We’re used to hearing about how the pandemic has changed many different aspects of life – propelling the uptake of telehealth, increasing demand for online shopping, and doubling the use of food-delivery apps to name but a few lasting changes.
The pandemic has changed MedTech’s use of digital marketing too. There’s now far less reliance on sales reps visiting individual doctors and much greater uptake of digital channels that can reach a wider audience of healthcare professionals.
MedTech now puts more money into digital marketing
In early 2021, global consulting company, McKinsey, conducted a survey of 100 MedTech companies in the US and EU5 (UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain).
Five years ago, 65% of companies surveyed spent no more than 20% of their marketing budget on digital marketing. By 2020, 74% of EU5 companies and 84% of US companies had shifted more of their budget to digital marketing, with 1 in 5 now directing over 50% of their marketing budget to digital.
Those are compelling statistics.
Why have these companies changed their behaviour and invested a growing percentage of their budget in digital marketing? Because it works. More than half the US respondents to McKinsey’s survey say digital marketing has increased their ROI by 20% or more.
Leveraging digital marketing for MedTech
Digital marketing essentially means any form of marketing that happens online accessed by an electronic device. Think search engines, social media, email, websites, pay-per-click ads, online product launches – there are so many opportunities here.
An effective digital marketing strategy can enable MedTech companies to connect with current or potential customers and provide added value beyond any one particular device.
You can leverage digital marketing for:
- Brand awareness: Digital marketing enables you to promote your brand so that the right people recognise you, automatically associate you with meeting a particular need (e.g. headache = paracetamol) and trust you to deliver. Increased brand awareness doesn’t happen overnight. It’s the result of multiple sustained efforts over time to build strong relationships with your clients that enable you to gain, maintain and advance your position in the market.
- Lead generation: Digital marketing is ideal for lead generation, enabling you to place your brand before your ideal customer’s eyes in many different ways, across many different channels and so nudge them further down your sales funnel until they convert. Having a clear buyer persona or avatar enables you to hone your marketing efforts to connect with a particular target audience and generate high quality leads through gated content, ads or webinars.
- Product launches: The pandemic’s impact on trade shows and conferences has driven many product launches online. In the McKinsey survey, 80% of companies had used email and social-media campaigns to launch a new product in 2020, while 65 percent had launched products at online conferences. Social media, paid campaigns and email marketing enable you to create some buzz before your launch. During your online event, you can use digital tools to increase engagement through polls or surveys, further building people’s relationship to your brand.
- Enhancing the sales process: Digital marketing enables you to be right there with a solution when your client searches for one. These are people who already have interest in the kind of thing you offer and a high degree of purchase intent. You just need to position yourself as their ideal solution, which can be done through your website and social media presence (including LinkedIn).
- Creating competitive differentiation: You go to Hungry Jacks because ‘The burgers are better’. You’re a Telstra customer because ‘You don’t need Australia’s best network…until you do’. You buy M&Ms because they ‘Melt in your mouth, not your hand’. Digital marketing enables you to create competitive differentiation not just in your tagline or advertising slogans but also in your interactions with potential customers and the targeted messages you can send to people at different stages of the sales funnel. Done well, your audience feels like you understand their pain points better than the competition and have a superior solution.
- Measuring marketing performance for future marketing efforts: Digital marketing gives you rich data about your marketing efforts. You can see how many people clicked on your ad, visited your website, bounced or stayed and how many converted. You can continually refine your marketing, doing more of what worked and increasing your ROI.
The best digital channels for MedTech
Hopefully you’re now convinced that digital marketing is a good investment for your MedTech company. But where should you spend your budget? Which channels work best?
The most popular digital channels for MedTech companies are:
- Email: If someone was interested enough to share their email address, then they’re a warm lead you should follow up. Better still, spend some time segmenting your email database so you can target your messages to tempt particular sub-groups.
- Search engine marketing: No company can afford to ignore Google. Searches are done by people looking for a solution to a problem they’ve identified – you want them to find you. An effective Google ad scoops up these interested buyers and delivers your solution. Meanwhile investing in improvements to your website – including its on–page SEO, load speed, keyword targeting and calls to action – helps to improve your rankings and organic search performance.
- Social media, organic and paid: Where is your audience? For MedTech social media marketing, we recommend cultivating a following of people in their professional roles on Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.
- HCP web portal: Consider building a portal on your website for healthcare professionals. Here you can educate them about your product, provide trouble-shooting guidance or thought-leadership articles and create a community that others belong to. If your product is something like a remote monitoring device that healthcare professionals recommend to their patients, you’re actually cultivating unofficial brand ambassadors here. The other benefit, it complies with TGA regulations.
- Website: Your own website is your most valuable sales tool. It needs to be tailored to your target audience, showcase the value you offer and provide regular calls to action, such as signing up for a demo or free trial. As mentioned above, it needs to perform well from an SEO perspective. And, on a related point, it should use a mobile-first design. Unlike a printed brochure, your website is not static. It needs to be updated regularly in its design, imagery and copy in order to keep appealing to your ideal clients and to keep pace with Google’s ranking algorithms.
- Industry-specific media sites: Where does your target audience go to keep abreast of industry news and trends? Make a list of online publications (think Pulse IT or Medical Republic) and cultivate a relationship by sending them your media releases, offering an interview or writing an opinion piece. Content-hungry publications may welcome this more than you think and reward you with regular mentions that boost your brand awareness and credibility.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: choose a number of digital channels and develop a coordinated strategy to ensure that they all reinforce one another, rather than operate in isolation.
This is omnichannel marketing, a consumer-centric view of marketing that recognises that your customers are all over the internet and want you to be too.
If you look at the channels identified above, it’s likely that your ideal client spends a bit of time on Twitter, engages in professional discussions on LinkedIn, reads their emails, does a Google search when they need information or support and follows the paid or organic links that appear in their search results.
Do they see you in each of those places? Is your brand consistent in its visuals and messaging? Is the content you provide informed by your previous engagement with them? For example, your email might note that they recently downloaded your guide and would they now like to book a demo?
How can Splice Marketing help?
As an experienced digital marketing agency with a growing number of MedTech clients, Splice Marketing is ideally placed to help you establish a strong digital presence to connect with healthcare professionals (many of them are our clients too).
We’ve helped brands like Cochlear, Baxter Compounding, Mölynlycke, Hartmann and Sonova to build brand awareness, launch products and gain new clients among Australian doctors, health service managers and allied health professionals.
Our staff have been trained by the TGA to understand the regulatory framework for advertising therapeutic goods in Australia meaning we can keep you compliant and so protect your brand image.
If you need to build a robust online presence for your MedTech company, then please book your free 30-minute consultation with Splice CEO, Ellie Bakker, today.