The key to gaining a competitive advantage in today’s crowded healthcare marketplace lies in the adoption of a more customer-centric marketing approach to attract the attention of both providers and patients.
Why? Part of the reason stems from trends in patient education and awareness. Patients are becoming more educated about their health conditions and potential treatment options. And with that increase in education comes a higher level of engagement from patients who have greater influence over their medical care. As a result, medtech companies need to engage more directly with patients in their marketing and outreach efforts.
But medtech companies still have work to do when it comes to consumer perception. According to a 2018 survey by Deloitte, only 35 percent of consumers were willing to share their electronic health record data (EHR) with medical device manufacturers. In contrast, about half of those same respondents were willing to share that information with their doctor. Success as a medtech brand depends on your brand’s ability to build a trustworthy reputation and the ability to develop convincing, customer-centric marketing.
Background: Moving from Product-Centric to Customer-Centric Models in the Medical Device Industry
The medical device industry has been slower to evolve from product-centric and intermediary stakeholder-centric models to a customer-oriented model. For your brand to compete and transform minds, providers and patients need to be able to understand how a device can improve their lives and how they can easily engage with your brand in a way that works for them.
Patients want to become educated, feel confident and cared for. With that said, there are some considerations medtech and medical device brands need to keep in mind when it comes to marketing. Patients, health professionals, and payers are looking for products that provide value in the continuum of care, and which deliver a seamless and simple experience in helping to manage health conditions. Access to relevant health information, data integration, and the ease-of-use of your medical device or technology can all impact the likelihood of adoption of your product.
Rising consumer expectations, advances in technology, and the pandemic have triggered a transformation of the communication between brands, providers, and patients. Now is the time to upgrade your brand strategy and digital marketing to excel and stand out.
Below, we’ll dive into ways you can shape your messaging and marketing strategy to strike a chord with your consumer audience.
4 Ways to Become More Customer-Centric
1. Design and Develop Patient-Centric Solutions
Focusing on the design and development of truly patient-centric solutions is critical as a medtech brand. To be competitive, medical devices must be able to communicate with patients and providers. In addition to establishing these convenient communication channels, medical devices also need to be able to provide care and provide remote access from home.
One medtech company, SymPhysis Medical, offers a real-life example of what a patient-centric solution looks like. SymPhysis Medical created a catheter-based medical device to treat malignant pleural effusion (MPE), a build-up of fluid and cancer cells between the chest wall and lung. As a result of MPE, patients might feel chest discomfort or experience difficulty breathing. The fluid build-up needs to be drained by a physician or another trained caregiver.
However, the SymPhysis Medical team created a medical device that allows MPE patients to drain the fluid themselves and regain autonomy over their care. In addition to the functional aspects of the device, the company is also working on integrating smart connectivity solutions. Patients will eventually be able to monitor their condition using a connected app, which also sends medical data directly to their physician.
Not only does this medical device help a group of patients experience a higher quality of life and empower them with a practical solution, it also connects back to the physician for monitoring with a well-rounded digital experience.
2. Let Data Drive Your Marketing
Another way to become more customer-driven is to focus on incorporating more data in your brand and marketing development. The end user for a medical device is the patient, so medtech companies can focus in on that segment by creating devices that capture medical data securely, working to understand customers’ needs, and using data to deliver value to those patients.
Data can empower your brand to tell meaningful stories and provide solutions to patients. Healthcare organizations and brands need to improve data integration. More than half (54 percent) of consumers feel that their providers are missing contextual information necessary to personalize and customize their healthcare recommendations. As a brand, you can fill this gap with the right data and data solutions.
3. Winning at Customer Experience Across the Patient and Provider Journey
When a medical device is introduced, the efficacy, quality, and safety are usually considered first. The patient journey is often only considered after the fact. This can result in a frustrating process of working backwards to figure out what parts of your medical device experience are creating unsatisfactory feedback.
To avoid this, focus on end-to-end customer journeys. Resources should be invested to ensure that your medical device offers a comprehensive solution that makes sense to both providers and patients.
The sales funnel can start broad, but needs to follow more specific steps to guide the patient and provider and create a seamless experience.
4. Upgrade All Digital Touchpoints
Consumers want to communicate with brands digitally. In fact, 58 percent of patients reported preferring their healthcare and medical interactions and communications to be digital. As you might deduce, websites are a critical tool to leverage for medical companies.
Your website is your virtual storefront, but unlike other companies, medtech brands need to build even greater trust compared to traditional e-commerce companies. In the past, medical companies simply relied on printed materials to advertise their medical technology solutions. But brochures and printouts only offer a limited source of information. In contrast, a well-designed, user-friendly website can present patients with comprehensive information, resources, FAQ sections, and other vital information like links to clinical trials or research studies.
Updating your digital touchpoints means that trust can be developed directly from the patient to the brand, rather than just getting a recommendation from a doctor. The patient will do his or her own research and the information on your brand needs to be both impressive and moving.
For over 20 years ParkerWhite has combined data-guided, experience-driven insights, with a proven brand development process to help medical device brands connect, compete, and win in the marketplace.
Do you have a medical device marketing challenge where an agency could help? Contact us today to get the conversation started.