The end of the year is often seen as a time to evaluate strategies from the past year and implement new marketing plans for the coming year. It might seem like some marketing professionals have decided that their strategies can only evolve on a cyclical basis. At the end of the calendar year, they allocate so much money into each of their efforts for the coming year, and then sit back while they execute the pre-determined strategy. While it is easier to implement, this approach can be fraught with logistical and real-world difficulties. It leaves little room for analysis, evaluation, evolution or any type of considered response to difficulties or new opportunities.
A better approach is to develop a fluid marketing strategy that generally outlines the priorities for the coming year, but also leaves a lot of room for maneuverability. This may require more concentration on marketing efforts throughout the year, but it often leads to better results. One way to allow for this flexibility is to incorporate digital marketing as part of the overall direct to consumer marketing strategy. Here are some examples of how digital marketing can drive participation and boost results:
- Patient Participation: The end users of the medical device are often looked at as somewhat of an afterthought in the marketing process. A few brochures might be scattered about a physician’s office, or an ad might appear in a particular publication, but there is no way of determining the effectiveness of those efforts. Comprehensive digital marketing and content management programs find prospective product users where they are online and drive them to specific sites. These programs significantly decrease the time required to bring a new product to market, and also result in actual, verifiable patients.
- Doctor Participation: Digital marketing can be used to cost-effectively identify, target and drive patients to participating doctors, physicians, and clinics. Medical professionals become more of a partner in the process, sorting through the patient inquiries and answering questions from interested parties, rather than being expected to present the device to patients on their own. Marketers can also take advantage of the fact that doctors utilize the internet to access product information.
- Performance Tracking: The online marketing world is a fluid environment, where tastes and habits evolve quickly from one pattern to another. Marketers need to keep a close eye on trends, while routinely analyzing the results of their current digital efforts. Performance tracking allows for daily monitoring, and lends itself to the ability to ramp up communications for successful outlets and decrease or re-strategize efforts for unsuccessful channels.
Calendar year marketing strategies need to be replaced by fluid-motion strategies which can quickly respond to market events and opportunities. As another year draws to a close, medical device marketers will find that it is necessary to consider how best to include digital marketing components, content management, and tracking features in order to design a program that provides marketing solutions which can be tracked to appointment and return on investment.