Tag Archives: Product Marketing

Creating Customer Profiles for the Medical Device Market

The Story

The project I am currently working on for a client will go much quicker if I follow my own advice and take care of the basics before creating final field facing messaging. I consider writing customer profiles or personas as one of the most important aspects of marketing fundamentals.

Maze mind and key
Maze mind and key

Once you have identified all the influencers in your buying decision the next step should be writing the personas. Without the personas you can’t develop a segmentation or targeting strategy. Without segmentation and targeting you can’t really develop positioning statements or value propositions. This is why the customer profile is a basic building block. Combined with your environmental scan you will have the fundamental inputs to developing the rest of the S-T-P marketing fundamentals.

Customer Profile Defined

A customer profile is a one-page document that describes the psychosocial aspects of your targeted customer group. Specifically, it will include the following elements: demographics, psychographics, behaviors, media preferences, influencers, preferences and environmental/organizational constraints.


Are they anything like demographics? Sort of! Demographics explain “who” your buyer is, while psychographics explain “why” they buy. Demographic information includes gender, age, income, and marital status – the dry facts. Psychographic information might be their habits, hobbies, spending habits and values.

You can only effectively reach your target audience when you understand both their demographics and psychographics. The combination of both sets of data starts to form your buyer persona – a detailed picture of the people you work with now, and would like to work with in the future.[1]

Why are these profiles so important?

In a crowded field you must constantly look for leverage, something that will give you a leg up on the competition.   Understanding your customers at a deeper level than competition will give you that leverage. It might lead you to align your product with a select group of customers. It might cause you to use colors and language that are more appealing. It might mean that you hirer different types of salespeople.   Even if you can’t spend the market research money to do this exercise in a systematic method, it is worth doing! Treat the first draft as a hypothesis! Come back to that draft after every significant customer interaction to see if you have confirmed or rejected an aspect of your profile.

Here are a few simple steps in creating a good profile 

  1. Describe your customer
  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Behavior
  • Language preferences
  1. Locate your customers
  • Where do they hang out?
  • What do they read?
  • What do they watch?
  • How do they learn?
  • How do they communicate?
  • Who do they admire?
  1. Understand their buying practices
  • Where do they begin their research?
  • How do they receive the information they use in device selection?
  • What is their problem?
  • What benefits will you provide if you solve their problem?
  1. Understand your current customers
  • Why did they original buy from you?
  • Why do they continue to buy?
  • Why didn’t they buy from you?
  1. Write your first draft of the persona/profile
  • Write one per influencer.
  • Use names to give them life.
  • Look at the intersections for common elements.

Test, Test, Test your beliefs

You must find a way to validate your personas. Market research is the obvious choice, unless you don’t have the cash to pay for it. Then you have to use time and touches.


There is no such thing as an average customer! It is ok if you have to breakdown the persona into subgroups. I call these Archetypes. Your leverage will be greater if you find multi-modal conditions. Use of the mean/average is something that will lead you to being an average marketer.

“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

[1] http://blog.hubspot.com/insiders/marketing-psychographics

Running a Key Opinion Leader (KOL) Meeting within the Medical Device Market

The Story

I will be running a KOL meeting this week and I thought writing this blog would be a good way of capture advice that I might give myself.  KOL panels can be incredibly valuable, if done well.  They can also be a bit embarrassing if done poorly.  Here are some helpful tips.

Doc team

#1 tip: Know what your objective is first. Otherwise you will end with, at best a fragmented process, at worst an expensive party.


The top ten list

  1. Bring value to the clinician beyond the honorarium that you will be paying them.  i.e. one suggestion is using a keynote address speaker on a relevant topic that is slightly off-axis.
  2. Know what you want to learn before you plan the event or invite a physician.
  3. Don’t settle for narrative as the only input mechanism; get qualitative and quantitative data.
  4. Recruit a physician to co-host the event. This will bring credibility to the event as well as providing you a test bed for your structure.
  5. Don’t solicit advice on issues that you are unwilling to act on.
  6. Work them hard; it communicates how valuable you believe their views are.
  7. Comfort and convenience wins out over fancy and exotic every time.
  8. Leave time in the schedule to let the physicians talk to one another without you present.
  9. If you and they have the time for entertainment, make it memorable not expensive.
  10. Themes are great for spring dances; don’t go overboard with tying everything together.

More tips for success

  1. Logistics, logistics, logistics
  2. A good rule of thumb is to spend 4 hours of planning for every one hour of meeting time.
  3. Structure is important to good data capture, however physicians will rebel against any structure that you might design. Accept that and make sure that within your structured discussions that you plan for unstructured time.
  4. Conducting a pre-meeting survey is a great way to learn of dramatic differences of opinion. Actually using the slides from the survey is a great way to introduce controversial topics without it seeming as though you are trying to stir the pot.

When to utilize professional and independent moderator/facilitator

I have developed the view that whether a professional moderator is used or a skilled facilitator from your own company is employed is dependent on a couple of issues:

1.  What is the critical nature of the decisions I am collecting information to support?

For high-risk critical decisions I prefer a non-company based facilitator. It eliminates bias.

For politically charged decisions I prefer an independent facilitator. It takes the pressure off the product marketer.

2.  How many physicians will be attending?

I don’t recommend more than 10 physicians, however if you must go above 10 then a professional facilitator is preferred.

3.  If there are a number of different physician specialties or a mix of clinician types than a professional facilitator can be helpful managing any accidental friction that occurs.

4.  If you are going to spend the time and money to gather a group of physicians to help you resolve your critical issues, an additional $10,000 to have a coach or moderator involved make the chances for success go up dramatically.

5.  Take the time to prepare a final report document that captures all that you learn and reveals the data organized by the data or findings that are associated with the critical questions you were trying to resolve.


Tips in selecting the attendees for your KOL panel

  1. Select your attendees based on your objectives.
  2. Make sure the invitees are representative of your target customer base.
  3. Ensure that the physicians are still practicing physicians.
  4. Don’t send the invitations until you have vetted the potential personal conflicts or subservient relationships that may exist.
  5. If you “over-invite” to cover potential no’s or last minute cancellation make sure you can handle the overflow, if it happens. My approach is to nominate 30 physicians who all meet the acceptance criteria. Rank them. Invite 12 to get 10. If you don’t get 10 out of the 12, then extend to the next three people on your list. Keep rolling until you get your 10. This way you minimize your exposure.

Final thought

If you have never organized a KOL panel before, don’t be stubborn, ask for help. If there is no one in your organization that has done one well, hire someone to help.

“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


Market Development; “is it really different than Product Marketing?”

At the heart of the Marketing continuum are three aspects of strategic marketing: 1) New Product Portfolio Development, 2) Market Development, and 3) New Business Development.


Are they really different? Yes and No is the answer. To be successful in any of the three areas you need a strong understanding of the core principles of marketing, a great understanding of your organizations capabilities and of course, a strong understanding of the nature of the customer and the environment in which they work.

The analytic tools you use will be very similar.   The basics of great messaging will apply. Where they differ is in the nature of the problem you are trying to solve.

Market Development Defined

Market Development is simply the creation or expansion of a market. To expand a market or create a market you have to first “sell” the idea that a problem exists. You need to educate the potential buyers that they have an un-met need that they were unaware of.

Product Marketing Defined

With Product Marketing you are “selling” the solution to an already established problem or un-met need.

The Question is, “do you ever have to do both at the same time?”

The answer is yes, to varying degrees.


Typically, it is very expensive and a slow process to develop a market from scratch. There are many benefits in being the leader who creates a market. Typically the first mover advantage will provide leverage in the market place right up until someone develops a better solution.

On a relative scale product marketing is quicker and less expensive than creating markets.


The Story

A client of mine has a great product. There is a real clinical problem that this product solves. There are three or four “use cases” for this product. Some of the use cases are obvious to the key stakeholders, some aren’t. The strategic marketing challenge is where to place the available funds? Which will drive the right kind of success?

It is not always obvious what to do. What will bring the most success for the least investment? It is times like these, when you are facing complex strategic questions when I fall back on the core principles and tools of marketing.

  1. When in doubt ask a customer (s):
  • Who is/are the buyer(s)?
  • Who are the key none buying influencers?
  • Are the problem(s) that you are solving the same or different?
  • Is the product the right product for all use cases?
  • What are the barriers to success?
  • Is there a genuine value proposition for all stakeholders?
  • Is the value proposition strong enough to make it worth the users time to be educated?
  • What resonates with the customers?
  • What evidence or proof will the buyer need to accept your proposition?
  1. Scan the environment:
  • How large is each use case opportunity?
  • Is there competition or are you substituting an alternative solution?
  • Is there new technology on the horizon?
  • New laws or regulations that are coming or that are needed to provide leverage?
  • Are there any parrallel examples of successful strategies
  1. Craft a hypothesis strategy:
  • Test your hypothesis
  • Model the potential results of your strategy
  • Select a strategy
  • Fire a bullet not a cannon ball[1]

There are no formulae for crafting great market development strategies. You have to eliminate the non-starters and then design tests to explore the ones you have hope for.

“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

[1] Great by Choice, Jim Collins, Harper Business Press, Chapter 4, p. 60-98.