Sales to Marketing

Sales to Marketing. Which Are You? 

Medical Device Manufacturers are moving from sales to marketing

Pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers share the same challenges and marketing hurdles as the manufacturers of package goods and consumer products. They will argue with you – and tell you the medical industry is too unique- but take a step outside of the

Moving from sales to marketing

Change is the root of the matter

category for just a moment and I think you will agree. The first “difference” according to medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers is that they are sales driven rather than marketing driven.

In some cases, that isn’t too far off the mark but the “difference” is quickly evaporating. In data published in 2005, pharmaceuticals were listed as the 10th largest advertisers in the US, only slightly behind US Automakers.

Advertising grew

Their advertising grew 13.8% while domestic automotive advertising was declining by 11.7%. In 2005 alone, pharmaceutical companies spent $4.6 billion on advertising in the US alone.

That data alone demonstrate that pharmaceuticals are seeing that marketing is what’s driving their sales machine. They are trying to create preference, which happens on the marketing level rather than the sales level.

No doubt, the medical device manufacturing industry will quickly be sustaining the same sea change as the pharma industry.

Privacy is a brand issue Take body scanners in airport terminals, an example of rejection due to lack of permission. An interesting dichotomy to that rejection would be in knowing what percentage of the travelers upset about scanners are members of Facebook, or better yet, tweeted about the injustice so that the world could subscribe and read their thoughts. Members of Facebook create detailed profiles of themselves that include addresses, phone numbers and birthdays. They tag photos of themselves and others on vacation, at school, at work, and when inebriated. They update their status to let you know when they just saw a movie or just ate a candy bar. Yet, it was just 10 years ago we were all in an uproar over wire tapping as part of the Patriot Act. privacyMy point is not that the airport body scanners or the Patriot Act are either good nor bad, but rather the immense effect existing permissions can have on acceptance. Permissions have the power to take the singular idea of "privacy", and create differing levels of acceptance regardless of how analogous each application of it might appear to be. The foundation of building a strong brand is based on connecting that brand with the highest emotional intensity of the market. However, if the permissions of the target audience have not been correctly determined, then the highest emotional intensity that will be claimed will be rejection.As soon as one of the manufacturers in the category makes the investment, they will challenge all the other players to follow suit or be swept under.

We at Stealing Share see this as an inevitable shift taking place in the medical industry as a whole as companies begin to see themselves more as marketers and less as a sales force.

This movement from sales to marketing isn’t the only similarity between the futures of the pharmaceutical industry and medical device one.

The winners will be the ones who brew a more potent mix of emotional charge with rational support than the competition, which will still be relying on a fact-based selling argument.

Is Innovation Still an Advantage?

When you talk to sales force of these manufacturers today, they will insist that further market penetration and brand success requires that the manufacturer’s themselves “innovate” – that is, create new products and seek even more powerful proof of efficacy.

sales to marketingThey will demand that “we need to be first to market.”

And will seek the answers to success to be found in the products themselves.

They will also pressure the marketing department to create materials that highlight product attributes. And pressure the corporation itself to lower prices so that they are more competitive.

Now  being innovative and first to market or having the best price or best products in category is important. It is, and every manufacturer of pharmaceuticals and medical devices needs to harness all of its energy to pay these off.

But even your own experience tells you that it is not nearly enough. And companies run great risks by not thinking of themselves as a marketing company first. Look at your own market. Is the market leader currently the lowest priced provider?

Does the market leader have the most efficacious product offering? Is the market leader leaning towards a transition from sales to marketing?

Market Leadership

Is the market leader, the first to bring every product to market? Does the patient (or the doctor, depending on your primary customer) always choose the BEST product? The answer to these questions, most of the time is a resounding “NO.”

The reason for this phenomenon is that choice and preference are rarely if ever a result of well defined cognitive reasoning. There is always an emotional element in a preference decision. More often than not, it trumps the cognitive ones.

Salespersons understand this themselves. Often, after making an impassioned sales argument loaded with facts, they hear prospects searching for an emotional difference, saying, “Yes, but I still believe…” Even in those instances, the logical presentation of facts did little to nothing in affecting preference. Marketing can help with this problem and is the first step in moving to the more efficient model from sales to marketing

Emotional Triggers That Create Preference

How do you get a handle on the emotional triggers that create preference? By understanding the target market like an anthropologist understands a population – by living with them and sharing their values.

sales to marketingGreat and successful brands understand that preference and choice is dictated by the dynamic of self-identification.

People, and even doctors and hospitals, prefer to purchase products that reinforce what they believe to be true about themselves. They still look for product attributes and effectiveness, but most products available to them in the market meet those criteria.

That is how the “considered set” is formulated. Successful brands, however, are preferred, not just considered.

When moving from sales to marketing there is opportunity. Opportunity to challenge your market leader, especially if your products and services are equal to the task.

The Journey of Success

Success in this quest is dependent on your own willingness to talk less about yourself.  And more about the values that drive your prospect. It requires understanding and fresh thinking. And sometimes that means thinking about your company as a marketing-driven one instead of a sales-driven one.

The move from sales to marketing is inevitable because it is a smart economic decision. That may take something of a leap of faith. As Napoleon once said, “If winning was easy, it would be the providence of mediocre minds.”

Read about Saint Jude Medical here

Read About Biomimetic Here

Medical Device Brands

Medical Device brands Need to Learn Lessons


Translate »
Share This