Many agencies are eager to portray themselves as full-service shops, but Infuse Medical is one that proudly stakes its claim in a very specific segment. The agency's website describes the company as “the leading digital agency for the medical-device industry,” a claim that founding partner Jordan Erickson is quick to echo.
“We really are the special-ops group that a device manufacturer can rely on,” he says. It's a bold pronouncement, but Erickson has stats to back it up. “We've developed more than 300 apps for medical-device and diagnostics companies,” he reports, adding that no other agency has that level of experience.
Many of those apps are digital sales aids that reps use to demonstrate devices to clinicians. “The modern-day device rep has to be able to pivot in conversation,” Erickson says. “They're talking one minute to a clinician about efficacy, then immediately shift to talking about financials and economics. We develop apps that conform to the sales story, not linear-path apps.”
Infuse is based in Lehi, Utah, a magnet for high-tech located between Provo and Salt Lake City. Headcount remains near 40, where it's been for the past several years. Revenue in 2015 rose slightly: about 5% to $5 million.
While Medtronic's acquisition of Covidien had the effect of stagnating some of Infuse's brand work, the agency kept busy in 2015 with, among others, 3M Diagnostics, Hologic, and Olympus Medical. Erickson notes proudly that Infuse's O-Bronch sales app for Olympus helped drive year-over-year growth of 26% for the company's pulmonary portfolio.
“We've been able to go deeper and wider,” he says, referring both to the technical complexity of what Infuse creates and in the purposes their products serve.
Asked about industrywide trends, Erickson notes a resurgence in the use of 3-D animation. “It may sound like a throwback to the 1980s to talk about 3-D animation, but when you start incorporating it with virtual reality, there's a huge change,” he says. “I see a day in the next 12 to 18 months when a rep will use VR goggles as much as a tablet or a phone. It'll just be part of what they carry, like PowerPoint on a laptop was 10 years ago.”
Erickson understands the skepticism about VR, of course. “Up until the beginning of this year, it was just a shiny new toy,” he explains. “But late last year we began to see true application in both virtual reality and augmented reality. It's more than watching mechanism-of-action animation. We're truly getting into clinical application, creating true working models that couldn't have been achieved in the past with passive video.”
The tools work so well that they cross boundaries, he adds. “They are creating a blur between sales and marketing and training. We can help visualize [device] technology and showcase it in a way that's groundbreaking.”
Erickson notes that these and other marketing technologies have already helped millions of patients — including his father, who underwent a surgical procedure in which a so-called Da Vinci Robot was used. An Infuse client alerted Erickson's family to the existence of the device and helped get him access to it.
“We feel we do our part pushing the forefront of quality care,” he says.