what your product is worth), your value proposition is woefully inadequate.
Medtech marketers must market premium value
Turn your medical device marketing inside out. Start with your customers. Find their biggest challenges. Identify how your product uniquely solves these challenges. Make sure you solve them better than your competition. Now, articulate a value proposition that shows your customer what life would look like in both clinical and economic terms if those challenges were removed. Finally, bring it to life, so customers can experience it.
Make Shift Happen
Need help shifting your strategic marketing to be less inwardly and more outwardly focused? We can help. VIVO is a medtech marketing agency with skilled strategists and creatives who have been doing this every day for the last fourteen years.
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:
Prioritize these weapons and put them to work. Here’s how you’ll know you’re doing it right:
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.
A software algorithm is a decision tree “if/then” formula to analyze and compare disparate data elements and recommend a clinical action. They analyze massive data sets to aid in diagnosis, treatment, short- and long-term prognosis, care management, and claims processing.
Algorithms are in focus right now. With healthcare completely overloaded with data, value moves away from the devices that create the data to the algorithms that identify insights and initiate actions with it. Algorithms are especially impactful when complementing overburdened clinicians with real-time decision support.
But for medical device marketers, this is where the promise of algorithms ends and the problems begin. That’s because, from a customer standpoint, your algorithm is likely indistinguishable from your competitors’. If customers can’t compare and differentiate them, they see sameness. When this happens—BOOM!—there go your margins. When sameness prevails, lowest price wins.
Cerner’s Apache is the original medical device algorithm, having been in use for over 20 years. It produces a mortality score for patients in the ICU, telling doctors whether to keep the patient in the ICU or move them to a less costly unit. Marketing it was a challenge. Here’s why:
Pulmonologist: “How does it produce the mortality score?”
Cerner rep: “It’s a black box. It’s proprietary. I can’t tell you how it’s calculated. You have to trust us.”
When you have competition, your medical device marketing cannot get away with an answer like this. Providers want to know the difference between one algorithm and another. If it significantly impacts their clinical practice, they’ll want to know how it works and they’ll want to be sure they can trust it.
You have to market what makes your algorithm special, even if you reveal proprietary information:
2 steps to differentiate your algorithm:
Tease a future state with obstacles removed
Market the algorithm’s uniqueness
Insightful, data-driven algorithms have the power to transform care and outcomes. Make sure you’re promoting yours effectively, so it’s seen as a premium solution, not a replaceable commodity.
MAKE SHIFT HAPPEN
Effective medical device algorithm marketing does more than describe your product. It describes the unique value your algorithm brings to the customer. We agree, algorithms are admittedly cool and sexy, but it takes more to differentiate your solution and win.
VIVO can help. We are a full-service medical device marketing agency that can give your algorithm the edge it needs to win. We learned the ropes on algorithm marketing four years ago for iRhythm, medical device startup that VIVO helped launch to success.
If your medical device marketing results in value props that resemble the Gettysburg Address, your organization will never consistently message.
Medical device sales processes are long and complex, with many different target audiences along the buying journey. To make sure your message resonates, you have to consistently message it. Yet, far too often, your primary messaging vehicle, your sales force:
Chances are, your value prop resembles a five-course Thanksgiving dinner when what everyone wants is just a single, perfect bite.
The first step toward fixing the bloat is knowing what causes it.
You created a value prop. It’s reflected in your marketing materials. So why don’t the sales force, and the rest of the company, message it consistently?
Think backward and don’t stop until you can state your value prop in five words or fewer. Whittle away the bloat by asking yourself these questions:
Once your value prop is downsized to the length of a headline or tagline,
you’ll have met the threshold for consistent messaging and great medical device marketing.
MAKE THE SHIFT
Creating short, concise, powerful value propositions is easier said than done. That’s why it makes sense to bring in a specialist who can help. VIVO is a full-service medical device marketing agency that understands the nuance of this industry – and has been creating market-seizing value propositions for fourteen years. We use a collaborative, team-based methodology that gets to your greatness in the most direct way possible.
His weapon of choice
Trump is a master at using contrast to differentiate himself. He regularly sets himself apart from his predecessors—including Bush, Obama, and Clinton—even though he already won the election. It’s almost as if he’s still running! He calls out what he labels as policy failures, like China trade, North Korean missiles, the Iranian nuclear agreement, or the Afghan war, and he positions himself as trying to solve them with bold, unexpected approaches. For example, early in his campaign, he gained an edge by saying repeatedly that Jeb Bush was “low energy,” thereby implying that he himself was “high energy.”
The contrast effect
Psychologists call this the contrast effect. By calling out failures or limitations, and contrasting them with your new solution, you give your solution greater meaning and urgency.
Why is this important?
Healthcare providers feel besieged. They’re incredibly busy, and they’re burning out trying to reinvent their care models to deliver value-based care. They’ll only take notice if you offer high-voltage solutions that help them move the needle. To get past their radar, your medical device marketing needs to contrast strongly with the competition.
Put the contrast effect into action
MAKE SHIFT HAPPEN
Need to bring a little more contrast to your medtech marketing? We can help. VIVO is a full-service medtech marketing agency that has been making brands stand out for fourteen years.
Want to give your brands the edge they need, or infuse some high voltage contrast for your next product launch? Give us a call!