Marketing of medical devices in India – a wave of change

From offering freebies to forming an emotional connect, there are various approaches companies are adopting to woo customers. The medtech industry too is soon catching up, albeit within its own confines


In the wake of the recent regulatory and tax reforms, it is interesting to see how the Indian Medical Device Industry is undergoing transformations. Factors such as focus on preventive health, government support, prevalence of diseases and emergence of new markets, have given a boost to the industry and led to stakeholders exploring new avenues in product promotion to withstand the stiff competition.

As the President of Sales, Marketing and Services at India’s Leading In-vitro Diagnostic Company, I thought this is an apt time to bring forth our take on what is driving the marketing of Indian IVD Industry.

Age-old methods of promotion, such as customary sales visits, exhibiting in trade shows, KOL meets and leave behind literature have been great marketing tactics that have worked effectively in the past and continue to do so. However, doors are now open for us to adopt newer technologies that deliver results faster.

Over the past few years, there has been a shift in focus from ‘volume’ based care to ‘value’ based care.  This model is primarily aimed at improving the quality of care for patients. Since, this approach is focused on patient outcomes; there is more onus now on the healthcare provider. In turn, medical device manufacturers are now modifying their marketing strategies to focus on delivering value based services.

Marketing strategies based on value based services are classified as experiential, evidence-based, relationship-based and digital. Lets us take a sneak peek into each:

Experiential marketing - This is all about ‘experiencing!’ Customers today prefer to ‘engage’ with the product. Companies have started using experiential marketing with the traditional forms of marketing to generate customer loyalty, influence purchase decision, create compelling experiences and increase audience engagement. While sky is the limit, highlighted below are two important media used for experiential marketing:
  • Interactive videos – Self explanatory videos allow the customers a ‘walk through’ the instrument and its functionalities, thereby giving the customer a chance to ‘experience’ the product.

  • Specialty vehicles A concept so far adopted by only the consumer products, is now gaining popularity in our industry as well. These specially designed vehicles are used by companies to showcase their products and appeal directly to the target market. Infact, Transasia is the first Indian IVD Company to introduce the mobile van to its customers. ‘Transasia on the Move’, was launched in 2016. It has travelled through big and small cities and remote towns of Northern, Southern, Western and Central India to take our technologies closer to our customers. More than 10,000 clinicians, lab professionals, technologists and budding medical professionals have been able to view and get a hands-on-experience of Transasia’s affordable, cutting-edge technologies, right at their doorstep.
Transasia on the Move, the specialty vehicle from Transasia is an effort to take its products and solutions to the remote areas

Evidence-based marketing - Marketing a medical device with the value-based care angle relies on clearly demonstrating data that signifies its main clinical benefits. Use of published data, statistics, market reports, white papers and case studies appeal to buyers as it helps substantiate your claims. As a manufacturer, you need to give your prospects content that provides valuable information, establishes you as an industry expert and builds trust and confidence. In addition to providing much-needed clinical evidence for device functionality and benefit, manufacturers need to show their customers that their clinically-proven device can help improve the quality of care while reducing the cost. In short, keeping the content useful, factual and value driven rather than overly self-serving will go a long way in influencing the buying decisions.

At Transasia, we regularly share evidences with our customers to validate the seamless performance of our products. Through our promotional campaign - weekly scientific updates – we reach out to more than 15,000 pathologists, clinicians and technicians with case studies and published papers.

Relationship-based marketing – The focus here is on long-term relationship building and loyalty rather than just transactional dealings with the customers. While evidence-based marketing is more analytical, this type of marketing helps bond with customers on a personal level.

Relationship marketing is a strong fundamental that we follow. In addition to one-on-one customer visits and sales pitching, other activities such as KOL meets, focus group meets and our specialized scientific sessions under the banner of Transasia Scientific Seminars bring together our patrons from different areas to keep them abreast with the latest technological advancements.

TRANSAB - Transasia's KOL meet sets stage to discuss the future of Indian Diagnostics
Digital marketing – This holds the key to the present and future of marketing in the medical device industry. Scale is the biggest advantage that digital marketing offers. In the shortest time and with little investment, digital marketing helps you reach your products across the globe. Website, social media presence, blogs, mobile apps and email campaigns have all become the need of the hour. 
Though in its nascent stage, digital marketing is becoming an integral part of Transasia’s marketing activities. Infact, this blog is a testimony to that!

At a recent national level scientific symposium of over 1000 delegates, Transasia took the lead to introduce a customized mobile app that facilitated a ‘paperless’ conference.  The app allowed seamless operations in delegate registrations, real-time rating of e-posters and collating feedback, among many other features.

Moreover, analytical tools can help you chalk out the lead generation pattern, buying preferences of your customers and which campaign is effective for you.

For a marketer like me, it is exciting to see the transition from the time tested doctor visits to the novel marketing tactics we come across everyday! With holograms, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) finding its way in IVD marketing, it’s just a matter of time that we companies adopt these technologies to increase brand recall value.  

Sources:
http://www.stonearchcreative.com/medical-device-companies-need-digital-marketing-strategy/
https://www.morganphilipsexecutivesearch.com/blog/how-is-technology-changing-sales-marketing-in-the-medical-devices-industry-2/
https://www.parkerwhite.com/insights/medical-device-companies-positioning-marketing-strategies-align-value-based-care/
https://blog.tslmarketing.com/medtech/medical-technology-device-marketing-strategy
https://www.mdconnectinc.com/medical-marketing-insights/medical-device-marketing-strategies-for-2016
http://bloomcreative.com/medical-device-marketing-three-key-principles-you-cant-afford-to-miss/
https://medicalmarcom.com/medical-device-marketing/medical-marketing-marcom-questions/
https://www.kunocreative.com/blog/medical-device-firms-market-to-busy-physicians

Authored by:

Mr. Amit Sehgal, 
President- Sales, Marketing & Services, 

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