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Improving brand awareness during Covid-19
Right now, leaders in every industry are ripping up their plans and focusing on the need for immediate business transformation. During Covid-19, tomorrow is today, old habits have to die, and the ‘same old, same old’ simply won’t wash.
For the rest of us, disruption is the new norm. And if we fail to adjust quickly enough, business will suffer. It’s really that simple.
So what does this mean for the medical devices industry that’s already searching for ways to increase awareness of its tech and prove its value to clinicians and patients?
The pre-Covid route to customers has worn away
Once, there was a well-trodden path – the path the medtech industry strode down to reach its customers. Marcoms involved multiple salesforce visits to multiple hospitals in the hope of meeting busy surgeons and clinicians face-to-face. There was expensive travel and frequent attendance at international conferences and congresses. It meant stands, exhibits and a suitcase full of brochures and business cards. But just how successful was all this effort - and how cost-effective was it? How long did it take medtech marketing and sales teams to get enough attention from a potential buyer to convert them?
The Rule of Seven is one of the oldest ideas in marketing, but it’s still relevant. The idea is that, before any new customer decides to take action, they will have come across a product’s message at least seven times
Seven - the magic number of brand awareness
Based on years of experience in the industry, our view is that by using traditional pre-Covid routes, established customers would probably be seen 2 to 3 times a month, but new customers would only probably be exposed to a new product once a month if that. On that basis, the wait for a sale was often excruciatingly long.
Covid-19 has forced companies to rethink the traditional ways of meeting potential customers
Post-Covid: a faster, more efficient route remains open
Covid-19 has forced companies to rethink the traditional ways of meeting potential customers. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean the end of the road. There’s a brilliant, even better, work around…
And it’s digital
Although we all hope that at some point traditional routes will re-open, reduced access to hospitals and a myriad of travel restrictions mean medtech businesses have had to rethink their marketing activities. Congress attendance is now virtual, exhibitions are virtual (CAD based stands vs website based), and Zoom is replacing face-to-face meetings. But these are, in many respects, the obvious like-for-like moves.
In the battle for the hearts and minds of your customers, what else can we use? The answer is brand awareness using the power of digital media. And although this presents us with new challenges (companies must get it right), there’s also a fantastic opportunity to build brand awareness.
Digital, when done well, supercharges the Rule of Seven
Supercharge the Rule of Seven
Digital marketing has the power to engage potential customers seven times a day through Google searching, content sharing, commenting, and liking. Digital strategies, when done well, reach a highly targeted audience supercharging the Rule of Seven (read more about the Rule of Seven here). So if you don’t have a Digital Strategy, including an optimised website full of great content and designed to collect information about your visitors, now’s the time to build one.
McDonald’s sales slumped 28% post-recession, Pizza Hut increased sales by 61%
“OK I get digital, but convince me that brand awareness drives sales”
Medtech is a youthful industry but, surprisingly, less alert to the power of brand awareness. A recent survey by Interbrand (2019) revealed that only two medtech companies featured in the Top 100 Brands. Siemans (not strictly a medtech business) appeared at #58 and 3M ranked #64. And that’s it. Could do better, right?
And if you need convincing about the power of brand awareness, what about the story of Pizza Hut vs McDonald’s?
In the 1990-91 recession, Pizza Hut continued to advertise to maintain brand awareness, while McDonald’s cut back. The result? McDonald’s sales slumped 28% post-recession, Pizza Hut increased sales by 61%.
Today, the situation we face is similar. There’s been a slump in demand for non-Covid and non-cancer-related procedures. Covid-19 has put many elective procedures on hold. The queue of patients is lengthening, with surgeons underemployed. Fieldwork conducted by the Royal College of Surgeons (Eng) between 8 June 2020 and 15 June 2020 involving over 1700 surgeons and surgical trainees revealed:
33% of all surveyed surgeons and surgical trainees (in the UK) were unable to undertake elective or planned surgery in the preceding 4 weeks. 56% of trauma and orthopaedic surgeons reported this was the case 
Through effective digital engagement, you can be front and centre in their minds
While some surgeons have been redeployed and others are consulting online, many are looking forward to getting back to more familiar routines. This hiatus provides an opportunity to reach out to them and remind them of the value of your device. Through effective digital engagement, you can be front and centre in their minds when the time comes to reopen theatres and hold more clinics.
Go digital – conditions are perfect for innovation
To find out how you could improve your digital strategy, book your free 30-minute review call.
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Podymos is a specialist marketing agency dedicated to the medical device industry. We focus on downstream marketing that includes brand and message creation and its distribution through all channels (traditional and digital) – increasing your brand’s awareness amongst healthcare professionals and patients alike.
Author: Claudia Holy, Managing Director, Podymos
Reference 1. RCS England. Elective Surgery During Covid-19. Available at: https://www.rcseng.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/archive/survey-results-elective-surgery-under-covid/. Accessed 02 September 2020