Category Archives: Marketing

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Why Social Media is Important for the MedTech Industry

Why is Social Media Important for the MedTech Industry?

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MedTech companies finally have the chance to build relationships with medical professionals, keep up with innovation and share medical information about the medical technology it delivers. The MedTech companies that embrace change and create value for the medical professionals that use their products with a robust and engaging social media campaign can create innovation that exceeds expectations of consumers.  According to the Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry, the MedTech industry should use social media in the following ways:

■    To market products and build loyalty among customers
■    To create a feedback mechanism and a customer relationship tool.
■    To find partners and to collaborate in all segments of the product life cycle (Johnson, 2010)

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Choosing the right sites is critical to the social media plan in order to touch upon all valid points.

Four popular websites provide networking, relationship building and educational opportunities:

1. LinkedIn is a professional networking website, with over 1.5 million healthcare professionals registered for networking, relationship building and professional development.  A search for “medical devices” on LinkedIn yields 479 groups, such as the Medical Device Professionals Network with more than 13,000 members.  (Johnson, 2010).

2. Twitter:  Twitter is a micro-blogging site where one can find industry news updates, share information and connect with other medical professionals or vendors. Eleven reasons for medical professionals to use Twitter is stated below, according to Pallimed (Sinclair, 2010):

Networking (with people you do and do not know)
1. Network with medical professionals in their discipline (doctors and doctors)
2. Network with medical professionals outside their discipline (doctors and pharmacists)
3. Network with medical professionals within one’s specialty (ER nurses and ER nurses)
4. Network with medical professionals outside one’s specialty (ER  nurses and hospice nurses)

Learning:
5. Following search terms related to your field to see what people are saying
6. Finding media reports about one’s field to find what your patients might be reading

Supporting:
7. Extending the reach of topics important to you
8. Giving words of support to those in your Twitter network

Influence:
9  Posting journal articles, news, blog posts, conference highlights from others supporting your cause

Educating:
10. Posting links or quotes to talks, articles, blog posts written by you or your team
11. Posting links or quotes to talks, articles, blog posts written by others

 3.  Facebook: Facebook is the world’s largest social network with an easy to learn platform for medical professionals to use. Medical web times writes that “information that is typically recommended by their friends creates an opportunity to catch their attention with a great headline and a link back to your medical web site.  From here you are free to continue the story and offer a call-to-action” (MWT, 2013).

4.  YouTube: This platform has a special section for education-EDU. According to the YouTube website: “Whether you’re doing research for a project, need help with homework, or just want to learn something new, YouTube EDU features some of our most popular videos” (YouTube, 2013)

Knowing what your audience needs and expects is crucial in delivering their needs and exceeding expectations. This chart shows that 66% of medical professionals prefer to receive educational materials, which can be done using social media and content marketing (HLD, 2012).

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According to Communications Congress “Medtech companies should exploit the opportunities of social networks and invest more in the online dialog with customers and a more professional style of communication. Social networks are the communication centers of the future. Target groups become main stakeholders via social media. Companies must begin the dialog in the network, listen to customers, and learn to moderate and shape the discussions, for instance via Facebook, Twitter, or special knowledge forums. The social media activities must be approached strategically and be provided with sufficient resources” (BVMed, 2013). This is very true and an urgent matter for the bulk of the MedTech industry.

Fewer financial resources are eminent until the Federal Government removes the 2.3% Medial Device Tax (IRS, 2012), however a MedTech company can see where their efforts are going through metrics and analytics to better allocate funds. The following chart details the 5 categories of social media measurement:

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Consistency with enough resources is key to any social media campaign.

Conclusion

Social media can change the way the MedTech industry markets new and innovative products, communicates and builds relationships and shares medical information. Consumer expectations of value not being derived entirely with the product itself, but with the “whole package” that the MedTech company can deliver. Even if resources are tight, starting a social media campaign is cost-effective and gentle on the budget compared to traditional efforts. The MedTech industry has an opportunity to overcome their reluctance to participate fully in the social media realm and become as technologically advanced as the products they promote.

BVMed. (2013). Communication conference: Medtech underestimates the power of social media. Retrieved from BVMed: http://www.bvmed.de/themen/kommunikation/oeffentlichkeitsarbeit/pressemitteilung/social-media-wird-in-der-medtech-branche-noch-unterschaetzt.html?language=2

DHHS. (2013). The Health and Medical Technology Industry in the United States. Retrieved from Select USA-Department of health and Human Services: http://selectusa.commerce.gov/industry-snapshots/health-and-medical-technology-industry-united-states

HLD. (2012). How Healthcare Professionals Prefer to Comminicate. Retrieved from health link dimensions: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/22025485651098877/

IRS. (2012). Medical Device Tax. Retrieved from IRS: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Medical-Device-Excise-Tax:-Frequently-Asked-Questions

Johnson, H. (2010, August 6). As Social Media Evolves, the Device Industry Must Also. Retrieved from MDDI: http://www.mddionline.com/article/social-media-evolves-device-industry-must-also

MWT. (2013). 10 pros & cons for medical prasctices and soicl media networks . Retrieved from Medcical web times: http://www.medicalwebtimes.com/thetimes/medical-headlines/top-10-pros-cons-for-medical-practices-using-social-networking-web-sites

Sinclair, C. (2010, February). Twitter for Medical Professionals: 11 Uses in 9 Steps. Retrieved from Pallimed: http://www.pallimed.org/2010/02/twitter-for-medical-professionals-11.

YouTube. (2013). Medical technology. Retrieved from Education: https://www.youtube.com/education?category=University/Medicine/Medical%20Technology

Medtech Marketing and the Mountains

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Marketing medical devices and products is a challenging and tricky job. Oftentimes the medical products I promote help save lives or assist medical professionals with their surgeries and procedures, but can be a dry subject to broach. It takes an enormous amount of creativity to make medical merchandise look exciting enough to entice a client to want to learn more (or ideally) purchase the product, no matter which marketing methods are used.

Recently, the Medtech distribution company I work for adopted a marketing campaign to spread the good word about the products we offer using social media. This is a daunting task since we have to start from scratch. Not only does starting a social media marketing campaign require substantial time and effort, the planning and effective execution of ideas and initiatives tend to have a brain-draining effect. The mind is always on trying to tweak a proposal, think up the next, best slogan or how to expand brand awareness.

I am always willing to learn techniques and tips on how to make our social media marketing campaign better, and sometimes I overwhelm myself with information overload. My weekends are usually filled with chores and homework and marketing campaigns, and this weekend was no different. However, while in the mountains this past Saturday, I learned a valuable lesson concerning social media and Medtech marketing. This is the story about that lesson.

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Early Saturday morning, slivers of sunshine shone through the trees as we drove up the hill to my Conway NH mountain dwelling, brightening the day enough to unload a heavily-packed pick-up. After the 2-hour ride from my Massachusetts home, I was eager to get out and get started. The agenda was pregnant with many tasks, including yard clean-up, anti-freezing our pipes and getting the place ready for winter, not to mention the marketing campaign I needed to work on that night. I dropped out of the truck burdened with what lay ahead while my husband whistled and cheerfully undid rope-ties and bungee cords.

Billy 4-wheeling

My dog jumped from the backseat of the truck to sniff out the property and hunt down fragrant possibilities. The supplies needed to perform our duties were set on the picnic table in our front yard while the food and warm clothing we brought was taken inside. Lastly, our 4-Wheeler was driven off and gassed up ready to transport firewood to the pit. So began our day.

Happy Zebo by the Saco

First-things first: our dog needed to trek a block away to the Saco River to dip into the cold, rushing water. This has become a habit since he was a puppy and barely tall enough to swim. Ooooh, the swish and feel of the river water made my dog smile (yes, smile), and the joy of his happiness made us laugh out-loud. Ten minutes turned into twenty, then sixty, and before we knew it, more than hour and ½ went by. I snapped a few shots with my camera, soaked in the warmth of the sun (which had now risen over the tree line), and sat arm-in-arm with my husband on a drift-log abandoned on the beach. I felt better already, less stressed and lighter. We both knew we had work to do and we reluctantly went back to the house with the intent of getting our chores finished.

Camp Fire

Once back at camp we started a fire to dry off our dog and burn the trash. With the temperatures now rising to an out-of-the-norm range of 50 degrees on an early November morning, we were tempted to abandon our chores and take the 4-Wheeler for a scoot around the trails. We promised ourselves that we will take advantage of the empty grove once the yard was cleaned and home winterized, but a small jaunt wouldn’t hurt, would it? We let the fire burn down and secured our pet before succumbing to the call of the 4-Wheeler. Fighting against guilty urges for abandoning our original plan, we quickly packed a picnic lunch and headed off down the groves trails and out to the expansive fields behind our property.

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As each minute passed, our guilt became a distant memory. The 4-Wheeler whizzed through the tress and over green fields. The sun glared down heating up to an unseasonal 70 degrees. It was a treat be able to strip down to a t-shirt and jeans in November in the mountains. My face beamed with delight as we took turns racing through the woods, jumping over berms and getting air, screaming “Wahoo!” like a kid.

Secret hiding place

Finding a resting-spot was easy since we had (what seemed like) the whole mountain to ourselves since we have been riding for a few hours without seeing another human. We chose a sunny spot at the edge of a field with the beautiful White Mountains in the background and the Saco River at our side.

Lunch wagon!

We ate, drank a few beers, laughed, kissed, told stories we both heard many times to each other and laughed some more. I snapped a few shots of the scenery and of us and embraced the moment. What joy!

Milk pods, river beds and grassy hills.

By the time we made it back to our home, our dog was ready for another swim in the river. We decided to take him back down to the water and set up on the beach so he can be as happy as we were. For the first time all day, we ran into other people. Our neighbors were also up North to winterize their camp, and they had two energetic pups our dog engaged with, much to his delight. Seeing my 10-year old dog play like we was a young puppy was just blissful.

With the sun setting quicker than we wanted, the air cooling off quicker than expected and the beers disappearing quicker than we anticipated, we decided to get back to the house and settle in for the night. We trudged back to the house, made a fat-belly dinner, ate like kings and made plans for doing our chores on Sunday. The sun finally set behind naked trees and called to the on-coming night. Our bodies were simply exhausted from the day’s activities, but our minds were (oddly) completely refreshed! We decided to get to bed early and start at dawn in the morning to deal with the tasks at hand. And we did just that.

View from camp

What does all this have to do with Medtech marketing and social media?  Absolutely nothing! But don’t fret, I did say that I learned a valuable lesson, and I did. When one is over-worked, stressed out and has what seems like an insurmountable amount of work to do, sometimes a bit of goofing off does wonders for the soul. We did our chores on Sunday with vigor, I worked on my marketing campaign with a fresh outlook, and I am now writing this blog to show just how much a little unplanned joy can change attitudes and mindsets.

I truly believe that if we did our chores on that warm November Saturday instead of taking time to enjoy the day, I would not be writing this blog, I would not attack my marketing work with a clear mind and I wouldn’t be ready for the week’s work ahead. So the lesson is to take time to enjoy the simple things, like 4-Wheeling, hanging out with your dog and beers by the river, before tackling the challenging tasks in your life, like Medtech marketing using social media. Good lesson indeed!

A Name To Call Our Own: Syfy

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Since the Sci Fi Channel was born in 1992, many people were mistakenly referring to the Sci Fi Channel with different spellings and configurations: SciFi Channel, Sci-Fi Channel, SCIFI Channel and on and on it went. The brand name Sci Fi was confusing because the network was using a GENRE (Science-Fiction) for a brand name and did not have an original brand name of its own. As reported in the New York Times: “We couldn’t own Sci Fi; it’s a genre,” said Bonnie Hammer, the former president of Sci Fi who became the president of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and Universal Cable Productions. “But we can own Syfy”.

The seemingly weird spelling of the new brand caught many off-guard: Syfy with a Capital S and a small yfy = one-word branding. There were those who scoffed, ridiculed and out-right laughed at the rebranding decision. The Business Insider Strategy Webpage called the rebranding to Syfy a “disaster”, claiming that around the world, the spelling Syfy is slang for syphilis (an STD).

The Syfy Channel did take it on the chin from loyal viewers and hard-core sci-fi fans. Sci Fi president, Dave Howe (and Bonnie Hammer’s successor) defended the rebranding and said in an interview with Fast Company:

“We were very strategic about how we positioned it, how we communicated, how we made sure our audience didn’t think that this was just another excuse to abandon the genre. We were very specific about why we were doing it and about  why we were about creating a brand that was extendable into new platforms. Then we had a whole roster of sci- fi/fantasy shows that reassured people that actually we were going to be a bigger and better sci-fi/fantasy network as opposed to one that was going sci-fi light.”

Michael Engleman, Executive Vice President and Marketing/Global Brand Strategist for Syfy explained that the Sci Fi Channel rebranding needed during an interview with Boston.com:

“We wanted to create a brand that was broader, more relatable. In a lot of ways our branding was catching up to what we were doing with our programming. We were already pushing the boundaries of the traditional definitions of nonfiction with shows like Eureka and Ghost Hunters.’ So how could we recalibrate our brand to be still firmly rooted in the genre of  science fiction but attach ourselves to this much larger idea, which is the idea of imagination? How do you create a name, how do you create a brand that will open doors to audiences that wouldn’t identify themselves as science fiction fans”?

VP Craig Engler discussed in an interview with Tor.com that the brand had three key reasons for a change:

1. We needed a brand that’s portable and can work in places like Netflix, iTunes and on DVRs. In those environments we can find ourselves competing for space on a text-based menu system where “sci-fi” and “Sci Fi” are indistinguishable.

2. We needed a brand that can support new businesses

3. We needed a brand that’s seen as inclusive to potential new viewers, and a brand that reflects the broad range of imagination-based entertainment you’ll find on our network.

To help with the rebranding task, the executives of Sci Fi channel went to Proud Creative, the self-described creatively-led multidisciplinary design studio based in London. Their website boasts being known for “delivering appropriate and memorable solutions”.

In collaboration with ManvsMachine Studio, Proud Creative listened to what the Sci Fi channel wanted “an ownable and distinguishable brand identity; retaining the positive associations from the genre of science fiction, whilst appealing to a broader audience and embracing the benefits of imagination”.

Well, it looks like Proud Creative did just what the executives asked for and helped deliver a memorable logo and new branding that encompassed their genre, audience and ideas of imagination with Syfy.

The name change also came with a new tagline “Imagine Greater”, instead of the Saturn-like planet logo of the Sci Fi Channel. This new slogan encompasses all that the brand thinks of as imagination boasts the Syfy website: the full landscape of fantasy entertainment, the paranormal, the supernatural, action, adventure and superheroes.

This new brand is memorable and could be trademarked, a giant advantage over the old Sci Fi name that could not be trademarked due to is broad genre attachment, and trademarking can lead to other associative branded Syfy Ventures (like Syfy Games or Syfy Kids).

When researching how and when the Syfy one-word name spelling was first thought of, then Sci Fi VP Craig Engler discussed in the same interview with Tor.com that the origin of “Syfy” went as far as a year back, when a new hire Michael Engleman was brainstorming one bleary-eyed night:

“We specifically began considering Syfy about a year ago, when Michael Engleman joined the network as our new VP of Creative. It was a great time for us to get the perspective of someone new, and Michael happens to be a creative genius, which helps enormously”.

In Michael’s own words in an interview with Up-Load.com:

“I knew how important our roots are, and knew where we wanted to go in the future, and I asked myself a simple question. What if we could change the name without ever changing the name? Five minutes later, with a ballpoint pen and a piece of scrap paper, Syfy was born”.

A creative genius indeed. The Syfy rebranding is a success. And now it is on to bigger and better things. The “Imagine Greater” slogan and what it means to encompass all things imaginative from using social media to choosing programming diversity for a broader audience and a bigger marketshare for the Syfy Channel will be discussed further in my next blog.

I’ll be back, Geeks!

Syfy: Not Just For Geeks Anymore

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The programming and offerings at Syfy has changed throughout the years, but was always, and still is, based on imagination (hence their tagline “Imagine Greater”).

In 1992, the newly formed and originally named Sci Fi Channel had a programming mix that included genre movies, classic science-fiction TV-shows and a spattering of monster movies.

Soon the programming changed to meet the customer’s needs and budget of the network at that time. A snapshot of programming milestones is displayed below and gleaned from the innermind.com website:

1992: The original Sci Fi Channel aired for 24 hours, with infomercials 3-7 a.m.to fill air-time.

1993-1994: Infomercials was dropped, which was a move forward for the new network, with 1-3 a.m. block a repeat of the 8-10 p.m. block. Modern sci-fi TV shows added, like Quantum Leap and a science-fiction trends show called Sci-Fi Buzz was created.

1995: The original Sci Fi website was created called the “Dominion” now called syfy.com (which is fantastic), as well as the Science Fiction weekly on-line magazine and the Sci Fi magazine for geeks looking to read about sci-fi. The 1st annual Twilight Zone marathon for the New Year began (with much delight for the viewers).

1996-2000: Anime dubbed in English was added, with original programming showing up in the line-up. Horror was becoming a regular featured genre.

2001-2008: These were big growing years for the Sci Fi Channel… Sci Fi Pictures is created to make original B-movie films that let the viewer escape into fantasy or fun-bizarre non-reality experiences, and with titles like Dinocroc,Frankenfish and Mansquito how can you not have fun?

Delving into disaster movies of the peculiar variety were also made, like Polar Storm and Deep Shock, along with horror movies like Rock Monster and Boogeyman, along with a handful of alien and space danger movies. Successful mini-series productions by Steven Spielberg called Taken won an Emmy for best mini-series, and Battlestar Galatica went on to become a 4-year-long running series. Paranormal programming was added with the popular show Ghost Hunters, as well as non-sci-fi programs like WWE wrestling (who signed a multi-year deal).

2009: Sci Fi Channel rebranded to be named Syfy  to encompass a broader view of imaginative programming. Original shows like Warehouse 13 and Haven were produced to add to their original series already popularized like Eureka and Stargate SG-1.

2010-2013: Face Off, what is considered a competition “reality” show, tops the charts as one of the most popular Syfy shows, adding to the list of unscripted programs like Destination Truth and Fact or Faked. Defiance becomes a much-watched show about post-alien invasion Earth, a common theme taken to the extreme.

According to the Syfy website:

“We’ve always defined “sci-fi” a lot more broadly than most people. For us “sci-fi” includes a broad range of imagination-based entertainment, including science fiction but also fantasy, the paranormal, adventure, horror and larger than life personalities, among others.”

The programming seen today reflects this attitude. I believe that with the broad idea of what sci-fi is, Syfy has tapped into a large and involved fan base that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, anytime soon. I personally love sci-fi, B-movies (the weirder the better i.e Sharknado-combining disaster with monster sharks or Sharktopus-combining a shark and octopus), paranormal, horror, classic TV with a twist (think Creature Double-Feature – a childhood favorite show) and creative competitions.

As long as Syfy keep cranking out programming that reflects both love for the old and new in the sci-fi scope of what they define it as, they will continue to show that they are not just for geeks anymore (there really is something for everyone), and I am confident that they will have continued success.

 

Social Media Demographics and Targeted Strategies

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A study on demographics for Social Media sites was released on the Business Insider website, with some surprising results. According to Cooper Smith, an influencer and author of the study published on October 5, 2013, brands and businesses “need platform-focused social media strategies”, and I agree with this opinion. In my industry, MedTech Marketing, a strategy that will target certain demographics is a sound plan.

For instance, the results of the BI study which showed that LinkedIn is an international SM site and is used by professionals mostly during the day. The World Health Organization (WHO) published a report in 2010 that claimed that the US medical device market is the largest in the world with imports supplying about 33% of the market. Other information on the demographics of SM platforms was brought to light, such as gender, income, and ages of each major social network, mobile activity, activity peaks, and how the international uses social networks. Armed with this information, Medtech brands and businesses can seize opportunities on LinkedIn, target their marketing and messaging and produce more sales.

What was not mentioned was the psychographics, or “why” the user spends time and effort on SM sites. The end-user of Medtech products are patients and the healthcare providers that use them. In addition to knowing the demographics of SM platforms, understanding the psychographic differences in motivations and attitudes toward using the product will help the Medtech marketer with the task of marketing Medtech products across other segments and into new territory without trying to be everything for everyone.

Social Media and the Job Search

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Job searching can be a daunting task. When one wants to break into or advance within the medical or healthcare industry, that task can become overwhelming.  Knowing someone within that facility (or a particular department within a hospital) may be able to help you put your foot in the door, or put a bug in the ear of the right person, however it does not guarantee that your resume will be seen or read.

Social media (SM) has improved the undertaking of job searching by giving both sides of the coin opportunities to get to know each other better through SM sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Yes, resume content can be viewed on most SM sites, but this doesn’t always attract recruiters or those hiring. According to the MedMasters, candidates need to “develop a brand”. I agree with that assessment. I believe that if a person maintains a SM site and creatively brand themselves, the chore of job searching can be less of a chore.

A personal brand is developed over time to reflect the type of person you want others to see. To start with the task of developing a personal brand, one must first think of your personal brand as an investment (of time, sometimes money, and effort).  Setting goals of your public image is important because you want to convey who you are, what you are about and what you represent.  Try to keep your brand fresh by adding words of wisdom learned or listing areas of expertise. Keep your skills sharp by continuing to learn what it is you know and desire to know. While maintaining your SM sites, comment on other posts, build relationships, get involved with influencers in your field, and get others to notice you and your personal brand.

These simple (but albeit time-consuming) tips may be able to sky-rocket your resume to the top of the pile and help the recruiters and hiring employers view you as valuable and employable. Just remember that SM sites may be the first-step for job seekers, but building a note-worthy brand and maintaining the SM sites that employers will view you in a different (and more positive) light than not having a personal brand at all.

http://medmasters.com/news/how-social-media-revolutionized-the-job-search/#!