Flynnsights // June 30, 2022

The Key To Med Device Marketing?

Act like a solver of problems, not a seller of products.

Rob Wojtowicz

Rob Wojtowicz

Creative Supervisor

Charlotte McCabe

Charlotte McCabe

Creative Director

Make your advertising stand out in a homogenous environment and a hyper-regulated industry by “getting creative” in a way that resonates with your highly literal audience. The key is finding an insight and using these tips to make your product mean something to them on a deeper level.

First, the realities.

Want clinicians to pay attention to your ad? You’ve got a lot of competition. According to Reuters, the U.S. healthcare industry spends about $30 billion* every year on marketing.

Plus, clinicians are more time-crunched than ever. Between caring for patients, dealing with emergencies, cutting through administrative red tape—and trying to keep up with the dizzying pace of advancements in techniques and technology—there’s not a lot of time for them to sit down with your carefully crafted and detailed product brochure. Some clinicians have gatekeepers that filter the communications before they even see it.

Now, the good news.

Does that mean you should give up? Heck no. Even though there are a lot of competitive ads out there, most of them look exactly the same:

You get the idea. Similarly, the copy is usually just ripped from the pages of the product brochure, with adjectives such as breakthrough, innovative, or unsurpassed. So, there’s actually an opportunity to stand out and catch the eyes of clinicians as they’re scrolling through this sea of sameness. You just have to find a way to do something, anything differently.

Okay, stop with the eye rolls.

Believe us, we know—it’s not easy to do something really different when you’re dealing with an audience that’s logical, literal, and apt to want to see clinical proof before they believe anything you’re saying. And yes, when it comes to facing compliance and regulatory departments and their creative-seeking missiles, we bear the scars of battle.

Obviously, “getting creative” means something different when you’re selling medical devices rather than potato chips. But the effectiveness of your campaign hinges on it. Take those product claims and clinical data points and find an insight that allows you to take your message a step further—not simply what your product does, but what that means to clinicians.

Start with research.

Parsing your audience is hyper-critical in healthcare marketing. Even within the same practice area, there are many different specialties. Who exactly are you talking to? Your audience needs to be as finely targeted, and the content as customized, as your budget will allow. Otherwise, your message is falling on deaf ears and you’re throwing money in the medical-waste bin.

Once you’ve targeted your audience, find out what makes them tick. What are their pain points? What’s keeping them up at night? What trends are making their days even more challenging? Does your product directly address any of those hot buttons in a unique way? If so, you’ve found your insight. Then look at what your competitors are doing—and whatever you do, don’t do that.

Lead with the insight. Back it up with the data.

Once you’ve found your insight, make that the centerpiece that draws the audience in. Don’t clog up your ad with a list of five features and benefits. The more daunting it looks to digest, the less likely you are to stop the scroll. Leave the fine details to the longer-format pieces like white papers, landing pages—and yes, brochures.

Because as most experts agree, doctors are actually human. Beneath that clinical exterior lies a person with feelings who reacts emotionally to their feed, just like the rest of us. Make a connection that’s emotional as well as rational, and you’re more likely to win their attention.

Sometimes all it takes is a little twist.

Look at your audience’s persona and put yourself in their shoes. What would make them say “hmmmm…”? Or, “Yep, that’s me”? Suppose your product is designed to address a chronic medical condition that’s likely to frustrate the clinician as well as the patient. Instead of just saying “Proven to improve patient outcomes,” try something like “Relieves patient symptoms. And practitioner headaches.”

Stuck with product photography or a finite library of images on a limited visual budget? Do something different with them. Try a branded-color tint or a unique crop. Best of all, make them move. Video is ideal (and mobile-friendly), but if you can’t afford it, turn that chart or data point into an animated GIF. Have a testimonial from a peer? Take the juiciest 10-second quote and turn it into a social post.

Test and optimize.

Unsure of which way to go? Run a limited test with a couple of different approaches. Make sure to change only one element of the creative between approach A and approach B (for example, static image vs. video)—that way, if there’s a significant difference in performance, then you’ll know which element was responsible. When you find out what’s working and what’s not, you can adjust the creative on the fly to maximize your results.

Talk to clinicians like a colleague.

More than anything, clinicians want to provide great care for their patients, and see their practices flourish. Anything that makes it easier for them to do these things can catch their eye.

All the usual stuff—patient outcomes, technical advances, clinical data from trusted sources, case studies, peer-reviewed research—needs to be a part of your campaign. We know clinicians respond to it. But that’s table stakes. Your competitors likely have those things too. You have to wrap it in a more compelling package.

You might have a great product that does really cool stuff and is way better than the competition. But if you approach your message in that way—“hey, look at how great we are”—it’ll sound like just another sales pitch and look like more faceless feed-filler.

Dig deeper to find the insight that lets them know you want to be a partner, not just a provider.

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