Tag Archives: Walker’s Law of Congruency

Medical Device New Product Launches Are Not a Singular Event, or Point in Time: A series of launch campaigns as you move through the product life cycle

Set up

In a coaching session that I held yesterday with a Sr. Product Manager we were preparing for his first-ever new product launch when, it occurred to me that in all the blog posts and in my book, INSIGHTS: 33 Lesson Learned in Medical Device Marketing[1] I have never really explained that a new product launch is not a single event. The launch never really ends. It is made up of events that track the product life cycle. So, it might serve us better to think of them as a series of Launch Campaigns. Across the life cycle, your device will be exposed to different target customers, geographies, cultures, and healthcare systems. Your messaging, channel, proof points all will need to evolve to keep pace with the various clinical evidence changes, new personas, environmental shifts, and learnings that have taken place with time. The goal is to optimize the strategic product message for the point you find yourself in the product life cycle, optimizing lifetime revenue.



The purpose of this blog post is to broaden your thinking about the messaging evolution that might be required to facilitate the optimization of adoption at each stage in the product life cycle. To start, what might be some of the indicators that trigger an evolution of messaging.

The first three triggers are obvious ones, but if you don’t have metrics in place you might miss a trigger.

Persona shifts When the majority of your audience has shifted right along the adoption curve the persona of the target audience will shift towards a more conservative one. Language and strength of clinical evidence, colors, and media channel will need to be tweaked to optimize the impact you will have on the new audience.

  • Innovators / Pioneers
  • Early adopters
  • Early majority
  • Late majority
  • Laggards


Clinical evidence shifts – the focus, driven by good, or, no so good, results toward a different clinical target, or a new class of patient. Perhaps you discover that your economic story is stronger than you had originally thought.

  • KOL editorials /Testimonials
  • Posters
  • Single-center case series
  • Controlled clinical trials
  • Multiple controlled trials
  • Meta-analysis
  • Economic data

Launch phases – depending on what phase in the initial launch you are in your goals, focus, targets, and media channel may well need to be optimized to a new type of customer.

  • Clinical trial recruiting of PIs
  • User trials
  • Controlled launch
  • Limited launch
  • General launch – primary geography
  • Repeat for each region of the World into which you are launching.

Other aspects of the product life cycle that can trigger the need for a new campaign are:

  • Competitive response
  • Pricing shifts
  • Contracts being secured
  • Reimbursement changes
  • Device enhancements
  • Complaints
  • FDA actions
  • Achieving a number one share position
  • Therapeutic/clinical practice changes
  • Major environmental changes
  • Regulatory policy or guideline shifts

A cautionary note

As mentioned in several earlier posts “message congruency” is critical.

You can’t isolate one group of customers from another completely. Your message optimization should not cause dramatic changes and the core value position must remain in tack. So be careful. The one time you can be a bit bolder in your changes is where you can control access to an “event”.

As a rule of thumb, I try to maintain a campaign for 18 months. With digital marketing it is so much easier to change the message you will be tempted to jerk the message around too often. Don’t. Remember the fundamentals you need to validate every messaging change you make before it is released to the target audience.

The only thing worse than not occasionally optimizing the messaging, is changing it so often or so dramatically the device loses its core identity, and you begin to confuse the clinician.

Examples of optimization that might focus a campaign –

  • First – to – Best
  • Best – to – Gold standard
  • Innovative – to – Proven
  • Premium – to – The highest value

Metaphor –

We have often thought of launching a rocket as a metaphor for launching a new product. I have only written about lift-off. To reach outer space, often booster stages are required, second and third stages might be needed to break free of the earth’s gravity. Depending on the size of the payload, more stages or booster engines may be required. The same goes for new products.

Metrics –

Another lesson from NASA for us is that if we don’t have a course to follow, we can’t know if we are on, or off, trajectory. Set your course pro-actively, check it periodically, and then correct by firing your navigational boosters, gently.

Challenge –

Here is a challenge for you, if you strive to become an even better product manager or up-stream marketer.

The next time you are planning a launch, create a campaign progression map. Imagine covering the entirety of the product’s life cycle.


  1. Uncertainty is not to be feared, be bold and think the whole product life cycle through from the very beginning to the end.
  2. Targeted customer personas shift with time and distance along the adoption curve.
  3. Having effective metrics is critical.

“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 consulting firm specializing in providing experience and expertise during critical device commercialization phases to increase the probability of success. One-on-One, or, team coaching is available.


Contact, The Experia® Group for a free 30-minute consultation to determine if 30+ years of experience can contribute to your success.  [email protected]

© 2021, The Experia® Group, LLC

[1] Available on Amazon

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.


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