Stryker and Novo Nordisk are among device makers advertising directly to consumers. What device and/or diagnostic marketing advances will emerge in DTC, and how should such companies experiment with media?


Jakob Jakobsen
Senior Media Strategist, Chandler Chicco

Direct-to-consumer marketing will continue its rise as an effective way to educate patients about medical devices. However, as part of any DTC campaign, you need to make sure strategies and tools are in place to educate and involve the healthcare providers either before, or at least in parallel with, the consumer-focused activities to prepare physicians for the right dialogue with patients.

Effective DTC marketing will increasingly rely on new interactive communications tools designed to not only educate, but also empower and engage patients and physicians alike. For instance, virtual reality and 3D-based tools and mobile apps that help patients envision life after treatment or the use of new sensor technologies that help patients track symptoms and share them with physicians in real-time.


David Sonderman
Executive Creative Director/EVP, GSW

Devices that let you test, track or deliver drugs all have a physical presence. Unlike a chemical that is injected or ingested, people know how to relate and respond to things they can touch and see. This tactile relationship with our senses has the power to create strong brand affinity.

Health devices become health gear, and like any gear (shoes, skis, watch, bag) our choices say something about us. I think we’ll see health gear becoming a new differentiator. Diabetes pens are on the way. Product design and open connectivity will become the drivers of choice­­­—do I like how it looks and feels and does it work with all my other stuff?

Smart manufacturers will create demand via the product attributes consumers can relate to—the device I can touch vs. the clinical data I can’t understand.


Kerry Hilton
CEO, HCB Health

The beautiful thing about marketing devices and diagnostics to consumers is the public’s fascination with technology. When they see advances that help heal, correct or improve life, they get it.

We’ll see medical devices sync with smartphones and empower patients to tweak personal settings. Hearing aids are an example—some have iPhone features that let users tune their hearing aids to fit their surroundings.

This convergence will make mobile marketing foundational in the DTC media mix. Campaigns will generate disease awareness, present treatment options (featuring the device), and generate leads. Mass-reach tactics will emphasize mobile, TV, targeted direct marketing and other tactics that help drive consumers to a condition-specific website designed to educate and capture leads.

Ellen Schuller
Director of Strategy, StoneArch Creative

Digital channels are where consumers and brands will likely converge. They empower both parties to engage on their own terms. As long as marketers provide valuable content, consumers will be willing to continue the conversation.

Consumers, paying a greater share of healthcare costs, are demanding more. They want outcomes and cost data. They expect unbiased information on which to make value-based treatment decisions.

In response to this changing landscape, marketers must employ new DTC strategies that educate and support, as well as advertise. Content will be richer and more relevant to individual consumer needs.

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