Tag Archives: medical marketing

10 Ways to Botch a Medical Device Launch

Several years ago, we were asked to consult on the launch of a troubled medical device, one that had cost millions to develop. Our first step was to assess doctor demand for the product through qualitative and quantitative research. The results were stark and conclusive. Not one doctor in the study said they would purchase the device at any price. The launch and the product were scratched.

View work from our medical division at Ideopia Medical Marketing.

So why do launches of new medical devices fail? Are the products not innovative? Are they too expensive? Did you lift off too close to the holidays? Those are rarely the root cause, but our list below maps out some of the key troublemakers.

  1. Ignore the distributor, doctor and patient. Medical devices are rooted in science and engineering. But market acceptance is driven by consumer insight and education. Consult your distribution network, and doctors who you don’t pay as KOLs. Apply what you learn to products in development, and uncover the need for new devices.
  2. Let R&D propaganda drive the marketing. They’re undoubtedly jazzed about their new widget’s performance. But that doesn’t guarantee the market will feel the same way. Determining an effective strategy depends on finding out what the end user, or decision maker, values. Test the prototype with your target. Listen. Repeat.
  3. Starve the marketing. You only get to be new and shiny once. Make it count. Your new product needs sustained support not just for the launch period, but for months afterwards. And, you can’t do it with just journal advertising anymore. You must employ multiple tactics that work in sync in your sales funnel.
  4. Launch a bum product. Pushing a product out the door before it’s ready will cost you dearly. You’ll pay to make it right, the product will never reach its potential, and the damage to your brand will be exorbitant. You’ll pay all over again when your next product launch is greeted with skepticism.
  5. Underestimate the competitive response. If you’re lucky and your product is worthy, it should provoke jealousy, fear and hatred from your competitors. Assume that you have more leakers than the White House, and that your competition is preparing for your launch with the same intensity as you are. Prepare your sales force to counter the flak and misinformation. Otherwise, rumor becomes reality.
  6. Hype it ‘til you’re hoarse. New products rarely live up to their hype, which makes them ultimately disappointing. Again, think to the future, and consider the credibility of your next hype fest. If you want brand love, be authentic. Show it through the story of your product and the people who are passionate about it.
  7. Play games with the price. Introductory offers are a tell that every doctor, distributor and buyer recognizes as: A. You don’t have confidence in the value of the product. B. You consider the real price too expensive. Both of them will come back to bite you in the haunches when it’s time to deliver margin.
  8. Launch without adequate inventory. This seems obvious, but it happens. Especially when manufacturing, management or accounting don’t share your confidence in the product, and hesitate to invest in inventory. Your introduction may go flawlessly your reputation will never recover from the inability to deliver product. Instead, you’ll lose orders, and give competitors time to catch up.
  9. Ignore aesthetics and ergonomics. Too many new medical devices come out of the chute looking like science experiments. Your innovation might be brilliant, but leaving out details like smart design and ergonomics leave the end user with a “blah” instead of a “wow” experience.
  10. Don’t believe. Deep down, you know this new product is a goat. You don’t need to say a word. Your cynicism or fake enthusiasm will poison your sales force and customers. Maybe you do have a dud on your hands, but you, as the leader, should not cement its fate. Speak truth to power. Get another job. Bad products and bad launches reflect on you, too.

Learn more at our medical division website, Ideopia Medical Marketing.

People who read this post also read “Does your Healthcare Brand Have the Blues?”

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Websites and Eco Promotion Win Awards

Print isn’t a flashy buzzword like marketing automation or native advertising, but in the hands of a great agency, it’s still an ROI monster. A trio of readership awards Ideopia just won for Haag-Streit USA confirms this.

Our new campaigns for Octopus and Tonosafe medical devices were named the top attention-getting ads in three healthcare publications: Review of Optometry, Review of Ophthalmology and Ophthalmic Professional Magazines.

“Excellent ad. I actually did not know these were available and in less than 15 seconds I wanted to order them,” said one doctor about Tonosafe, which helps protect patients from disease.

“Eye catching,” said another, reaffirming the value of bold, fresh work that stands out – especially in medical where EVERYTHING is blue, or draped in white coats.

Show Me the ROI

Curious about how readership studies work? Publishers email readers and ask them to describe and rate ads based on criteria like stopping power, information and believability.

Sure, they aren’t purely objective (what is?), but they’re one of the best ways to measure the effectiveness of print work, hear direct feedback from customers, and see how it stacks up against the competition.

Ideopia’s hybrid marketing can stretch your budget even further and boost ROI by pairing print campaigns with digital and social media.

Learn more at our medical division website, Ideopia Medical Marketing.

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Ideopia Wins Medical Marketing Awards

Ideopia competed with more than 3,000 entrants to win two Gold and two Bronze Medals at the 2014 Aster Awards, which recognize creative accomplishments in medical marketing. And the winners are:

Reliance Medical Products (Mason, OH) — Gold for magazine “Legendary Campaign” for examination chairs

Eyefficient, Inc. (Cleveland Ohio) — Bronze for Eyefficient.com web and mobile sites.

Reichert Technologies (Buffalo, NY) — Gold for “Blink Blog” and email newsletter.

Reichert Technologies — Bronze for magazine “Animal Campaign”

We thank the Asters, the Academy, the Jamaican Bobsled team, and the great clients who work with us as true partners: Steve Juenger, vp of marketing and sales, Haag-Streit USA; and Mark Newkirk in his roles as Director of Global Marketing for Reichert Technologies; and more recently as CEO of Eyefficient, Inc.

See our Aster award winning entries on our WavyBrainy blog.

Learn more at our medical division website, Ideopia Medical Marketing.

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Ideopia Wins 2014 Aster Awards for Creative Medical Marketing

Ideopia, the Hybrid Agency, was awarded multiple Asters for advertising created for its clients in the medical industry. Ideopia won four awards for three separate clients, including print campaigns, blog and email marketing, and web development.

Ideopia received awards in the following categories:

  • Gold in the Magazine Category for its “Legendary Campaign” for Reliance Medical Products in Mason, Ohio.
  • Gold in the E-Newsletter Category for “Blink Blog” for Reichert Technologies in Buffalo, New York.
  • Bronze  in the Magazine Category for Reichert Technologies for its “Animal” campaign.
  • Bronze in the Website Category for Eyefficient, Inc. in Aurora, Ohio, for its website.

Click images to enlarge

“By working together, our creative team and our clients are able to craft exciting and innovative advertising,” said Bill Abramovitz, CEO and Creative Director of Ideopia. “It’s rewarding to see our work recognized by our peers in the industry.”

The Aster Awards is one of the largest national competitions of its kind and recognizes the most talented healthcare marketing professionals for outstanding excellence in advertising. The 2014 Aster Awards received over 3,000 entries from around the world.

Entries for each category are judged by a panel of design and healthcare marketing professionals on Creativity, Layout/Design, Typography, Production, Quality, and Overall Effectiveness. First, second and third-place winners receive Gold, Silver and Bronze awards.

About Ideopia

Founded in 1990 Ideopia, the Hybrid Agency, is an integrated marketing agency that partners with clients to achieve long-term goals through interactive marketing, web development, social media, public relations and advertising. Ideopia is headquartered in Cincinnati but lives in the cloud at ideopia.com.

Learn more at our medical division website, Ideopia Medical Marketing.

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How Not to Design Hospital Logos

With urgent care, ambulatory surgical centers, physician group offices, and pharmacy based Little Clinics sprouting up in the burbs, the heat is on hospitals to become more aggressive marketers. So what is the typical first act of marketing aggression? You guessed it, a new logo. After all, what else do we have throw a pile o’ cash at, a new CT Scanner?

So it was surprising to find five different healthcare institutions with the same basic icon. It’s a square cross, where each extension is the same length. This mark was probably very clever — the first time. It bleeds off equity from the Red Cross logo, and gets the religion bit in. But, as emblems of brands, they lack utility, and imagination. Imagine this scenario. You pass out at a mall. The paramedic asks for your hospital choice. And all you can muster through the fog is “the one with the cross.” Playing safe is expensive.

So how do you avoid a similar snafu?

  1. Study the competition.
  2. Study design trends in your category.
  3. Make sure the underlying business and marketing strategies are competitive and clear.
  4. Commit yourself to creating a smart, distinct mark.
  5. Hire a really great branding agency. If you can find one.


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Giant Inflatable Organs Are Crowd Pleasers

Giant inflatable organs for your next healthcare eventEach year, more Americans die from colon cancer than AIDs or breast cancer. That’s why during March’s Colon Cancer Awareness Month, organizations like Strides for Life travel with a secret weapon: a huge attention-getting, inflatable colon.

Rather than read from a flimsy pamphlet, people tour the enormous colon and get to see what happens inside the body. By taking a light-hearted approach to a serious topic, the inflatable colon has become a marketing tool to promote colon cancer screenings and raise brand awareness.

So, for your next healthcare event, consider a giant organ to draw the crowds. Plus, they’re effective for all ages – especially families. If colons aren’t your style, just wait. There’s much, much more…

Pick an Organ. Any Organ.

Companies like Interactive Exhibits and Medical Inflatables serve up huge “MEGA” hearts, lungs (coming soon) and brains. These interactive, walk-through models help people understand the risks, symptoms and causes of various diseases. And every single exhibit has drawn crowds that promote health education and healthy lifestyles. Check out the company’s YouTube channel to see how a giant heart could spark the buzz at your next healthcare event.

If you’re thinking outside the box, turn human anatomy into a children’s game with these anatomy aprons. Who knows? Maybe adults could use the education too!

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Hospital Marketing: 8 Risks of Playing it Safe

One of the biggest challenges of healthcare and hospital marketing is creating a brand based on a differentiation that’s meaningful to consumers. The usual path is the safe route. Here are some of the biggest offenses:

  1. Envision your hospital as a conglomeration of separate companies, or rogue states, e.g. radiology, oncology, ER, orthopedics, and our favorite, “The Open MRI Toaster.”
  2. Show lots of doctors in your ads. Doctors with their arms folded. Doctors with patients. Doctors with other doctors. Doctors with weird medical devices or doctors in scrubs. All available to you and your competitors on the nearest cheapo stock photo site.
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