It’s fair to say that historically the marketing approach within the medical devices industry has been focused on the planning, forecasting and production of products rather than on marketing itself. No doubt a key explanation for this has been the channels that were previously available to effectively, and ethically, market medical devices.
Before the rise of the internet, traditional methods of advertising would include press, radio, TV, word of mouth and leaflets to name a few. With the exception of word of mouth, very few of these channels were appropriate for promoting medical devices, for obvious reasons, and this remains true to this day. Whilst word of mouth continues to be an effective way of marketing devices, it’s also become increasingly apparent that gaining access to our customers is an ever greater challenge. With the growth of the internet, and the ever increasing number of platforms available to market products online, are companies taking advantage of these new opportunities to reach their target audience, or are companies stuck in their field sales approach?
Amongst the different industry groups, it is evident that healthcare is frequently ranked amongst the lowest when it comes to their investment in digital marketing. Indeed, evidence from Deloitte demonstrates that healthcare and pharma rank the lowest, behind virtually every other industry.
These results indicate the potential opportunities that exist for healthcare organisations to get ahead of the competition, if they can recognise that their customer base are increasingly interacting with information online! This is the reality. Clinicians are consumers like anybody else and with the continued transition to online methods of research and communication this is exactly where their potential customer base will be.
Evidence backs this up as information demonstrates that clinicians are interacting with content online with Deloitte indicating that 84% of clinicians surveyed are using efficacy and outcome data, from online sources, to influence their decision making.
This represents a further opportunity as the regulations surrounding the industry should ensure that companies have a wealth of data to present relevant content to their target market.
It is clear that the industry is lagging behind when it comes to digital marketing but the world isn’t standing still and companies cannot remain complacent if they want to remain relevant to their customer base! The opportunity is clear, and companies, as well as individuals, must step up and recognise that progress must be made. Digital marketing will undoubtedly play an increasingly important role within the medical devices industry.