…and Making the Next One Easier

Product launches are the lifeblood of all medical device and health-care product companies.

The realities are pressures to deliver innovation, discover new markets/growth areas, increase existing sales, and gain share. These pressures often result in aggressive, immovable product launch deadlines.

For marketing departments of these companies, the concurrent activities to launch a product inherently present challenges and massive coordination. In the fast-paced environment of medical device and health-care product launches, there are a few things the marketing department (and its partner marketing agency) should keep in mind for fewer headaches along the way.

Headache:
Sales positioning and marketing messages change due to R&D tweaks to the product, tests revealing new possibilities or limitations, or legal and regulatory interpretation of the product claims.

Remedy:
Anticipate different positioning outcomes; change is the reality of product development. Create and fully develop two or three marketing strategies based on separate hypotheses, it will save time in the long run.

Headache:
Product photography and renderings must be redone because the product design was changed just prior to manufacturing. Final product looks slightly different from the prototype.

Remedy:
Shoot photography in a way in which small and accurate changes can be made later through photo retouching. Take a few extra shots at different angles and in different scenarios, just in case.

Headache:
Marketing and product managers have approved the advertisement or brochure, but legal or regulatory wants verification of one or two of the claims in the copy, thereby slowing launch schedules.

Remedy:
Substantiate or validate the ideal clinical claims early. Be ready to defend all assertions and to prove the truthfulness of every statement. Educate your strategists and copywriters about the importance of balancing marketing claims and exciting imagery with the facts and specific clinical references.

Headache:
Product manager loves the launch materials, the marketing director loves them … the vice president of sales hates them all and thinks they completely miss the mark.

Remedy:
Get sales leadership (and other relevant parties) buy-in early. Involve them in key milestone decision-making as the marketing strategy, claims process and tactical executions progress.

Headache:
After months working toward the successful launch of the product, sales numbers and market acceptance fall below expectations.

Remedy:
Make sure your marketing plan goes 9-12 months beyond the “launch” or ship date. You may have reached the finish line of launching the product, but the target audience is just beginning to hear of it. Don’t make the mistake of moving on to the next product launch at the detriment of supporting this one.

Headache:
Your outside marketing agency is really creative, but you have to keep educating them on the nuances of the medical device and health-care industry. This is resulting in revamping materials and extra work for the internal marketing group.

Remedy:
Choose an integrated marketing agency experienced in medical device and health-care product marketing. The agency must know how to market to physicians and influencers, not just consumers/patients. Your agency partner should guide you in avoiding potential problems and headaches, not cause more.