An Urgent Call for Repeal


I’m finding it hard to get any serious work done today, because all my peers in the medical device marketing field are blowing up my cell phone to vent about yesterday’s Supreme ruling upholding the 2.3% tax on medical devices.


Most were curious……some afraid……one was borderline apoplectic.


When the barrage of calls was over I took a moment to stretch out on the couch in my office and imagine the possible outcomes of this ruling.


My mind’s eye conjured up some dark scenarios:

  • Painful layoffs as jobs move offshore
  • Cut backs in R&D that both narrow the scope and slow the pace of innovation of critical medical technologies
  • Erosion of America’s dominant global position in the device space


That’s when it it hit me….I had to put out an URGENT CALL FOR REPEAL


…..of device marketing programs that lack strategic clarity and a sound measurement foundation!


Say What?


Yep, that’s right….even though I’m miffed at the Supreme Court’s decision and sympathize for all of those families that will suffer losses as a result, I’m also a finding it impossible to ignore all of the little, easily-avoided mistakes that I see so many device companies making in their marketing and sales efforts.


Mistakes of the “tripping over your own shoelace” variety that, if remedied, could claw back that 2.3% and then some.


Most of the remedies I’m talking about are easily accomplished with application of common sense and the right mindset.


We’re not talking about programs that require huge capital outlays or bringing on new personnel with specialized skills…..we’re talking about getting out of your own way and making better use of the tools and people you already have.


Over the next two months I’m going to discuss 8 simple but powerful levers that device marketers can pull to earn back the 2.3% percent that Uncle Sam wants to grab.


We’ll be diving into case studies from my own work with Bausch + Lomb, J&J Ethicon, Boston Scientific, Medtronic, Smith & Nephew and Intuitive Surgical.


We’ll also invite some notable industry veterans to guest post on their topics of expertise.


You’ll hear from Holley Malia of Grey Matter Marketing.


Holley is –in no particular order — the former Director of Global Brand Management at Allergan, the driving force that launched LapBand in the United States, and a connoisseur of small batch bourbon.


(See the teaser for Blog #6 below for a taste of what Holley is going to discuss)


And you’ll also be hearing from my old pal Bill Rabourn from Medical Consulting Group.


Bill will be discussing the most common mistakes that practices make when fielding calls from prospects (see Blog #5 below) and how you can remedy them to improve patient adoption rates and delight your HCP channel partners.


I don’t know what Bill thinks of small batch bourbon, but I can vouch for his exquisite taste in big, gnarly Cabernet.  The best wine tour of Napa Valley I have ever experience was at Bill’s gracious table in Springfield, MO.


And if my powers of persuasion run their course, you will also hear from Tony Arnold, Lisa Pohmajevich, and Debbie Donovan, industry veterans and friends all.


Below I have listed a week-by-week outline we are going to follow in this 2 month mini-series.  If you like what you see, go ahead and sign up for our notification and you’ll get a reminder when a new lesson comes online.


And if you think your peers want a place next to you at the front of the class, go ahead and tell them about it through LinkedIn.


Week#1:  Making your website work Smarter–How applying a clear content hierarchy, easy to read tone, and clear, focused calls to action can radically improve conversion rates.


Week #2:  Borrowing Authority: Why patient testimonials are the killer app and how you can create them quickly, easily and have them resonate with patients without getting your legal department in a twist.


Week #3:  The Killer App: Making your clinic locator work harder for you by incorporating call-back forms, enhanced HCP profiles, and tools that notify prospects when a trained physician enters their market. We will also discuss how to use locator data to help recruit physicians by proving unmet demand in their region.


Week #4:  The Secret of Secret Shopping: How to find out what is really going on when patients call your channel partners — you may be shocked–and how to formulate a plan of action.


Week #5:  Fixing the front desk: 5 simple tools that can improve customer experience when they call HCP partners, tips to make sure the training sticks and is consistently applied


Week #6:  There’s a hole in the bucket:  How lead nurturing can skyrocket ROI of your marketing efforts, why most device organizations fail at lead nurturing and how that can be remedied


Week #7:  Lead optimization: How telephone call tracking from your locator will allow you you to split test media and messaging, maximize ROI, and improve HCP loyalty


Week #8:  It’s Story Time:  How to frame the impact of your marketing efforts to your HCP partners, differentiating your company as a strategic partner, not just a device supplier


Let me close with a quote from GE’s Jack Welch:


“Control your own destiny or someone else will.


In other words, we should all work to repeal the device tax when it reaches the Senate, but at the same time we need to look inward and identify the little obstacles we put in front of ourselves as a matter of habit…then learn how we can permanently repeal those roadblocks as well.

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