The pandemic has altered buyers’ behaviors. Nearly half of healthcare professionals (HCPs) expect few in-person interactions with sales reps. Medtech companies, therefore, are ramping up their digital marketing capabilities to engage with HCPs and healthcare systems more effectively. They have developed skills to implement marketing campaigns through email, social media, and other means and improved their positions in search engines. They have also adopted new commercial disciplines like digital-channel management, web platform, and app management.
Leading medtech companies are using digital marketing and analytics to tailor content and the timing and format of their interactions with HCPs, to improve engagement, revenue, and returns.
Current medtech digital marketing scenario
In a survey, McKinsey reached out to the marketing leadership in 100 companies, of which 44 were from the US and the rest from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The survey found that companies in the medtech sector are increasing budgets sharply year over year. In 2017, their average spend on digital marketing was 20 percent of their overall marketing budget, and now in 2022, at least 20 percent of them have allocated more than half of their marketing budgets to digital marketing.
Funds are used in four key areas: launch of new products, generation of leads, development of omnichannel experience, and analytics.
Launch of new products
Medtech product launches have mainly shifted to digital channels. Eighty percent of the survey respondents said they launched a new product through email or social media, and 65 percent at online conferences.
Generation of leads
According to the survey, 45 percent of companies generated leads through email campaigns during product launches, and 40 percent used social media campaigns. Interestingly, one company used persona study to craft tailored messages in post-sales digital communication.
Seventy-four percent of the respondents said they invest in analytics to help them craft a solid value proposition. Analytics helped them go beyond a single product proposition and offer complementary solutions that create value for the facility, HCPs, and patients. The campaigns yielded better results by integrating analytics with other marketing and sales channels. Some used artificial intelligence to create integrated data pipelines and dashboards to assist sales reps in segmenting and prioritizing each account. It enabled them to engage with each healthcare provider in a more customer-centric way, providing the right solutions for their needs.
Medtech companies are investing in providing omnichannel experiences for the HCPs, and healthcare systems. They believe it will help them get higher engagement with the HCPs, both in the digital and real-world, regardless of location, often combining cross-division with multichannel campaigns.
What's the payoff?
A 10 percent increase in their ROI? Is that all? Does that satisfy the CEO and the shareholders? For a CEO and the shareholders, it is about revenue growth and ROI. Today, most CEOs (about 78 percent) are banking on their marketing leadership, including the CMO, to drive growth. Executives across the globe are prioritizing investments in capabilities that help accelerate growth.
The market scenario post-2021 is full of growth opportunities. The medtech industry has enormous potential, and the possibilities are endless. How should marketers take advantage of the situation? Where are they going wrong? What are the new strategies to learn, adapt, and implement in this highly competitive and complicated digital market?
Insights on implementing medtech digital marketing
Medtech companies have seen initial success with digital marketing, and now it is time for them to take it to the next level. It is easier said than done when competition for customer attention and loyalty has intensified.
Marketing tactics and tools do not win hearts and minds; they help reach out and convey messages. So, messages are the core, and the foundation on which they are built matters the most. The aim is to grab people’s attention in a cluttered world and drive them to a collection of content that galvanizes them to join the effort.
The following steps will make that possible:
Growth Triple Play
Medtech companies need to unify creativity, analytics, and purpose and build an agile content model that enables personalized content creation.
Creativity is an indispensable part of the marketing story; it is the starting point, the origin of all breakthrough ideas and imaginative campaigns. Add purpose to creativity and deploy analytics with a goal.
The purpose must be larger than life and not just to ring the bell for another transaction, and it must be intrinsic to the brand’s narrative. Creativity, analytics, and purpose can reinforce each other, and it can be the growth formula for MedTech companies.
Integration of sales and marketing endeavors
Making an omnichannel approach successful requires medtech companies to link digital marketing to other channels, including inside sales and face-to-face sales reps. Integration of the marketing and sales teams should start from the time of onboarding of the sales reps, customer service reps, and human resources. It will help the sales and customer service reps establish communication with the HCPs to clearly understand the purpose, timing, and method of engagement for each interaction.
Defining ownership clearly
Medtech companies must establish a center of excellence (CoE) with those responsible for creating content tailored for the digital marketing strategy. All the content must be stored in a repository accessible to regions across the globe. Regions can extract the content from the repository and localize it, making it culturally relevant and regulatory compliant. However, we must draw a line on the extent of modification, as alterations can dilute the intended messaging.
Using an in-house agency hybrid
Marketing leaders who have attempted in-housing admit they have struggled to build a functioning department. In a survey, over 33 percent of chief marketers said bringing marketing, advertising, and communications functions in-house is an “operational nightmare”. The model often turns out to be cookie-cutter. The lack of flexibility in how companies work might not get the best out of their people’s creativity and intelligence. The best option is a hybrid combination of how an agency and a company work.
By partnering with a full-service agency for strategic content creation, the in-house team will access resources with special skills like research, strategy, buyer persona building, crafting content, editing, and SEO all in one place, leading to more creativity and intelligence.
Creating the right content for digital marketing in medtech
Marketing tactics and tools to woo customers are the world’s oldest skill, but if we do not align them to the need of the hour, it can end up a damp squib. It’s all about communication and shaping it, which means creating the right content. Strategic decision-making in this area can save marketing teams a lot of heartburn, and partnering with full-service content agencies can lead to an enduring result that hits the bull’s eye for companies.