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Q&A – Medical device marketers highlight what’s next in the industry

Q&A – Medical device marketers highlight what’s next in the industry

ExL had the pleasure of speaking with several members of our speaking faculty, who’ll be on hand to present at this year’s 9th Digital Marketing for Medical Devices conference on August 5–7 in Minneapolis, MN. We asked each medical devices marketing professional how they think the industry has evolved, the challenges they continue to face and emerging technologies – topics that will be highlighted during the event. Download a copy of the program agenda to review.

Speakers Victorria Wytcherley, Senior Marketing, Digital Marketing Lead, PHILIPS, Liz Presson, Digital Media and Community Experience, OTICON MEDICAL and Nick Wanliss , Digital Marketing Specialist, ENT, MEDTRONIC were more than happy to share their expert opinion. Here’s what our expert speakers had to say during our Q&A.

ExL Events: How has digital marketing for the medical devices industry evolved in the last 5 years? What’s worked/working?

Victorria Wytcherley: The digital space has become a welcomed channel for Philips customers and consumers of medical devices – from gathering information on products (including user manuals) to finding communities of fellow product users. This latter group becomes a wealth of information to product manufacturers because it provides insights, both good and bad, about how the products are working, what could work better, what consumers long for. And for our customers, the DMEs who sell on our behalf, it has allowed us to sell directly to them for faster supply and resupply.

Liz Presson: Digital marketing for the medical devices industry has evolved in that patients, more than ever before, are seeking out other patients to share opinions and experiences with. A recent survey by WEGO health reported that while 98% of patient influencers surveyed share on Facebook, 94% report that they are members of health-related peer-to-peer groups and that Facebook groups are the most valuable experience on the platform. Medical device companies cannot just have a business page on Facebook and expect to engage patients, they must find ways to create and foster community among peers.

Additionally, and not surprisingly, context is key. Advertising on social media is a great way to reach highly targeted audiences, but the content of ads must be not only contextual to the social media channel, but to the person you’re aiming to reach. The copy, creative, and call to action must be specific, engaging, and variations must be tested to vet what works and what doesn’t. There’s more opportunity to reach people in a meaningful way than ever before, but as the conversation increases, so must our efforts in being a part of that conversation.

ExL: What has stayed stagnant? Challenges you continue to face as a devices marketer?

Victorria Wytcherley: Challenges include the lack of a standardized format when distributing content online for our customers. Each e-store is different, requiring different assets. It takes a lot of time to prep these for our customers on an individual basis.

Liz Presson: As any true form of connection does, success takes time, and often as device marketers we need to show business value right away. A common challenge is educating our organizations on the expectations throughout a digital program. What I find in my work is that if we report on the ultimate conversion right away and lose focus on the steps along the way—awareness, engagement, and interest—we can lose our organization’s perceived value and investment in digital marketing.

What I suggest—

Map out the journey and show what key performance indicators to focus and when with benchmarks that set expectations based on real industry data. If you can, show a case study from another organization that has reached the level of success you are aiming for. If your organization has customer service or brand values, show how the digital engagement your program is generating aligns with and supports those values.

ExL: What are some emerging technologies that can assist device marketers in better understanding and building targeted customer personas and creating strategies that convert?

Victorria Wytcherley: Amazon B2B is something that could help our DMEs/customers in the long-term – providing a marketplace to get competitive pricing and fast service. Also, providing products to online feed brokers such as Salsify, WebCollage or Channel Advisor so that online customers can have the latest/greatest Philips information at their fingertips would help immensely. I also think that our direct-to-consumer engagements, as a Philips brand, also help our customers with education and specific product knowledge.

Liz Presson: Emerging technologies make it an exciting time to be a device marketer today. There are a number of platforms and technologies that can help us better understand our customers and create pathways for conversion. For example, Google Responsive Ads are a valuable tool we utilize in our work. Google Responsive ads help us understand what combination of headlines, copy, and calls to action resonate with target audiences. We enter multiple headlines and descriptions, and over time, Google will automatically test different combinations and learn which combinations perform best. This not only puts AI to work for campaign performance, but we can take this data and knowledge into other digital campaigns and online and offline content. Another tactic is user testing. A number of companies offer user testing, which connects us with a specific audience who can then provide feedback on a digital experience. And one of the most cost-effective options in better understanding customers, social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter have built-in interactive functionality like polls and quizzes.

ExL: We often hear how much marketers struggle to better collaborate with sales and vice versa, how have you made an effort to collaborate with your sales department and other key players in the medical device marketing ecosystem?

Victorria Wytcherley: This is a challenge for us within the sleep and respiratory business. The sales cycle is very quick, as opposed to selling an MRI machine, so the nurturing and high touch CRM that we would use in some device streams don’t necessarily work for us. Using the same tool (Salesforce, for example) would help immensely to connect our sales and our marketing objectives together. This is a way that technology can help on both fronts.

Liz Presson: One of the most valuable ways marketers can collaborate with sales and vice versa is to share customer insights. As marketers, we should not only be broadcasting to healthcare professionals and patients but having real conversations. When we do this successfully, we aren’t just collecting the highlights and success stories, but hearing about pain-points and key decision making factors along the journey. This deep understanding helps both marketing and sales perform at a higher level and serve the organization in a more efficient and authentic way. One of the best methods we’ve found to share this level of information from marketing to sales—and even to the organization as a whole—is to compile insights into a 5-10 minute monthly audio clip. That way, team members can listen to it much like they listen to their favorite podcast on the way to work.  

Nick Wanliss also provided some feedback on the topic. “Digital marketing in the medical device industry has certainly evolved in the last 5 years and will continue to evolve,” says Wanliss.

While the tactic of digital marketing has and continues to rapidly develop, the medical device industry due to its high regulation has tried its best to keep up. The proliferation of devices’ capable of accessing digital media led to sudden growth. With the development and influence of social media in the late 2000s , such as LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, consumers became highly dependent on digital electronics in daily lives. Therefore, they expected a seamless user experience across different channels for searching product’s information. The change of customer behavior improved the diversification of marketing technology. Tactics such as search engine optimization as well as email marketing have helped marketers understand their customer base through metrics and build “customer personas” which help with delivering truly targeted messages.

The challenges as a marketer that we are all faced with is understanding when to use the right tactic, developing appropriate messaging although you may have an established target audience and also dealing with what to say and not to say due to the high regulation within the industry as this often times effects the timeliness of a message when using a tactic such as social media.

Some emerging technologies and trends that can help marketers in understanding and building a targeted customer persona and creating strategies that convert would be:

SEO A/B Split Testing – This tactic is used in email marketing. Marketing is all about testing, which is why SEO A/B split testing tops our list for 2019. Search engine optimization A/B split testing, like all split testing, allows you to isolate the variables increasing traffic so you can take a targeted approach to content changes. Various platforms will suggest pages with untapped SEO potential, a high-impression count but low click-through rate (CTR), which can be improved to increase clicks and traffic. It allows you choose your target CTR increase, then it serves up pages along with a keyword report that lists what your page is ranking for and which keywords will help you get more traffic. You make changes to title, meta description, title tag and body content, which are automatically reflected on your site. Run the experiment for at least 15 days and it will show you how many more clicks you’re getting and the revenue you’re gaining from the click increase. SEO A/B split testing squeezes the most SEO juice out of your site and gives the insight into the variables that move the needle.

 Engagement-Based Email Marketing – As email marketing is getting smarter, marketers have started to care more about sending emails to subscribers who are active on their lists. For instance, if a contact highly engages with your emails, they should be regularly nurtured with content and updates about the therapy or related product until he converts into a loyal customer. If a subscriber hasn’t opened an email for a certain period of time, they  will be considered as a dormant contact and will no longer receive additional emails. To send the right email to the right segment, marketers need to identify all their leads behaviors. If the platforms they are using have limitations to classify their audience into different segments based on their behaviors, they can integrate their tools with other applications that allow them to do that. After all data is determined and different segments are created according to defined criteria, marketers will be able to target their leads more effectively with behavioral-based emails. To reinforce a more personalized manifestation of sending engagement-based emails, an obvious direction is resurfacing again: plain text emails. This sends those engagement-based emails in a more individualized and hand-crafted way to the targeted user, which gives a more personalized aspect to the communicated piece. Moreover, because HTML style emails containing detailed graphics may increase the potential for spam, marketers are considering plain texts as alternative ways to minimize this problem. Besides, plain text emails address the need of the user and improve the engagement rate.

Content Personalization – The need for a personalized approach in marketing is becoming more critical than ever. Although delivering the right content to the right audience at the right time is tricky, it will add a big value to your content marketing strategy because it plays a major role in boosting your users engagement rates. Personalizing or customizing content for audience relies on visitors data in order to deliver relevant content. It consists of showing dynamic landing pages based on specific criteria such as geographic, demographic or behavioral attributes with highly targeted call to actions for the purpose of converting them more effectively. Requiring visitors to confirm their locations once they land on a site in order to deliver accurate, geo-targeted offerings.. Although this trend has been a common practice in the recent years, it’s expected to rise in importance in 2019 with an estimate to be worth more than $400B by 2021.

 Augmented and Virtual Reality Marketing – Augmented reality ads is one of the major applications that are now used by some marketers. It’s a way to bring static or unreal environments into a more realistic experience, something that would integrate the “offer” with the “reality” of the buyer. Aside AR ads, many businesses have been using augmented and virtual reality marketing for the purpose of creating brand awareness. This trend which is not new, is one of the most highlighted trends for 2019. According to Statista, AR and VR market size worldwide are expected to reach $209.2 billion in only 4 years.

Video Marketing – These numbers show the importance of incorporating video into your digital marketing strategy in 2019:

·  70% of consumers say that they have shared a brand’s video.

·  72% of businesses say video has improved their conversion rate.

·  52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in online purchase decisions.

·  65% of executives visit the marketer’s website and 39% call a vendor after viewing a video.

Don’t just think YouTube. To witness higher engagement with your video marketing, you can make a video post or start a live stream on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn. With ever-decreasing costs of film equipment and the increasingly high-quality smartphone cameras, businesses and marketers are heading for personalized video messages rather than phone calls or emails, which is called the 1:1 video approach. YouTube and other videos are displayed in the SERPs, so video SEO is becoming much more important – like using text overlays and closed captions, in addition to your description, title and file names.

  1. Bridging the gap between sales and marketing is a topic that continues to be at the center of many businesses. Marketing holds onto leads much longer than ever before, and they are focused on developing and nurturing relationships with leads before handing them off to Sales to make it easier to connect with customers. More and more organizations are bringing inside sales (or lead qualifiers) into the Marketing organization, a role that used to sit within sales. Reducing the number of cold leads and increasing the number of warm leads makes the process of closing deals faster for the Sales team.  Having an effective Sales team which can close the deals efficiently generates revenue and ensures that the Marketing team’s efforts are not wasted. It is important that  Sales and Marketing teams value one another, and recognize the potential they have when working together. What makes a successful relationship:
    1. Communication – Ensure there is an open line of communications between sales and marketing in terms of strategy and goals
    2. Understand the Customer – Ensure there is an open line of communications between sales and marketing in terms of strategy and goals
    3. Refresh & Implement Collateral & New Tools for Sales to Use – Digital tools that encourage engagement, communication and organization such as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. Create templated messages for sales force to use with customer base. This is one way to ensure that the marketing message is not only delivered in a creative way but will also help with future lead nurturing

These are just some of the topics discussed, and much more, during ExL Events’ long-running devices marketing events. Want to join us? Register now to reserve your seat! Take advantage of 15% savings off standard rates with discount code DM19BLOG.

For group rates, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Delegate Program Manager, Adriana Murillo, by phone or (919) 258-5142 or by email [email protected].

We look forward to seeing you in Minneapolis this August!

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