The First Three Questions Before You Spend Money on Medical Marketing

medical device marketing plan

There are the first three questions you need to answer before you spend any marketing money. I ask them whenever I start a new project. In fact, I personally find it impossible to build a solid medical device marketing plan without these answers.

Now, the examples below are not necessarily medical in nature. (I am re-purposing content I wrote years ago.) But I consider these concepts seminal in our work. You may want to give these a read so we’re on the same page.

1. What is your key consumer insight? I had a consultation with a relationship therapist looking to establish a client base. She asked me, “How can I attract new clients in a cost effective way?”

I asked her a series of questions about her prospects. Her answers forced her to identify her strengths as a therapist and what type of client she wants.

How does your prospect feel about therapy? Has she ever said, “I don’t need a therapist; I can figure this out myself”?

Has your prospect ever been to talk therapy? Is your prospect in talk therapy now? If you attract this prospect, would he see you instead of his present therapist?

Has your prospect ever taken prescribed mood-enhancing medications? Does she still? If you attract this prospect, will she have to go to his present doctor for refills and see you?

Do you take insurance? If not, will your ideal prospect be able to afford you?

You can see where this is going. There are lots of perceptions about therapy, ranging from “I’m not crazy, I’m not going to a therapist,” to “I’ve been in therapy all my life.” Understanding your target’s need state is the first question to answer.

Before we continue… As a businessperson, it’s tempting to say, “I would take any of those clients.” It’s important to make the distinction between customers you’d accept versus customers you target. If someone walks through your door that you weren’t targeting but that you can (and want to) help, great! You just got a new customer.

For your marketing strategy, however, I recommend you focus your acquisition efforts around a few market segments. The logic is obvious. If the therapist in our example is looking to counsel recent divorcees, she’d spend her time and money differently than if she were targeting teenagers with low self esteem.

2. What is your source of volume? There are two basic choices here. Increasing the category and stealing share. (There are others: increasing pack rate and accelerating the replacement cycle, for example. Email me if you’d like me to write about them.)

Increasing the category. Cardiac Science sells AEDs (automated external defibrillators), potentially life-saving devices for the approximately 365,000 sudden cardiac arrest victims in North America each year. According to OSHA, the Occupational Safety + Health Administration, 13 percent of all workplace fatalities are sudden cardiac arrests. Yet, the penetration of AEDs is frightfully low.

When Cardiac Science advertises AEDs, it is looking to “increase the category” and putting AEDs where there were none before. Cardiac Science is building the overall size of the AED market.

Stealing share. Safeco Insurance provides a classic example for stealing share. Car insurance is mandatory in America. If you drive a car, you have car insurance (or you could be in really big trouble!).

So when Safeco solicits you for business, they ask you to switch from your present insurer to them. They are looking to steal market share. This is usually a zero-sum game.

3. What is your positioning statement? The first two questions help prepare you for this third one. I suggest this is the most important of the three.

Fill in these five blanks.
To (whom),
(who/what) is the (what is your frame of reference?)
that (what is the benefit that the “whom” will realize?)
because (what are your supporting claims?)

This is an exciting (if not scary) formula because it forces you to squarely identify what you’re about. See the differences among three of my positioning statements.

Splashing with Zach and Luke

To Zachary and Lucas, Joe Hage is the loving parent that gives you all the love and support you can handlebecause everything he does, he does for the two of you.

Joe Hage Medical MarketingTo Twelfth Night Productions theater company, Joe Hage is the easy-to-work with, versatile performer that’s sure to delight your audiences because Joe has a diverse musical comedy background including improvisational training, writing and performing for the Wharton Follies, and off-off Broadway experience.

Joe Hage Medical MarcomTo medical device manufacturers and distributors, Joe Hage is the CEO and Founder of Medical Marcom, a medical marketing consultancy specializing in marketing communications that will increase the quality and quantity of your medical leads because, at a publicly traded medical device company, Joe helped created an entirely new web presence and strategy, helped increased page views by 253 percent, introduced social media, and helped generate a lead pipeline in excess of $7 million.

Each of these positioning statements is so different, but it’s the same Joe Hage each time. For each, I’m positioning myself as the right person for the job – depending on the target’s need.

Your Next Step

Was this an easy read?

Were you nodding along throughout saying, “Yes, we know the answers to all these”?

If yes, go ahead and send us your three answers. We’ll be happy to give you our feedback.

If no, maybe we should talk?

And click here to get Michael Porter’s foundational book on competitive strategy.

P.S. Special thanks to Marc Gibeley. He taught me this – and more – early in my career at consumer packaged goods company Kraft Foods.

Tag: medical devices marketing

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  1. Any takers?

  2. Hi Joe,

    We haven’t met yet, but Martyn is our connection. I love the fill-in-the-five-blanks formula. It’s brilliant, and I can’t wait to use it.

  3. yara Anwer Saad says:

    I need more information about how to write a marketing plan for medical services .

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