Tag Archives: Insights

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

Beware of bad data in Medical Device marketing decision-making

Set up
I was listening to an MLB game the other evening and the announcers we spouting statistics right and left. They were reporting data. I then waited for the analysis, for the insight, for the reasoning that explained an action taken by a manager or player. We never got there.

I turned off the TV and realized that the announcers for that game were doing what I see prevalent today in inexperienced marketers.

Collecting data without knowing why they are gathering it and then spouting that data as if there was some type of magic in numbers.  The magic comes from deriving (analysis) from the data insight, converting that insight into wisdom by contextualizing it and then applying that new wisdom to form a solution or make a great decision.

Is there a time and place for making observations, collecting subjective data? Absolutely. It is the source for developing the questions or problem statements that you will then apply the “scientific method” against.

An Example

An example of the power of observation: I was in an open-heart case, and the perfusionist and I were talking about how cold they keep the OR rooms. She had three layers of jackets on (observation 1). The conversation continued, and she made the point that they are trying to cool the heart to protect it. One way they do that is by recirculating cold water around the heart and pumping a cardioplegia solution into the heart itself. By having the OR rooms too warm, they are defeating that goal. That made sense to me. Then I noticed that the source of the cold fluid was being pumped through 6 feet of tubing (observation 2). The question that resulted was, is there a way to get the cooling source closer to the heart, so the ambient temperature does not have time to impact the fluid adversely and is there a new product opportunity to be realized?

These observations resulted in two streams of exploration, 1) a technical stream, and 2) a marketing stream.

This blog is not about how to analyze data. However, instead, to caution that unless you are willing to collect the data correctly, then don’t start, garbage in, garbage out.

When do you need to collect data?

Recently, I have been mentoring several individuals who are new to marketing as a role. They struggle with determining when and how to collect voice-of-the-customer (VOC) data, as did I for the first 5-years of my career in marketing. The answers are painfully simple. How to do it well is difficult and takes years of experience.

The answer is to collect VOC data whenever you have an unanswered question.

Does that mean that you need to collect data for every marketing question? Yes, you do. However, how much data, what kind of data, how you gather that data, from how many, of what types of customers, is where you can apply judgment. Save the significant data collection efforts for the huge questions, ones where a wrong answer or misinterpretation could cause severe negative consequences if it leads to a poor critical decision.

Commit to writing could questions

So once you decide that you have a critical unanswered question, you have to frame the question (s). The better the question (s), the more informed the decision.

I typically will rewrite the questions up to a dozen times. With each revision, I work hard to remove any real or implied bias.

Data’s value comes from using it to inform a decision-making process. If you’re lucky, you will convert data to information, information to insight, insight to wisdom, and then apply that wisdom to excellent decision-making.

Lessons

  1.  Most of the time, biased data is worse than no data.
  2. Spend all the time that you require to frame great, unbiased questions.
  3.  Risk adjust your VOC efforts to optimize the value of the undertaking.

“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. 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

Band vs. Branding in Medical Device Marketing

Set up

I have experienced/observed that business professionals who are not familiar with the nuance of marketing get confused between the Brand and Branding. I have found myself explaining the difference multiple times over the last few months, so here is how I think about it and explain it. You may find it useful if you ever need to explain the differences yourself.

Summary

Your brand is who you are, an internal facing belief system; branding is how your brand manifests itself outward toward your customers, your market, the world at large.

You cannot do branding without first being crystal clear about your brand. Getting clear on your brand is a profoundly unique discovery process that is at your or your products core and comes from your or your products history. It is the most authentic aspect of your company or product. If you are a new company, it may be a confluence of the founders’ personal histories.

Many companies /products have a name, a logo, a color preference, etc. These are all representations of your brand. If the outward expression of your brand is inconsistent with the brand, then your customers will be confused.

Having an understanding of the difference between the brand and branding, take a minute to reflect on the recent McDonalds attempt at deluxe burgers. Custom made to order specialty burgers.   When they announce this program, it was crystal clear that they were moving outside of their core value, their brand. McDonald’s is known for and was created from, a belief that customers wanted a quick, convenient, consistent meal that had good taste.

So they based their success on location, consistency of product, and a standardized menu. For decades that is what the golden arches stood for. They have just recently announced that they are discontinuing the specialty burger menu option.

Changing your brand is a challenge; it is tantamount to changing history, changing who you are.

Living into your Brand

Do you have to perfect in your branding on day one? No. However, you do have to be crystal clear on your brand.

Lesson

Look deep within to discover or reveal your brand, first.

“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 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.

© 2019, The Experia Group, LLC

 

 

MVP a potentially dangerous concept for the Medical Device Sector

Forward

I don’t typically repeat topics in this blog. However, I am making an exception this time. This is the third post related to the use of the Minimally Viable Product (MVP) concept with Medical Devices.

Set up

Recently, I had an email exchange with a potential client where they informed me that they were pursuing an MVP and they didn’t need any marketing support at this time. I may write a post about how that may be misguided thinking if there isn’t a Marketing Mindset in the company.   Marketing Mindset will be the subject of a future post as well. That e-mail exchange triggered an emotional response within me.

I offer this post because I feel compelled to. The Universe woke me up at 3:00 am last night to inform me that my mission in life demands that I caution inventors, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, investors and product marketers that are involved with product commercialization where human safety or health is at risk, that the MVP concept can be misinterpreted.

MVP is a useful concept as defined by Eric Ries; “A minimally viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.” I am sure that there are many industries where this definition can be applied directly. It seems particularly applicable to entertainment sectors, like video games. I strongly recommend that everyone who is using that term, reflect on if it is a thought construct that is appropriate for his or her market sector.

In the example above, the first set of drawings do not provide full utility. The second example does. This concept applied to medical devices gets at the need for complete clinical utility (CCU).

Cautionary Note

For me, what I have come to believe is the concept of safe, complete clinical utility (CCU) is the way to think about the first product to be launched by a company or a technology platform in the medical device space. In the medical device space or any space where human lives are at risk, we should never strive for a minimum of anything.   I have found that the long-term success of any product results from maximums, maximum utility, maximum compliance, maximum clinical evidence, and maximum safety.

If you want to use a hot buzzword like MVP in a high-risk space, then I think it will be worth your time to define the scope of “Viable” for your product. It will show the clinicians, investors, and patients that you understand where their health is concerned that Viable is a big word and includes, regulatory compliance, safety, and complete utility.   If you must put the acronym on a slide, then do it this way – mVp.

For those of you who are involved in the acquisition of technologies or products that can present a risk to humans make sure you do more than financial due diligence. Be intentional about your technical and clinical due diligence as well. If you are new to M&A activity, hire a coach who has been there and done that. I have seen first hand the results of poor clinical and technical due diligence. Large follow on investment in the millions of dollars, months of delays, failed launches, investors losing confidence in management teams, negative impact to the brand, and of course worst of all, a patient injury that may result from truncated due diligence!

Marketing Mindset

What I believe is that if you have and apply a Marketing Mindset to product commercialization you will think in terms of multi-generation product releases that move you toward 100% customer satisfaction.

Lesson

Words matter, using a popular buzzword implies knowledge of the thoughts behind the term. Don’t be caught unprepared or leave an opening for misinterpretation.

“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. Contact The Experia Group for a free 30-minute consultation to determine if 30-years of experience can contribute to your success.

© 2019, The Experia Group, LLC

 

Subjective Review of On-going Marketing Activities

The Set Up

Recently I sent a letter to a colleague of mine asking how everything was going? He replied that he wasn’t sure. It was too early in the year to tell. So I dropped him a note that he indicated was very helpful for him to get his mind around how things were going.

He then suggested that it might make a good blog post. So here you go.

Just for full disclosure, I am a huge proponent of metrics and data. Sometime it is too early in a program or product launch to realize any of the metrics. It doesn’t mean that you as a Senior Manager shouldn’t try to take the temperature of programs, campaigns or launches early on.

It just means that you are going to do it subjectively.

Whenever I have had to subjectively evaluate progress it has been with the assistance of a  framework.

Framework

Here is how I have done it.

I attend several team meetings or review sessions. I then get a sense for the progress and capabilities of this team on this task. Then I ask which outcome from the following chart is most likely, just a feeling. It also helps me identify why.

If you feel like this team will, “Change the World”, then check in later. If your sense is that something is amiss you can act early and reduce the risk of sub-optimal results.

A bit of mentoring or coaching early will often prevent big changes and poor performance later.

Lesson

My friend discovered that they had two programs that both were missing a sound Method. He hired us to provide that methodology. One was a new product launch and the other was their annual tradeshow campaign.

“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. Contact The Experia Group for a free 30-minute consultation to determine if 30-years of experience can contribute to your success.

© 2019, The Experia Group, LLC

New Product Opportunity Discovery

The Set Up

I just returned from VIVA2018 and was called out for not addressing the topic of Opportunity Discovery, as promised in the Opportunity Assessment post.

So the question at hand is how do you discover new product opportunities? To figure out the answer we need to turn the coin over and see what is on the other side of this question. How do I discover unmet clinical needs? Once again, the answer is simple; it depends.

It depends on whether you are looking for a disruptive product, groundbreaking new platform product, an improved product, a line extension, or, an adjacent use for your current product.

There are formal and informal ways of identifying unmet needs. Both lead to the same unpredictable place, Insight. Both formal and informal methods require you to “live” in the World of your clinician customers. Both ways need you to collect experiential data.   That experiential data can come from ‘true to life’ or ‘vicarious’ sources. They can be observed, reported first hand, or reported second hand.

 The Formal Way

If possible, the formal process should

start with a loose objective. By this I mean it should be consistent with your current corporate positioning. I.e., if you are known for safety, then you should be looking for opportunities to provide a higher level of protection. If you are known for quality, then look for opportunities surrounding improving quality. If you are known as a company that brings therapeutic products then identify an underserved disease or patient type.

Approaches

The MAUDE database (where mfg. report complaints, defects, and injuries) can provide rich experiential data with respects to needed product improvements.  There are several challenges to using this database, but it is still a great first point of discovery.

Polling thought leaders is a formal way of identifying “pain” points. Just be sure to ask the open-ended questions first and then drill down. Don’t look for solutions yet. Secure an understanding in as much detail as possible first. E.g., your company has identified through an environmental scan that adjacent diseases state or technology is a direction they want to move in. It is emerging or already has high growth rates with little competitive activity.

Once you have polled the thought leaders in this new area and have developed a hypothesis; invite 10-20 physicians to a panel meeting and have an open discussion surrounding the needs of this emerging therapy.   Concretely come to understand the challenges from all dimensions, science, clinical, business, reimbursement, regulatory, to name several.

Attend clinical presentations at medical conferences. Product managers get pulled in two-directions at these conferences. Booth duty, sales support and discovery. If one of your roles is up-stream marketing, then you must attend papers.

 Hospital/Clinic time is becoming more difficult. There was a time where I had free access to spend a day wondering between OR’s just being there, listening to issues, watching for problems. Those days are no longer with us. Often you need to be in the OR for legitimate teaching purposes. There is often downtime between cases. Don’t waste that opportunity. Be curious. Be assertive. Be careful.

Conduct formal ethnographic studies staying consistent with the tenants of the discipline but realizing you are restricted in your ability to remain independent of the environment.

The Informal Way

Just because I label these as informal methods doesn’t discount them. You still have to be observant, aware and present to see them.

Approaches

Wait to be approached by a physician or other clinician with an idea. It is better to have a formal process in place to handle these situations. IP and financial issues are often at stake.

Listen to the buzz at a trade show and see where it leads. It could be a start-up company displaying a product concept for the first time. It could be an established company that is holding a panel meeting; I always check the conference hotels’ directory for events of the day.

Have lightning strike, not literally, but rather from a position of immersing your self in the World of your clinician customer.

Look for parallelism, if your clinician customer is having a problem it is likely that it has been experienced before, in a similar disease or therapy or time. Don’t leap to a solution, but use the parallel experience as a guide to come to understand the problem.

 Learning’s

 You may have noticed that I have kept finding a solution separate from identifying the problem. They are two different processes. It is valuable to keep them separate.

It will prevent you from leaping to the first apparent solution and therefore missing the right answer.

“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. Contact The Experia Group for a free 30-minute consultation to determine if 30-years of experience can contribute to your success.

© 2018, The Experia Group, LLC

Five Critical Elements to Include in all Medical Device Marketing Campaigns

The Set Up

I was invited to give a talk to a group of local marketing professionals in the Medical Device Sector and after sorting through all the things I could share with them, from pricing to promotions to channel development and everything in between, here is the essence of that talk. Look for your golden nugget.

At the Core

“Vision without action is merely a dream.

Action without vision just passes the time.

Vision with action can change the World.”

                                          Joel Barker

The above quote from Joel Barker made a significant impact on my life thinking. I first heard it in the 1990’s. It has become my mantra as a marketer. With every campaign, new product launch, strategy and tactic I have created my goal has been to change the World, well maybe just a small part of it. As time marched on I combined the essence of this quote with the Dow Chemical Model of Organizational Transformation and you will see the results in the model below.

So the first declaration to the group after introducing the Barker quote was my beliefs surrounding the neccessity of integrating marketing activities throughout the department and the organization as a whole.

Over Arching Philosophy

I believe that an integrated commercialization strategy is necessary to create and sustain success for all effective medical devices over both the short-term and long-term.  That integrated strategy is as equally important as the actual invention and development of the new product itself.

The creation and execution of an integrated commercialization strategy is more complex now than ever before. When faced with complexity I find it best to return to the basics. There are six key elements to creating successful marketing programs in the medical device space. If any of the six elements are missing then an undesired result occurs.

Vision, Knowledge, Experience, Method, and Action are all required to create effective programs. See the chart titled Five Critical Element Model for the elements and what happens when one is missing.

Core beliefs…

1.    Safety comes first and always.

2.    The clinician customer is your most important guide, not King.

3.     Constant customer engagement in its many forms is the source of the product manager’s influence and is critical to success.

4.     Minimal regulatory strategies never serve the good of the patient nor the product.

5.     There should always be structure to the input that you are receiving from the field.

6.    Tension is natural and valuable between all stakeholders in the commercialization process.

7.    Going slow to go fast is the right approach, most of the time.

8.    Starting with the end in mind is the best way to ensure success.

9.   You can’t bring positive change to a process without being able to measure that process, never skipping a step or cheapening the ingredients.

10. Practicing unethical behaviors will never lead to success.

11. Authenticity of purpose and action – to truly serve, is the best way to build important relationships.

12. Multifunctional teams are required in the absence of true genius.

13. There are no limits to what is possible, only practical limitations that we choose to put on ourselves.

14. Hands on experiences for customer input are superior to any mental exercise.

15. Competitive analysis is often over done, it can dilute your differentiation strategies, know they self.

What are your core beliefs? Take a few minutes and write them down. Knowing your self and what you believe can go a long way to bringing peace and contentment in your work.

Five Critical Element Model

The two critical elements that are most often forgotten or discounted are Experience and Method (process can be interchanged with method). Many believe that intellect can replace experience and method. Is just isn’t true. “The only source of knowledge is experience.” – Albert Einstein

So, if something is not going well with your campaign review the Model and see what is missing. Better yet, review the model before you create the campaign and get it right the first time.

Lessons

  1. When faced with complexity make it simple by re-visiting your core beliefs
  2. Don’t be afraid to try and change the World.
  3. Use the model for both planning and diagnosis

“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. Contact The Experia Group for a free 30-minute consultation to determine if 30-years of experience can contribute to your success.

© 2018, The Experia Group, LLC

Keeping the Strategic Message Pure in the Marketing Mix

The Set Up

Working with several clients to develop their up-stream product and corresponding messaging strategies for elements of their portfolio was relatively straight forward, right up until we needed to translate that strategy and messaging into actionable input for the down-stream activities.  Then everything came to a grinding halt.

I don’t use the word translate lightly.  It felt as though there were three or four languages being spoken in the room at the same time.  It was to say the least frustrating at the worst maddening.  How do you translate the Up-stream message to the Down-stream message?

What was going on?

Digging a little deeper I determined that it was much more than just a language issue. The promotions and branding teams that were put together to “package” the message into an attractive and readily acceptable set of collateral materials and campaigns came from different cultures where specific tools had been developed, practiced, and became so engrained that they could no longer accept input without it being in the format they were individually accustomed to.

 This was a challenge as there were at least six different formats that were being used.  When you stepped back from the translation process it was amazing to see that the majority of these forms, templates and formats all used the same words and phrases, but they all had slightly different meanings due to the contextual difference from the user perspective.  Words and phrases such as: segmentation, positioning, targeting, persona, value proposition all meant different things.

 This translation issue was significant and any hope for efficiencies went right out the window.  My role was to make sure we didn’t lose effectiveness as well.

What to do?

Admittedly my thinking is not complete on this issue, but here is what I did.  For those of you who have read some of my other posts you’ll know that I am a huge fan of writing down concepts as a vehicle of communications.  It became clear to me that that would not be enough in this case.  I had to make sure that the messaging did not become confused. I had to make sure that the Strategy was not “thrown over a wall” to those responsible for putting a beautiful wrapper around the execution of the strategic messaging.

I asked myself what brought clarity to me regarding the positioning of the product.  The answer was, perspective and context that I had gained through immersion in the customer environment.  Somehow I had to translate that perspective that insight to the down-stream creatives.   

So?  Here is what the team did.  We held several sessions where market research findings were presented to the creative team with discussion.  We made available digital recordings of customer interviews.  We used their forms and we stayed intimately involved as a “technical advisor” to their creative process.  We attended their creative workshops.  The tone of our input was one of a knowledgable guide.  When the creatives seemed to be diverting from the message we assumed that it was us that didn’t understand and we listened carefully.  We would reassert an insight and show where we derived that insight from an interview or the research in real time.

We did everything we could and more to “tear down the wall”.  Did this approach work?  Couldn’t hurt.  Time will tell.

Lessons:

1.     Don’t assume that just because we are all marketers that we speak the same language.

2.     Sometimes we can’t see the walls that we ourselves helped to build.

3.     Tear down the walls, don’t throw vision over the wall and think it will land correctly.

 “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.  Contact The Experia Group for a free 30-minute consultation to determine if 30-years of experience can contribute to your success.

 

© 2018, The Experia Group, LLC

Important Aspects of Segment Targeting in the Medical Device Market

Targeting

Target as a descriptor is used in several different ways in Marketing. The Targeting that is referred to in this post is Segment Targeting. Targeting can’t be accomplished until you have the Segmentation of the Market complete. As a reminder the S-T-P in STP marketing stands for Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning.

  • Targeting is simply selecting the segment or segments that will afford you your first right successes.

Why Should We Target a Segment at All?

Ideally, your product or company would be equally appealing to the entire market. Seldom is that the case. To gain effectiveness and efficiencies you target a limited segment which focuses your resources on the customers that you are most likely to be successful with.

Targeting Challenge

The challenge with targeting is that it is a process of inclusion and exclusion. Very few sales organizations have reached the level of sophistication where they are willing to firmly accept exclusions. Honor this and leave room for deviation from your target. By leaving a little room for individualism for the sales professionals you will avoid an instantaneous negative reaction to a rigid set of rules and you will leave open a channel for exploration for secondary targeting or follow-on targeting.

Leakage from your target segment into those you have excluded is unavoidable and in the long-term can be very beneficial, as long as it doesn’t get out of control. Leakage typically comes from three sources:

  • Physician driven to adjacent segments
  • Sales force driven through tangential relationship or opportunistic contact
  • Peer – to –Peer recommendation outside the targeted segment

Examples of Target Segment Leakage

From the segmentation example provided, lets assume you choose OR and Post-Op vs. Surgeon as the target segments for your product. Trauma surgeons work in both the ER and the OR, there will be some natural overlap of product utility that can lead to leakage; this would be an example of physician driven leakage.

Or, lets say that your Sales Professional was scheduled in surgery and that appointment was cancelled, they can go home, or they can stop by the ER to visit a loyal customer from a previous stop on their career journey, assume they close this sale; this is an example of relationship driven leakage

A real life example from my history is, that an ER physician presents at an M&M conference and one of your OR surgeons says, “in the OR we would have prevented that death by using this product, this way.” The next day your representative gets a call from the ER doc that just experienced a death. How can you not take that customer call (perhaps the product manager takes the call); this is an example of peer-to-peer leakage.

Critical Consideration for Targeting

  • Is, or are, the segments large enough for you to reach your strategic goals/objectives?
  • Even though the segments may have been differentiated enough in your segmentation scheme to be considered separately, are they similar enough to be combined?
  • Does your product deliver strong utility to the target?

Key Lessons

  • Targeting is not about a single customer, yet.
  • Targets must be large enough to be worthwhile.
  • Targets must be able to realize the utility of your product or company.
  • Practically, you will have leakage between segments.

“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. Contact The Experia Group for a free 30-minute consultation to determine if 30-years of experience can contribute to your success.

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