We hate to use the terminology of a disruptive technology
Why? Because it is part of the category's ethos to pretend even the most minute innovation is disruptive.
It is quite possible that the medical device category is the most self-deceived category of products in the world.
Medical device manufacturers pretend that they have product superiority.
...and back up that claim by depositing a tome of obscure and dense clinical studies and trial results on the prospect's desk.
Now we're not here to tell you that clinical studies and results from clinical trials are not important supports for product usage.
They are important. But they have almost no effect on switching a loyal user of your competitor's products.
...unless the technology is REALLY a disruptive innovation, your brand is the only value
Considering the time lag between R&D and a completed clinical trial, are your shareholders willing to wait that long?
Will they be willing to wait for a substantive movement in market share? Are shareholders that patient?
There is a different and more effective path to stealing share.
First, we have to look at the current marketing practices in the medical device industry.
For the most part, they are not marketing at all. They are simply sales support.
Everyone looks the same, sounds the same, and uses the same sterile language...
...language that passes through the fine sieve of the dreaded
Fill in some text
Often, the copy ends up being written by the legal team.
...and lacks any direct claims of efficacy, little comparative examples, and sounds like an insurance contract.
Couple all this with the mandatory page of footnotes, source material...
...and legal disclaimer, and you can begin to see the problem.
If brand loyalty is based only upon a personal sales relationship's power, then your greatest asset is fleeting.
One that has the tail wagging the dog. This is not how it should be, or how it has to be.
The REAL problem is that, at your heart, you began as a manufacturing company. You make things.
Your heritage goes back to engineers.
And many of your top executives are still cut from the same cloth as the founders.
These founders were visionary people. The Steve Jobs of their category of an earlier generation.
But they differed from Steve because they were not natural marketers.
They were inventors. Tinkerers. Creators.
They believed that if you build a better mousetrap… well, you know the story.
Steve, on the other hand, represented both camps. He had a visionary's creative drive, but he also understood the emotional connections needed to sell.
Your founders would have considered themselves successful simply because they invented the better mousetrap.
Steve felt it a failure until he had market dominance. Even your brand's early successes are misleading.
The category was less crowded, and it was easier to differentiate products. But today?
In most instances, you can hardly slide a piece of paper between competitive products. Differences are simply hard to see.
So what happens in companies top-heavy with engineering types? Well, they become you.
They believe that purchase decisions (and the procurement of medical devices) are a rational choice.
They believe in clinical data. Because they believe that decisions are always evidence-based.
And they believe that clinical data and clinical studies sway the hospital administrators and clinicians the most.
(and we mean all)
They don't understand that ALL purchase decisions... ...have their roots in emotional cues.
It gets complicated because after an emotional decision is made the decision-maker rationalizes that choice.
They backfill and support their emotional connection with analytical data.
But that is NOT how they chose. It's what happened AFTER the choice.
If you want proof, here's our go at it.
If purchase decisions were rational and not emotional...
...then the best product (based upon evidence) would be THE market leader.
Look around at your category.
How often is rationality a predictor of success?
The real question to ask is, why do human beings prefer the things they prefer?
The answer is a simple yet a subversive one.
Human beings look for order and consistency in our lives. We all strive to eliminate conflicts.
Conflicts exist between what we believe to be true about ourselves and the actions we take.
We seek this equilibrium and avoid these internal emotional conflicts.
Persuasion finds its roots in this understanding of self.
All things being equal, we prefer to buy and use products and brands that reinforce our own self-concept.
This story helps you see that your category is filled with similar products.
An emotionally charged brand is the only differentiator.
In other words, …all things are equal.