This time, it's non-personal promotion for device makers

Robert Boyce, general manager of healthcare, Modern Marketing Concepts
Robert Boyce, general manager of healthcare, Modern Marketing Concepts

Many medical-device and biopharmaceutical companies struggle to manage holistic sales and marketing efforts. Complex corporate structures within care facilities make it difficult to provide appropriate messaging to multiple touch points within their continuum-of-care settings. 

Big pharma has used multi­channel marketing for years and medical-device makers have long utilized inside sales, but neither has systematically cracked the code on developing effective and fully integrated sales and marketing programs. 

But efficient alternatives to hard-pressed representatives are not just a dream. Some companies are succeeding. How?  

The head of commercial at a large device firm who believed that a non-personal approach would not work for a new product his firm was bringing to market recently allowed us to give it a try in one segment. After eight months—through a well-executed multichannel campaign that included finance, directors of nursing, chief marketing officers and clinicians—we outpaced the field with sales and units in use.

In another case, a leading biopharma firm in the hospital market launched a product in the orphan-drug space while knowing it needed to expand the reach of its existing field force. So we devised a multi­channel account-management strategy to work in tandem with the field force. Insights related to each facility's purchasing process and key stakeholders gathered via multichannel efforts and then deployed to make visits by field sales reps more effective. 

The firm increased the overall frequency of messaging and its value proposition to hospital stakeholders through the use of effectively timed and analytically driven direct mail and e-mail campaigns. Simultaneously it broadened its reach through the use of inside tele-sales professionals, which let the firm navigate the structure of the IDNs and use this information to pull through sales of the new product once added to formulary at the corporate level. In the end, we created a master channel data set with a high data density of valuable elements that could be further integrated with the client's existing CRM platform to ensure best execution across all future sales and marketing efforts. 

In this case, a comparative study demonstrated that an outbound non-personal inter­action where a marketing message was delivered prior to the visit by field personnel preceded 90% of the closed sales. 

While there are significant forces in the industry that are making sales and marketing more challenging than they have been in prior eras, new tools and approaches are having success generating returns. Leverage all your resources to develop a picture of the facility. Integrate that data picture to devise a plan that integrates all of the channels at your disposal. The best-case result? A better, and more cost-effective, customer experience.


The most recent MM&M Skill Sets Live event, "Personalizing the Healthcare Experience," surveyed a range of issues relating to some of the industry's hottest topics. This e-book conveys a wealth of information and opinion designed to help marketers demystify the challenges associated with the personalization of healthcare messaging. Click here to access.