The Ultimate Sales Goal is ADVOCACY. What can classical Medical Device Marketers learn from New Digital Marketing Concepts?


Consistent with my commitment to lifelong learning, I have been taking courses in digital marketing from Oregon State University.   As I am working to complete the four-course certification in digital marketing I have gained enough skills to project how I would use those skills in classic medical device marketing problem-solving.

I began to reflect on, not the tactics, but the concepts of digital marketing.  Blending those concepts with the recently released 2021 Service Benchmark Report from AQUANT, and my annual review of my SAAS subscriptions.


At the end of 2020, I reviewed all my software subscription for continued relevance and value.  It amazed me that I had 21 recurring annualized SAAS products.  Everything from software that facilitated my calendar to full application programs such as Microsoft office, and truly everything in between.  Hundreds of dollars automatically flowing out of my business checking account every month. [If you haven’t reviewed your subscription lately, I would recommend it].

After my review, I retained only eight of those SAAS products.  Because of the way my mind works, I asked, “why did I sign-up for so many SAAS products that I no longer found value in?”  It broke all 21 down into the following categories:

    1. Necessary – 7
    2. Useful – 1
    3. Duplicate – 2
    4. Underutilized – 5
    5. Failed to deliver on the promise -5
    6. No longer needed – 1

This list looked familiar to me, so I went digging through past projects that I had completed.

While not an exact match, this list mirrored one I had developed for a portfolio review while I was managing a line of several thousand SKUs.  I had reviewed every lost customer for every SKU and assigned a general reason for the lost account [note: not one was due to price].  Without running through the details of the exhaustive review I did, the takeaway was that we were responsible for every lost account [ reasons 3-5] with the exception of those customers that no longer needed the product for technique or procedure change reasons.

So where is the connection?

Why did we lose accounts? Why did I no longer need the SAAS products? And where do those realizations connect to the digital marketing concept?

The complete customer journey!

Why did we lose accounts? – we stopped short of taking the customer on the full journey.

Why did I no longer appreciate the value of the SAAS products? – they stopped short of taking me through the complete journey.

What digital marketing concept connects these two realizations together? – The Customer Journey.

Is the concept of a Customer or Patient journey new to the World, no we have been using that language since the 80’s.  But what is new is the criticality of the execution of the concept.

SMARTBEAR from the has created a simple infographic that shows the complete Customer Journey [shown below].

It is when we overlook any of these steps that we waste the full potential of every sale we struggled to close.  We need content aligned with all eight steps.  We need incentives for the completion of every step.  We need KPIs for every step to measure our successes.

Just think about it, if every customer you close goes on to advocate for your product, sales growth could organically become exponential.  The next time you lose an account ask yourself where did you fail to optimize the journey?  Where in the customer journey did the last customer drop out?  Do you even think about the post-sale journey?  As a medical device marketer do you have content available to every salesperson or customer that optimizes the entire journey, stage by stage?  Do you have the right goals? Do you have the right metrics and incentives in place to complete the journey?

As I review this post it occurs to me that in absolutely every sales-process I have work with I have been using the wrong goal, I have had the wrong incentives, or not provided the tools to ensure optimization.  Whether the product was a catheter, a piece of capital, a wound care device, or an implant, the goal needs to be for true ADVOCACY.

We need to build out the content and messaging for each stage and then make sure that every customer goes through every stage.  Once your customer is an advocate the likelihood is high that they will stick with you always.


  1. Don’t end the journey early, go all the way to the finish line.
  2. If you do not award or incentivize the sales organization for those customers who advocate for your product, you should.
  3. Messaging and content should align with each stage and end with momentum toward the next stage.

“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]

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