The dawn of another new year always brings with it hopes of new ideas and great progress. This is true in business as well as in our personal lives. For medical device marketers, 2016 may represent a year of challenge as well as opportunity. Although the market continues to be strong and demand for medical devices is expected to remain high, more obstacles seem to be rising on the marketing front. Whether communicating to hospitals and physicians, or directly to end-consumer patients, it is getting more difficult than ever to locate a target audience, present a compelling message, and motivate a buying-oriented action.
As recently as 2013, a MedTech infographic posted on MDDI Online predicted that the medtech market would grow 6.4% each year through 2017. In addition it predicted that the medical device market itself would reach $134 billion by 2016. Orthopedic equipment represents a substantial portion of this market, while other significant product categories include therapeutic devices, cardiovascular devices, neuromodulation devices, diabetes devices, urology devices and surgical technologies. In the United States, overall healthcare spending as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, remains higher than anywhere else in the world.
Despite the huge market potential, there is a great deal of competition. SelectUSA reports that there are more than 6,500 medical device companies in the U.S. So how can any one company make itself stand out and garner market attention without busting the budget? The answer lies in shrewd marketing tactics which take advantage of digital communication outlets. Here are a few of the medical device marketing strategies which can help companies achieve their recognition and sales goals in 2016:
- Lead Generation Through Website Enhancement: No longer can a website just sit there and occupy space in the digital universe. It must earn its keep and be worthy of the investment made in it. Keywords and blogs can be used judiciously to bump up search engine traffic. Graphics, copy and page layout must take the visitor on a well-coordinated tour of learning and understanding. There must be a way for visitors to interact, ask questions, and receive answers. Website analytics and referral tracking will need to be in place to determine which site elements are working and which need to be revamped.
- Coordinated Content Strategy: Too often online content is only thought of as an afterthought. An event happens or a product is introduced and somebody thinks, “Hey, we should put this on the website.” While this is a good initial step, there is so much more online marketing that needs to be coordinated around such events. At the beginning of the year, the medical device marketer should map out a strategy for blogs, online PR, and social media that includes news about the company, anticipated product releases or updates, and educational information for the medical community as well as patients. A consistent stream of relevant information will catch the attention of the search engines as well as those who may be searching for information about a particular medical device at any one given point during the year.
- Direct Marketing Strategies: Better use of online targeting technologies will enable medical device marketers to implement Direct-to-Client or Direct-to-Corporate advertising strategies. These will sort through the confusion of what is available online, and direct prospects to websites or physician portals.
A consistent and coordinated digital presence lays the groundwork for establishing long-term connections and building trust. This trust can then be converted into interest, and eventually into increased sales. Implementing these strategies will make 2016 productive and profitable.