There is no getting around it. The B2B2C marketing approach has penetrated the healthcare market and medical device industries just as it did with other B2B industries. Medical devices and healthcare companies face the challenge where they need to brand themselves on both levels and consider taking their B2B brand that is addressing the expert market in conjunction with the consumer market. The healthcare market is shifting to a self-service market where health insurance is bought online, rather than provided by employers; the power of “collective intelligence” accumulated from social media, enables individuals to seek treatments, question what is out there and share personal experiences from B2B products. This in turn created a marketing shift in the industry to a “patient centric approach” marketing, where engagement with the patient is a key factor and integrating this engagement into the overall marketing infrastructure of the medical device and healthcare market is a must. This in turn creates greater interest and demand for the product or technology from the end-user or patient.
First Steps to Integrating Your End-Users and Patients into Your B2B2C Platform
1. Remember: you are not your end-user or patient. Make sure your patient is represented throughout the product development stage. Therefore getting in touch with selected end-users as soon as possible, even during beta stage of the product can be a game changer. Let your end customers and patients experience your product before penetrating a market. This will provide immediate feedback and understanding of your end costumer’s and patient’s needs, fears, experience and open a door to communicate these thoughts to the market. Address these issues from the patient’s point will bring them closer to you.
2. Minimize the gaps between end customer or patient, partner and company.
Creating teams that are dedicated to handling the transition of the product or technology from company to partner to end-customer or patient may save a lot of problems and reduce many challenges. A dedicated customer or partner delivery team who’s’ purpose is to deliver the product or technology with the right “translation” according to the relevant market segment can assure a smooth engagement with your end customers, patients and partners.
3. Create a marketing platform where your end customers and patients interface with your product or technology
Now that you have all accumulated understanding of your end customer and patients who have been part of the product or technology development process, who shared their insight with you, their experiences and assisted in fine tuning the added values of your product, translate this golden information into marketing messages. Once you have your marketing messages set and written from your end customer’s and patient’s perspective, convey them where your end-users interface with you products and technology: social media, hospitals, healthcare organizations, websites. Encountering these messages by end-users and patients from their perspective will often cause the end user to identify with the message and usually generate an interest in the product or new twchnology.
Implementing B2B2C at Insightec
INSIGHTEC, founded in 1999, develops and distributes the Exablate platform which provides non-invasive treatments for a variety of oncology and gynecology indications. A simple yet very effective way in which Insightec implements their B2B2C approach can be seen on their website: http://www.insightec.com/clinical/neurosurgery/ . The company addresses their neurosurgery technology from three different approaches: the doctor’s insight, the patient testimony and operational efficiency. In addition to this Insightec created a dedicated mini site: http://www.uterine-fibroids.org/ for each of their products purely from the patient’s point of view. These include patient’s case studies and testimonies that are being delivered in “patient’s language” and terms. Delivering a 360% vendor, patient, doctor angle engages all parties to a unified dialogue with each party gaining new insight from all others.
To create a close marketing loop where each aspect of the marketing chain generates engagement and ultimately leads from one another, a new branding approach must be considered. This new approach must account for all interfaces in the marketing chain; from the company to the partner/doctor to patients/end-user back to manufacturer. Each aspect leverages all others to create greater awareness of all parties to all parties.