Avoiding a False Start – Marketing Tips For the Successful Commercialization of Novel Medical Device

The successful launch of a novel medical device technology requires a coordinated effort between several functional groups within the company. The coalescence of these group’s activities in line with a predetermined project timeline are essential to timely and successful product commercialization. Marketing team members play a vital role in this process beginning with providing market insight during the initial concept development phase through conducting a post-commercialization assessment of launch planning activities and marketing tactics.

A failed product launch can be disastrous from a financial perspective and to the reputation of the product’s brand in the marketplace. Since companies only have one chance to launch a product, it is vital that launch planning and preparedness activities cover the entire scope of known and potentially unknown roadblocks which could affect successful product introduction into the marketplace. As a result of its integral role as a part of the commercialization process, marketing has the primary responsibility for many of these activities.

While providing insight on the full range of marketing activities required for a successful product launch is beyond the scope of this article, the following are four key areas, based on the author’s experience, where good marketing planning and execution can help get the product successfully out the blocks without stumbling.

Obtaining Customer Feedback

From initial concept development through post-launch assessment, customer input into the design and positioning of new medical devices is essential. Attempting to bring a product to market without adequate customer feedback, or even worse, disregarding customer feedback, will ultimately limit product acceptance in the marketplace.

Examples of customer feedback parameters which are commonly obtained as a part of this process include validating market assumptions, assessment of the competitive environment, input on product specifications, determining the product’s value proposition, developing and testing product positioning, and obtaining feedback on the product’s ease of use. It is important to develop a decision making process which can be followed when heeding customer feedback would results in an increase in product development or manufacturing costs, or if implementing changes based on the customer input significantly changes the timeline for product launch.

Developing a Targeting Strategy

Identifying and targeting market segments which will result in a steeper adoption curve is vital to getting a strong start out of the blocks with a new medical device technology. Assessing differing market segments should not only be solely based upon the market potential, but also on the potential barriers to entry which may exist within these segments.

Market segments with the highest number of patients or procedural volumes may not always represent the best “first” markets to approach. These segments are often associated with greater competitive pressures due to the market opportunities they represent, or may be associated with higher visibility within a hospital setting from either a product approval or cost-cutting perspective. Segmenting customers by technology adoption characteristics is also important. Focusing initial launch activities towards early adopters who are quick to understand the potential benefits of the technology and limiting efforts directed at late adopters who require substantial clinical experience and more scientific evidence will maximize resources and drive initial sales growth.

Creating Economic Value

Most hospitals now have policies and procedures in place which require the review of new products prior to their use or purchase by the hospital. This has resulted in an expanded number of individuals who are involved in the decision making process and a greater focus on the cost impact of the technology to the hospital. Having evidence that a new medical technology provides a clinical benefit to patients is often not sufficient to gain entry into the hospital and many hospitals are now requesting cost justification analyses which demonstrate the economic impact of the adoption of the technology at their institution.

In order to demonstrate the economic value associated with a new technology, marketing must provide both the background training and the appropriate tools to empower the sales organization to communicate this type of information to customers. A typical tool is a pro-forma economic model where variables can be inputted based on clinical results associated with the products use and either standardized or customer specific cost data.

Developing a Publication Strategy

A successful product launch necessitates a meticulous plan for effectively communicating the value of a new medical technology along with developing a strategy for addressing anticipated objections from the marketplace. A key component of this strategy is the development and execution of a comprehensive publication plan. The timely execution of an effective publication strategy can accelerate the adoption of a new medical technology.

The sequential development and submission of manuscripts to key journals which target specific customer segments is needed to insure they receive continuous and pertinent information about the product. The overall objective for a publication strategy should be to disseminate clinical and economic information which supports the benefits and the positioning of the Company’s technology.

Conclusion

The development and timely execution of a comprehensive strategic launch plan is a requirement for the successful commercialization of a new medical technology. Proactive marketing leadership as a part of a product development and commercialization team can help to insure that potential hurdles in the marketplace are identified and addressed in advance of a product launch resulting in a greater potential for initial market success.

Medical Technology PR Strategies for a Successful Product Launch

You have produced a medical technology that is a breakthrough in the field of medicine, the next thing to do is to let the world know about it. The best medical technology will be of no use if it is not being noticed by the right people. Employing the aid of a professional medical technology PR service provider is the first step to reach the right people and be noticed by the public. This is crucial, especially for a successful product launch. Here are a few tips for an effective medical technology PR prior to a product launch.

Value your PR

For startups or businesses that offer new medical technology, the role of PR in a product launch should not be underestimated. In the current marketing scenario, the effectiveness of advertising decreases, the value of articles and quality content increases. Relevant and fresh PR enables your company not only to gain visibility but also credibility among important persons such as investors, industry peers, and customers.

Write a high-quality press release

PR experts know the importance of content creation and press release in medical technology PR strategies. A high-quality content and relevant press release offer a perception of an actively growing company. This also opens opportunities for acquiring investors and financers due to the increased local visibility of the brand. By producing share-worthy stories for social media, you can increase your brand awareness and gain followers. Consistently relevant press releases can also open an opportunity for your company to be an expert resource for journalists. However, despite the numerous benefits of press releases, not all companies are diligent enough to write them.

For you to maximize the benefits of PR prior to a launch, it helps to produce a high-quality press release to help you boost your brand reputation. If you are able to come up with a cutting-edge medical technology, you are certainly capable of producing a buzz-worthy press release. Expert PR companies can help you identify newsworthy topics from your expertise and share them with the public in the most informative and interesting way.

Look at different angles

If you are wondering what to include in your press release or if you want to write several press releases prior to your launch, there are several topics for you to explore aside from the launch itself. For instance, you can describe the process involved in the initial testing or the work being done with a prototype. You may also share the approval or quality certification you have acquired for the current technology side by side with the awards and recognition you have received. You can also discuss new or updated documentation about your product as well as emerging applications for your technology. You can write a customer case study or share the milestone of units sold and plans for expansion or investments. These are just some of the things you can write about in a press release so you don’t miss the opportunities that may come by simply writing one.

Keep up to date with the current events

One way to produce a relevant and timely content or press release is by tying it up with a current event. Some topics related to the medical field include flu season, soldier safety, returning veterans, healthcare reforms and costs, mobile tools for disease management, disaster relief, etc. Just remember that when mentioning a current event or a crisis, your content should include ways on how your company or product can help in addressing the situation. Avoid including trending stories that are unrelated to what you do since this will not be helpful to you and can possibly harm your reputation.