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Posts Tagged ‘medical device marketing

How to Pitch a Medical Device Company #1: Know MedTech Context

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help us feel human again

I spent the early years of my working life being formed by the medical device industry. I was energized by the mission of seeing people restored and hearing joyful patient stories. I enjoyed the banter with physicians and learning about the junction of technology and living systems. And I was charmed by the folks I worked with: some of the smartest people around, with a bent toward helping others. Not everybody, mind you, but enough lively, mission-fed people that the workday was full of surprise.

Things change. Corporations mature—for better and worse. Lately it seems the balance sheet and the quarterly earnings call too easily drown out mission. Smart people who enjoy a challenge still work there, and it is an industry with more and more specific boundaries. So if your agency is pitching medical device work, please be aware of these three influences that shape the perspective of the people you will be talking to:

  • Legal pinioning
  • Regulatory straight jacket
  • Branding dead ends

These perspective-shapers sounds like a bummer, but smart agencies with a knack for operating in tight quarters can help make a difference. The first two perspective-shapers are fairly obvious. Naturally, the best medical device companies hold the patients who receive their therapies in the highest regard. And you would not want to work with a company that didn’t. But in our litigious age, there’s lots of money to be made from suing manufactures for all sorts of things. Naturally, medical device companies ramp up their risk-averting processes. Lawyers review nearly every outward facing piece of communication and regulatory reviewers—the picky cousins of lawyers—delight in ferreting out each word of potential deviation from the FDA-approved copy. And the work of lawyers and regulators is invaluable.

Branding dead ends are not so obvious and few will admit to them out loud. These take a bit more explanation, so I’ll reserve it for another post.

But in your initial approach to conversations with med tech employees, know that most of their conversations are like walking a tightrope: marketing is always a balance between what you’d like to say and what you can say given the published studies. Agencies with more consumer experience can find this deadening. But resisting the pinioning and the straight-jacket—in your own way—is one of the ways your team can add value. It’s just got to be believable. And it becomes more believable when you ask for and expect the list of approved claims before starting work on your pitch. Since every claim must have a valid reference, basing your creative on the right foundation can make the difference between making the final cut and being dismissed as not up to snuff.


Image Credit: Engadget

Written by kirkistan

June 4, 2012 at 5:00 am

Please, Back Away from the Controller.

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It’s about interest, not control.

It’s about interest, not control.

It’s not like you can just adopt this new channel, buy space and you’re good to go.

It’s more like learning to be a friend again. I described the equivalent of “winning the lottery” in a dialogue-based medical device marketing context, but Seth Godin takes the next step with his Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. Instead of focusing on the tools of social media we all find so interesting (or not), he posed the provocative question “Who is it we should be leading?” His question presupposes this inward-looking beginning point for any who care to begin dialogue: “What change am I passionate enough about to lead?”

I like that Godin helps me see that the coming dialogical world is much broader than today’s set of bloggy-twittery-searchable tools. The questions we ask when moving from monologue to dialogue have more to do with what we all care about together. Finding what we care about together is a necessary stop on the journey. And knowing what we care about together is a step beyond carefully controlling the conversation with fine-tuned messages.tribeimage-10062009

What we care about together as humans has always been different from the one-dimensional messages with which we’ve surrounded our product messages. The secret to dialogue is what we learned years ago when our first friend showed up that summer day: we look for common interests. We expect give and take, and a willingness to hear and try something new. Friendship is formed when we stop claiming to know all the answers. Inviting marketers to rethink friendship is a step toward dialogue and a step away from monologue. Inviting marketers to find their place of leadership within friendship and within dialogue is a step toward freeing them to be the leaders they secretly want to be. The tribe-formers we need them to be.


Medical Device Firms Using Social Media, Step #3: A Busker’s Tip for Making Friends in the World

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Studio perfect or street-corner authentic?

Studio perfect or street-corner authentic?

When thinking about social media or advertising, there’s a familiar hurdle for every medical device marketer: a narrow audience. Unless you are marketing consumer goods, most target audiences need to be found through existing channels that cater to the specific needs of that particular, well-defined audience. It was a function of our old scarcity economy, where there were few channels that spoke directly to, say electrophysiologsts. So we ponied up our advertising dollars to buy a double-truck ad in PACE.

But communication is changing as fast as media opportunities emerge. How to take advantage of them? Let a busker answer the question. For Rob Firenix, a fire-dancing comic I met in Windsor, Ontario at the International Busker Festival, the best part of busking is “speaking directly to the audience.” Standing before an audience he has gathered lets him tweak material and get instant feedback.

Glen Hansard, the Irish musician, “Once” actor and Oscar winner (with Marketa Irglova) for best song started his artistic life as a busker. “When you are playing in the street, you are open to the street around you. The street becomes your club and people start to trust you.” Hansard describes the difference (around six minutes into this World Cafe  recording) between making music in the studio and making it on the street. The studio allows the opportunity to perfect the sound while putting together something light and airy out in the public has a different kind of authenticity.

After looking for dialogue partners and pursuing the important internal conversations, find a way to get your conversation going with the people you want to reach. You want to start a conversation that will attract the dialogue partners whom you would have only received 10% interest from with your PACE print ad. But engaging them the way a busker attracts and holds an audience is worth the effort. Find your dialogue partners with authentic posts, useful information and well, entertainment.


Why not start today?


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