Although medical device marketing is surrounded by regulations, the basic principles of marketing can still be used to create successful campaigns that help businesses meet their objectives. We believe that being in a technical industry doesn’t need to mean that creativity is stifled.
One thing our clients often come to us for help with is how their marketing activities should differ when appealing to healthcare professionals versus to patients. Again, the principles of marketing still apply, but naturally the focus needs to shift depending on the audience.
Knowing your audience
This is the golden rule of marketing, and one that will not change. Knowing your audience isn’t as simple as just being able to say who you’re targeting (HCPs or patients), you need to know as much about them as possible.
You need to be able to understand your audience, for instance, what are they interested in? What are their challenges? How can you help them? Which platforms do they engage with? Knowing this will inform you on the best way to reach you audience. Are they more likely to come across your materials on social media or through a search engine? Is the best way of reaching them through live events? By knowing this you, can tailor your efforts to where they will be most fruitful, ensuring the greatest ROI.
Furthermore, you will also be in a better position to predict what they will be searching for online, or what will stand out to them when scrolling through social media. You can ensure that the content you create will appeal to them and leave the best impression of your company and device.
One of the most prevalent rules of marketing, and one that we firmly believe in when it comes to medical device marketing, is that your audience needs to hear your message at least 7 times before they take action. With the rise of digital marketing, this number is now more likely to be closer to 15-25 times as there is so much noise about.
This means that you need to reach your audience as many times as possible, with the right content, and multichannel marketing can help you to do this.
An effective multichannel campaign involves distributing your message consistently across multiple platforms and mediums, reaching your audience on numerous touch points. In medical device marketing, this means an approach that involves digital activities, like social media and SEO, as well as non-digital activities such as event marketing and magazine adverts.
The rule of 7 (or 25) spans across industries and audiences, so whether you’re marketing to HCPs or patients, a multichannel approach is the way to go. Of course, you will have to tailor your approach depending on your audience. For instance, when marketing to patients there may be few opportunities for the in-person contact that HCP conferences present, but you will find that less niche platforms such as magazines or even social media advertising can be used, and never forget SEO, one of the best kept secrets in medical device marketing.
Tailoring your content
Again, the importance of knowing your audience cannot be overstated, especially as it enables you to tailor your content, which in turn means that it will have more success in achieving your objectives.
When marketing to HCPs, it is helpful to understand their challenges and the issues that your medical device can help them to overcome. Consider what the top 3 things that you want HCPs or patients to be saying (or thinking) about your technology and use that as the starting point for your content.
Think of your audience’s mind as a jigsaw puzzle and you need to put the pieces in place. Your number 1 message should fill a larger proportion of your content, number 2 a smaller part and so on, until you have correctly positioned your brand in your audience's mind.
By reaching out to them in this way, you are building more trust than if you were to simply just list the benefits of your medical device, although this type of promotion does have a time and a place, but it is usually when your potential customer is further on in their journey.
You can also tailor the type of language that you use and the message you present. For instance, when communicating with HCPs you can use more technical language and reference studies and statistics.
On the other hand, when you’re marketing directly to patients, this type of information may not appeal to them as much. You are more likely to be focusing on lifestyle changes using approachable and open language.
Are the regulations different for HCP marketing and patient marketing?
One thing to be aware of when tackling the differences in medical device marketing strategy for HCPs and patients is the difference in what you are able to say to comply with regulations.
The EU MDR contains some differences between the member states with regards to patient marketing and often increased limitations do apply. France, for example, has the strictest rules forbidding marketing to a patient for any device that has a risk classification of IIb or higher.
We have a handy PDF download of EU MDR and local country medical device advertising guidelines.
Follow the basic principles
As you can see, successful marketing comes down to remembering the basic principles and applying them to your campaigns, no matter who they are aimed at. As long as you are complying with regulations and you know your audience well, you are sure to see success.
Podymos is a dedicated medical device marketing agency. We are passionate about sharing relevant knowledge to expand our clients’ capabilities. If you would like to find out more about what we do, you can visit our services page, or get in contact with us.
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