Three Wise Dames

Marketing in the Life Science Industry

Guest Post Part II: Social Media’s Impact on Purchases February 14, 2013

Filed under: Debbie,Guest Posts,Social media — Debbie Donovan @ 12:00 pm
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elephantWgirlWstickGuest Wise Dame Susan L. Brown for Brown & Associates

ROI for social media and communities is the “elephant in the room.” Everyone wants a definitive answer to how to evaluate return on investment. Also how much investment is enough? What are the resources needed? What kind of social media is effective and why?

How Does Social Impact Brands and Purchase?  Some Use Statistics

Performics is a Publicis-owned company that focuses on digital marketing optimization including assessments of how consumers talk about brands on the social web. It conducted an online survey of U.S. consumers who access at least one social network regularly and determined what kind of impact social networking has on the purchase process. 34% of social networkers had taken action on an ad they had seen on a social networking site by doing a further search on the product, while 30% had learned about a new product while on a social networking site. One quarter of respondents were making product recommendations while social networking.

Use of Social Networking in the Purchase Process:

I have discussed products/services/brands on social networking sites after seeing an ad elsewhere: 20%

I have recommended a product/service/brand to my friends via a social networking site: 25%

I have gone directly to an online retailer or ecommerce site after learning about a product/ service/brand via a social networking site: 25%

I am receptive to invitations to events, special offers or promotions from advertisers communicated to me through social networking sites 27%

I have learned about a new product, service and/ or brand from a social networking site: 30%

I have used a search engine to find information on a product/service/brand after seeing an advertisement on a social networking site: 34%

Source: Performics, 2009; The Impact of Social Media Methodology: Online survey of 3,011 who access at least one social network regularly

Another landmark study conducted by the Altimeter Group and Wet Paint has found that the most valuable brands in the world are experiencing a direct correlation between top financial performance and deep social engagement. The relationship is apparent and significant: socially engaged companies are in fact more financially successful.

Key Findings of the Study:

1) Depth of engagement can be measured.
As the number of channels increase, overall engagement increases at a faster rate. Engagement differs by industry.

2) Brands participating in the social space fall into one of four engagement profiles.

SelMavWallButterMAVENS – These brands are engaged in seven or more channels and have an above-average engagement score. Mavens not only have a robust strategy and dedicated teams focused on social media, but also make it a core part of their go-to-market strategy.

BUTTERFLIES – These brands are engaged in seven or more channels but have lower than average engagement scores. Butterflies have initiatives in many different channels, but tend to spread themselves too thin, investing in a few channels while letting others languish.

SELECTIVES – These brands are engaged in six or fewer channels and have higher than average engagement scores. Selectives have a very strong presence in just a few channels where they focus on engaging customers deeply when and where it matters most.

WALLFLOWERS – These brands are engaged in six or fewer channels and have below-average engagement scores. They are still trying to figure out social media by testing just a few channels. They are also cautious about the risks, uncertain about the benefits, and therefore engage only lightly in the channels where they are present.

3) Financial performance correlates with engagement

  • The findings revealed that there is a financial correlation showing companies that are both deeply and widely engaged in social media, or MAVENS, surpass their peers in terms of both revenue and profit performance by a significant difference.

Next–Part III: Judging Social Media Success

Don’t miss–Part I: 6 Key Steps to Determine Social Media ROI

(C) 03/2011, updated, 1/2013; all rights reserved. This article may be shared in part or whole with credit given to author and link to Brown & Associates

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Power of Combining Brands May 11, 2011

A colleague once told me that a health care provider is a value added reseller (VAR) of health care services enabled by great technology. This is no different then a VAR in the high technology computer industry. The best marketing programs for any VAR are cooperative–both parties contribute their brand and budget resources (money and time) to extend the marketing of a given product or service.

The main message is:

Obtain this [national brand] at [your local outlet]

Consumer examples:

Obtain a refreshing Coca-cola(R) beverage at your Main Street McDonalds(R)

Fry’s(R) electronics is an authorized reseller of HP(R) Printers

Health care examples:

Mountain View’s El Camino Hospital now offers the da Vinci(R) Si system for minimally invasive hysterectomy

Essure(R) permanent birth control is now performed in Dr. Mason’s Fresno office

Balloon Sinuplasty(TM) procedures are performed by Dr. Nathan at Southwest Texas Methodist Hospital

The value of the message is the exponential power of two brands joined together. Each has value on its own; however, when combined, the local health care provider legitimizes the availability of the advanced technology and the company provides advanced technology to the local health care provider.

Who wins? Everyone in the chain–the patient gets access to the medical company’s advanced technology from a local healthcare provider. I would propose that public and private payers win also and here’s why.

<Warning: Soapbox Moment>

Finally (thanks Shana Leonard) there is a conversation around devices becoming the new drugs driven off the analysis of the American College of Cardiology meeting by Reuters. Since diving into the medical device industry, I’ve come to believe if a health problem is mechanical then why not fix it with a mechanical solution instead of masking the symptoms with drugs? In many cases, this is a more cost-effective approach. Your thoughts?

(c) eGold Solutions, all rights reserved.

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Practice Marketing is not Rocket Surgery October 17, 2010

Filed under: Debbie,DTC,Physician Preparation — Debbie Donovan @ 2:05 pm
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[Oct 17, 2011: I just had to re-post after viewing the Hubspot capabilities video–they talk about marketing not being rocket surgery! I’ve consumed many of their helpful inbound marketing resources so check them out.]

There is a fascinating process that converts a consumer with a health problem into a patient whose symptoms have been successfully resolved. Reaching the consumer with the health problem your products can solve is a fun challenge for medical device companies. It’s not rocket surgery–which is to say it is not expensive or complicated.

Many a time the marketing department is told, “just put ads on TV and sales will take off like a rocket.” When considering Lisa’s 6 Criteria for DTC campaign readiness, points 1, 2, and 6 rely heavily on the health care professional trained to perform a branded medical procedure. The burning question is “Are your customers really ready to receive patients?” Here are ways to evaluate customer readiness:

  1. Does the staff understand which patient population will call and what questions they will ask to get more information about the health problem and product?
  2. Do the patients already in the practice know their doctor performs the branded procedure to resolve a health problem they may not have mentioned?
  3. Does the referral community know that their local specialist is trained to treat the health problem with the latest technology?

If all three questions can’t be answered with a solid yes, then there is work to be done at the local trained specialist point of care.  Preparations can and should be simple, inexpensive and easy to implement so there are no excuses for not completing the tasks.

Next up: Simple, inexpensive “must do’s” to prepare a practice for DTC/DTP.

(C) 2011 eGold Solutions; all rights reserved.

Related Information:

Hubspot’s capability video–they talk about rocket surgery

 

Expect the unexpected – what happens when the DTC campaign is launched February 3, 2010

Filed under: DTC,Lisa — Lisa Pohmajevich @ 11:28 pm
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You’ve launched your campaign and the phones are ringing – and among the many calls you’d hoped for are those you least expected.  Some reactions are anticipated, some will leave you gobsmacked!  These are a few that caused our heads to turn:

  • To capitalize on the DTC campaign, a physician invests in a local advertising to promote his practice and the new procedure; when interested patients with no contraindications or insurance issues contact the physician he convinces them to have an alternative procedure.
  • After being refused an elective procedure by a physician who promotes performing the procedure, consumers go to chat room sites and ‘teach’ each other the questions and responses to ensure getting what they want.
  • A non medical group successfully discourages physician adoption of new and safer techniques because of the implications to the group tenets and governance.
  • Advertising is dropped by a broadcaster because of one complaint received from a listener about the use of anatomically correct terms in the description of the procedure.
  • Competitors began advertising their unrelated products with our message.

Plan to be surprised from the most unexpected of experiences.  And remember to chuckle at the things you can’t control.   Comments welcome.

(c) 2010 pH Consulting

 

The velocity of revenue is a direct result of the speed of confidence February 2, 2010

Filed under: DTC,Lisa,Market Planning,Physician Preparation — Lisa Pohmajevich @ 11:16 pm
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Image credit: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

New products released into the market have cleared many hurdles. Clearance from the FDA indicates that the product meets safety and efficacy requirements. This milestone in a product life cycle typically follows extended research, development, design, testing, and refinement phases. Companies that have invested and toiled over the development challenges in anticipation of a market release are understandably eager to realize revenueAs much and as soon, as possible.

To that end, planning discussions turn to training, distribution and marketing. This is frequently the point in time when the acceleration question is raised.

How fast can we ramp up sales?

Should we do DTC advertising to increase demand?

What kind of promotions can we offer to encourage volume purchases?

I believe these questions are premature. Ideally, DTC advertising and promotional programs are part of marketing strategy that includes market development and preparation. They are most effective when conditions for market adoption of a new product have been optimized.

The best time to advertise to patients and consumers, introduce promotions to encourage purchases and increase sales activities, is when physicians have reached a state of confidence with a new product. Confidence represents the final stage in customer adoption of new technology.

New product introduction requires physician training. The three stages of adoption are defined by the state of accomplishment the physician achieves during training on a procedure with a new product.

Stage one – Capable
The physician understands the product concept and purpose. They can successfully deploy the product with support of a trainer. Use of the product is occasional.

Stage two – Competent
The physician correctly performs the procedure using the product with limited training support. The physician is proficient performing the procedure and use of the product is intermittent.

Stage three – Confident
The physician has mastered the procedure and product use. No support is required.

Confidence occurs after the physician has enough positive experience and good patient outcomes with the product. The confident stage is also recognizable beyond performing the procedure without support. Two hallmarks signal the physician has reached a state of confidence.

1. The physician routinely incorporates the product in their treatment regime.
2. The physician proactively discusses the product with patients in which treatment including the use of the product is appropriate.

When physicians reach this stage, DTC advertising and promotional programs are good strategies to employ. The physician has been appropriately supported by the company and is well prepared for new patients investigating the advertised procedure. The questions regarding increasing revenues should first center on the physician and accelerating their state of confidence. The best time to do advertising and promotional programs is when the market is optimized with confident customers.

Comments welcome.

(c) 2010 pH Consulting

 

Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? January 23, 2010

Filed under: Lisa,Market Planning — Lisa Pohmajevich @ 6:57 pm
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Image credit: Matt Windsor/Threadless.com

In an earlier post I outlined criteria useful in determining if your product is ready for a DTC campaign. The first of which is ‘the product/procedure is widely available through providers’. Most of our healthcare is delivered to us through the physician [provider], and as needed, the physician refers us to another provider, or another healthcare service. When we are sick or hurt we go see a doctor.

If our symptoms are tolerable, or we feel like it will pass and we are not yet at death’s doorstep, we may delay calling the doctor. We may first consult family or friends. We may do an internet search to try and match our symptoms to something described on a reliable site. However, if the symptoms persist, and our armchair doctoring fails – we go to the doctor. It is common and proper to defer to the expert and for health and wellness concerns, it is the doctor we should consult, they are supposed to know what to do for us.

We do not typically turn on the TV, or flip through a magazine or even tune the radio, seeking an advertisement about that which ails us.

Therefore, it is a logical conclusion that before broadcasting product availability to consumers, the doctor should be made aware of the product, the application and the appropriate patient for whom the product is best suited. In the medical device field, this awareness may also include product use training so that the doctor is prepared to treat the patient. The next likely questions might be ‘how many doctors must be aware and prepared?’ and ‘how fast can this happen?’

The answer to the first question is likely answered in the company business plan. The number of doctors that require preparation equals the number of doctors who serve patients with the healthcare issue for which the product is labeled. This is especially true if the healthcare concern is rare, and physicians who treat patients with the concern are few in number. This is also true if a goal of the company is to achieve a standard of care declaration that references the product.

However, the real number is that which represents a significant enough population of physicians to serve the patients in a timely manner, to which you direct advertising. To determine how many, who they are and where they are requires a clear understanding of the specialty, patient referral patterns, and regulatory and reimbursement environments. Defining these market aspects is fundamental to establishing good marketing strategy.

Solid marketing strategy supports well coordinated marketing planning. Planning before spending will more likely result in the laying of a golden egg.

How fast can this happen? Stay tuned for that post.

Comments welcome.

(c) 2010 pH Consulting


 

Is it time yet? January 22, 2010

Filed under: DTC,Lisa — Lisa Pohmajevich @ 6:28 pm
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Lately, I’m often asked this question, “When is it time to do DTC advertising?” Usually the question is followed by statements like these:

Our sales people keep asking for it.

Customers are calling and want to know why we haven’t yet advertised like company X.

The Board suggested we consider the impact of DTC advertising.

Occasionally there is also the admission that nothing else has really worked to skyrocket sales. Beneath the timing question, is always the implicit assumption that DTC marketing will most certainly result in increased sales.

Over the years, I have been involved in a number of medical device DTC advertising campaigns, delivered in a variety of form and magnitude.  Every campaign resulted in successful and interesting outcomes – much of an unexpected nature. Some were successful in terms of revenue returns, and others successful in highly valuable learning that served to refine and optimize the follow-on campaigns. Some of the outcomes were just plain interesting – human behavior type interesting – a blog topic for another day.

Having experienced successes with DTC campaigns, I am a firm believer that they can be very useful in the life science – medical device industry; they can help to drive product demand and increase revenue. Before my campaign successes, came the campaign trials. From these, I learned a few things about timing. Before deciding if the time is right for a DTC campaign, there are two key questions to answer.

  • First, is the product/procedure ready for a DTC campaign?
  • And second, but equally important, are you ready for a DTC campaign?

Because you are reading this, it’s quite possible that you are considering a DTC campaign. To assess if your product/procedure is ready for a DTC campaign, I’ve honed in on six key criteria that should be affirmative.

1. The product/procedure is now widely available through providers.

2. The consumer can access your product/procedure by making a specific request to his/her provider.

3. The product/procedure is affordable or covered in reimbursed medical expenses through a majority of insurance plans.

4. There is a body of published medical and scientific literature that contains significant effectiveness and safety data.

5. There is an abundance of positive chatter about your product/procedure.

6. The provider community understands the product/procedure can confidently converse with patients about it.

Of course, this is only an initial list of considerations for use when deciding whether a DTC campaign will be productive for your medical device/procedure – but it’s a great place to start. Feel free to add others in your comments.

In closing, just as you might expect, in-depth assessment before you decide to move ahead with a DTC campaign will be well worth the time investment. In the future I’ll tackle the issue of how you know you are prepared to launch a campaign.

Comments welcome.

(c) 2010 pH Consulting


 

 
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