Tag Archives: Congruency in Messaging

Persuasive Power derived from the Benefit Pyramid+™, in Medical Device Marketing

Set up

I saw a half dozen posts this past week that announced New Medical Devices. So this INSIGHT goes out to those product managers that produced those notices.

Was there something inherently wrong in those announcements? No. Could they have been better? Yes. Given that they were merely announcements, they weren’t necessarily intended to convey the entire message. So please take this post as an opportunity to think deeper.

So how could they have been improved?

By applying the lessons of the Benefit Pyramid. Most of the content of the announcements referred to Attributes or Features of the devices. Seen in the image below, Attributes and Features have a low impact when persuading someone to act differently. I would offer that if a message that focuses on features is successful, it is because the clinician is projecting the benefit they might derive from those features. As a product manager, being intentional about messaging you will realize that counting on a very busy clinician to project a benefit is not as strong a position as you telling them how the device will be beneficial to them.

For most of us mortal marketers, we target benefits, for those among us who truly understand the psychographics of their targeted clinician customer we suggest or present an emotional benefit that they derive from using our devices.

In this post, I add one more element, hence the + sign. So this new benefit pyramid represents a change in the way I think about persuading clinicians to change their behaviors. It takes into account the ultimate persuader, a moral or social imperative. The closest I have ever gotten to explain the impact of a product as a moral imperative is when I market a safety device.

One only need look to the writings of the Greek physician Hippocrates to discover aspects of the medical ethos and why they might consider safety and having clinical data as a moral imperative.

Hippocratic Oath:

“I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous.”

Of the Epidemics:

“The physician must be able to tell the antecedents, know the present, and foretell the future — must mediate these things, and have two special objects in view with regard to disease, namely, to do good or to do no harm.”

Lesson(s)

  1. The higher up the Pyramid you can go the more power your persuasion will be
  2. Take the time to dig deep to discover the benefit your product will provide
  3. To tap the p persuasive power of the Benefit + Pyramid, you must authentically believe in what you are saying in your messaging

“Experience is what you get, right after you needed it most.”

Make it a great day!

Tim Walker

Tim Walker is the Principal consultant for The Experia Group. A small consulting firm that specializes in providing experience and expertise during critical device commercialization phases to increase the probability of success. www.theexperiagroup.com. Contact The Experia® Group for a free 30-minute consultation to determine if 30-years of experience can contribute to your success. tim@theexperiagroup.com.

 

© 2019, The Experia Group, LLC

On Amazon.

 

Social Cause Marketing with Medical Devices

Set up

Recently, I had a great discussion with a group of new medical device marketers. It was a great exchange of ideas. One of the topics that struck me was a question from a younger, recent graduate who was starting a career as a product manager.

Which comes first the Social cause or the Product?

The question was something like this, “I have been given the responsibility to launch a new line extension, and I would like to know how I choose the social cause that I use to market the new product?” I thought this was a great question. So I fired back, “What did your manager or director advise you to do?”

The response was, “That they told me if I wanted a great launch, I should leverage a social cause.” Having a social cause affiliated with a product launch can be a strong linkage to the product message and could, for a short time, aid in launching a new product.

An aside

There are several debatable points of view in Marketing, such as, which comes first the Brand or the Product? The Social cause or the Product? Strategy or tactics? To some in our profession, these topics are the same as the “chicken or egg” question.

 

If you have been a loyal reader of this blog, you will recall that I have positions on all three questions. The purpose is never to convince the reader that I am right, but rather to trigger a thought that might lead you to your informed view.

Back to the topic

In my view, we need to recognize that if we align with a social cause, as a company, a division, or a product line that we must make sure our messaging is congruent and authentic.   Without authenticity to the Social cause, it will be a trick. That is why the “Social cause” comes first! If a cause is core to your Brand or that of your company’s then, by all means, your commitment will come across as authentic. It will help explain why. Searching for a cause to attach to a product so that you can gain market leverage is not going to serve anyone over the long-term.

Remember that your Brand comes from who you are, what you believe, your entire life history.

A plea

Please do your homework and look deeper behind all techniques and fads. MVP, Social media, Social cause marketing are all great concepts if they are applied correctly. However, honestly they are just creative ways of using the basics; at the base is and always will be the 4 Ps. I now think of the basics as the 5 Ps and 2 Cs.

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion
  • Process
  • Customer
  • Competition

Ask yourself, what is my Brand? Who am I at my core? Be true to that core.

There are two more blog posts under development right now.   Watch for, “A return to the basics of messaging,” and “The Marketing Ethos for Medical Device Marketers, “both post coming soon.

Lessons

  1. Social cause marketing is power if it is real and is congruent with your product message.
  2. Tricks to promote a product are disingenuous and may work for a while, but won’t produce a positive long-term result.

“Experience is what you get, right after you need it most.”

Make it a great day!

Tim Walker

Tim Walker is the Principal consultant for The Experia Group. A small consulting firm that specializes in providing experience and expertise during critical device commercialization phases to increase the probability of success and relieve unhealthy tension. www.theexperiagroup.com. Contact The Experia® Group for a free 30-minute consultation to determine if 30-years of experience can contribute to your success. tim@theexperiagroup.com.

If you would like to own a collection of 33 lessons learned, Search Amazon for INSIGHTS: 33 lessons learned in medical device marketing.

© 2019, The Experia Group, LLC

State the Opportunity Size with Integrity, Medical Device Marketing

The Story:

I just completed teaching a Marketing Management course at the MBA level. In the same time frame I was working with a start-up medical device company advising on their investor deck. I reached a common realization. There is a natural tendency to inflate market projections by capturing every conceivable dollar potential worldwide. There is nothing unethical or morally wrong in putting your absolute best foot forward, but there is no value in inflating the opportunity.

My professional opinion is that the revenue or potential opportunity you quote must be congruent (Walker’s Law of Congruency illustration below) with your overall story and plan.   Angels, VCs and VPs of Marketing are too savvy to be drawn into an overstated market potential.

Message Congruence
Message Congruence

It is better to progress the story through the fair market potential to the realizable potential, quickly and then tell your story (plan) and state the five-year revenue forecast, then dwelling on a fantasy.

If your story doesn’t sound like it is worth it, or, if it doesn’t deliver on the expectations of Senior Management don’t fudge the model, change the story.

Slide1Over the Top Market Assessment

By over-the-top I am referring to the fact that every marketing plan I see states that the product represents a billion dollar opportunity.   Not every marketing plan does have a chance at reaching a billion dollars and that is ok. If is does, it might be well beyond the timeline for a needed return.

Realizable Market Opportunity

In general, there are exclusions from the Grand market that are driven by the nature of your product. If the product has a narrow indication or is a line extension it probably will not be worth a billion dollars ever. It may be the first of five applications needed to reach full potential.   It is not productive to spend a disproportional amount of time explaining the grand potential, mention it and move on to your story. As much as you would like to think that the most important thing to the reader is the huge market opportunity, it is not.

Most humans are risk adverse. They would rather see a tight story as to how you will realize the revenue forecast than create a dreamscape for the future.

 Targeted Market Opportunity

I read with delight as a student defined the nature of the customer segment that they believed they would be successful with or in. By having a customer target, which you should have, you exclude a section of the Realizable Market Potential. If your segment represents only a quarter of the realizable potential then reduce that number by 25%.

Revenue Forecast

Once you know the Target Market Potential you continue to discount your potential for factors such as:

  • Competition
  • Capacity
  • Market attractiveness (Did the product end up with the features and benefits you had hoped for?)
  • Channel leverage
    • The number of outlets
    • The number of direct sales representatives
    • Access to the targeted customers
  • Launch timing
  • Environmental barriers

Last but not least you need to have a beta factor (ß) a final reduction in your target market that represents the unknown and the unknowable. How do you calculate this last discount factor? You look to history either internal or external to your company. How accurate have your prediction been in the past. Do you have positive or negative reasons to believe that you will be as accurate this time?

Typically, the revenue forecasts are seldom realized. Of the 100+ products I have launched more of them under perform, in the first year, than over perform. After 30 years of product forecasting you would think that I could get the first year launch numbers correct. But there is always the unknowable and the X factor. The X factor is the political (not always bad) aspects of revenue forecasts. Typically, there is what you believe and then what everyone else is willing to bet on. Plot your actual performance against both numbers and learn.

Remember that your marketing plan will move through the project with you. At each step you need to add credibility by validating any and all assumption you have baked into the story. (E.g. the first version assumed that R&D would delivery on the utility that you wanted to commercialize. Some subsequent revision will account for whether they did or did not).

Note: The challenge to increasing accuracy with time is keeping the caveats and assumptions clearly in the mind of top management as decisions are made.   I have been in many discussions just before launch where a Sr. Manager reminded me that my original forecast numbers where much larger than they are now at launch. You need to be prepared to answer that challenge without throwing the manager or the team under the bus.

“Experience is what you get, right after you need it most.”

Make it a great day,

Tim Walker

Tim Walker is the Principal consultant for The Experia Group. A small consulting firm that specializes in providing experience and expertise during critical device commercialization phases to increase the probability of success. www.theexperiagroup.com.

© 2016, The Experia Group, LLC

Message Congruency in Medical Device Commercialization

The Story

Have you ever seen messaging related to a new product that was clearly disjointed? Maybe you saw a tradeshow booth that spoke of the product a bit differently than the sales brochure and the salesman’s pitch was a different story all together?

A VP of Marketing hired me to figure out why their dynamite new product wasn’t gaining the momentum that they had expected. This is one of the most enjoyable and potentially beneficial services that I get to perform for clients. Consider it a launch autopsy.

There are many other causes for a slow takeoff of a new product. For this particular client the issue was a confusing message.   So confusing that one might describe it as conflicting. Why is this a big deal? Walker’s Law of Congruency™ states, “As human beings we seek congruency. We constantly are trying to connect the dots. The price has to match the value of the product. The color schemes have to represent the claims, etc. When our minds detect an incongruent message we start to doubt everything about the issue or in our case the product. The customer loses trust in the product.”

How do we prevent incongruent messages as marketers? There are lots of factors, but simply we need to know exactly what our message is, more importantly everyone that is working on or near the launch must understand the message.

How do we stay on message?

We write. We publish the five documents that then serve as the source for every piece of collateral, every training script, every creative brief.

  • Segmentation
  • Targeting (user and buyer)
  • Product positioning statement
  • Product value proposition
  • Pricing strategy

These are the five documents that act as the base. Everything else flows from here.

Slide1

In addition to these five basic documents there is a format to the story line. It is not mine; it is something that is adapted from other sources.

  • Problem statement
  • Solution statement
  • Reasons to believe
  • Proof set
  • Call to action

If you publish the five core documents and keep any promotional materials and sales pitches in the five-element format it is unlikely that you will have incongruent or even worst conflicting messages.

“Experience is what you get, right after you need it most.”

Make it a great day,

Tim Walker

Tim Walker is the Principal consultant for The Experia Group. A small consulting firm that specializes in providing experience and expertise during critical device commercialization phases to increase the probability of success. www.theexperiagroup.com.

 

© 2015 The Experia Group, LLC