How You Market Medical Technologies Has Changed – Are You Changing With It? Part 3

While Ideas 1 & 2 from Kathleen Malaspina and Tom Scearce, co-authored White Paper: How to increase demand for medical devices in today’s changing and challenging market are straightforward and fairly easy to execute, implementing Idea 3 involves more “out-of-the-box” type thinking for most medical device marketers…
Idea 3 is Find out where your product is being discussed, and advertise there in a low-risk way.
There are actually many ways to do this, and we’ll elaborate upon that in a bit, but for now, let’s focus on the strategy Malaspina and Scearce say to do.
They say, “Start by testing a Google AdSense campaign.”
This is actually a very innovative and smart strategy, but one that requires peeling back the layers to really understand how to maximize it.
Malaspina and Scearce give a basic overview of what they mean when they say “test a Google AdSense campaign.” But what does that really mean for you and your medical device company?
First, the basics.
What exactly is Google AdSense?
Google AdSense is a service offered by Google where website owners (called “publishers”) select ads that appear on different pages of their website.
Ads can be video ads, graphic ads or text ads. These ads are (supposed to be) relevant to the content on the web page that they appear.
When someone clicks on that ad, the “publisher” gets paid.
Many look at AdSense campaigns as a passive revenue stream for the website or blog owner, but this of course depends on the amount of traffic to the website or blog.
The idea behind AdSense is quite simple: content-based sites display ads for products or services. The more traffic the content-rich website or blog receives, the more people are likely to click through the ads displayed on the site.
And, if you care about such things, the more revenue for you – or, in this B2B case, your company.
Now, there’s also the “retail” side to AdSense. It’s unclear whether Malaspina and Scearce were recommending that a medical device company participate in a Google AdSense campaign as a “publisher” or as a “retailer,” so we’ll address both.
A “retailer” is usually the side that is trying to sell their product or service.
“Retailers” are the ones that pay Google to make their ad available for AdSense “publishers” to post on their websites and blogs – usually this is in the form of a Pay-Per-Click ad campaign through Google AdWords (not to be confused with Google AdSense.)
I know. It can get a bit confusing as to who does what and how…
While there is much discussion about this, many say that if you are a “retailer” trying to sell a product or service, then you’re best bet is to just stick with Google AdWords.
This is because Google does not tell you which “publisher’s” website and blogs are displaying your ads as Google uses an algorithm to determine where your AdSense ads will appear.
What this can mean is that sometimes the relationship between the “retailer’s” ad and the “publisher’s” website or blog where it is being displayed is extremely vague – if not completely unrelated as some retailers have discovered…
In other words, you are at the mercy of Google’s judgment where your ads will appear.
The hypotheses some have made is that AdWords clicks often represent users looking to make a purchase, while AdSense clicks come from sites that primarily cater to visitors looking for information.
If you’re a medical device company, both alternatives can actually work on your behalf.
In the AdSense option, attention must be diverted away from what the visitor went to your site for in the first place (learn about your company, read an article, etc.), while with AdWords, your ad must simply be more appealing than the other ads also displayed.
exactly was the “big idea” that Malaspina and Scearce were trying to make?
While it’s definitely open to interpretation, I’ll do my best to break it down for you in a “user-friendly” way.
If they are saying that a medical device marketer could use their company’s website as a “publisher,” this would mean that certain pages – or all pages – could display ads for products and services that may or may not relate to the content on their website.
And if it does relate, hopefully it’s not an ad for a competing product or service…
Let’s say someone goes to a medical device company’s website or blog because they are interested in a White Paper, webinar, Case Study, whatever…
They get engrossed in the rich content offered and, hopefully for the “retailer,” click on an ad that appears on that same page. This then directs the person to the “retailer’s” website and away from yours (the “publisher”).
If this happens, the medical device …

Market Technology: The Missing Link

Although many, aspects of Industry have morphed and changed over the last, few decades, there are several outposts that continue to find their way. In spite of technological advances, process improvements, changing Market and Customer demands, fierce Competition and even the advent of the Internet and powerful, Marketing platforms – like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter – the prevailing mindset has not changed dramatically.
In 1981, we submitted a manuscript to Harvard Business School for review and consideration. It was titled, “Market Technology: The Missing Link.”
It certainly would not rival Ted Leavitt’s “Marketing Myopia,” however Market Technology approached the fundamental issue differently and distinctively.
The actual manuscript was a “library of congress” class of document complete with concept overview, relevant models, heavy detailed, descriptors, case examples to demonstrate that the stuff had been applied to the real world, etc.
In its raw form – Market Technology advocated that companies must treat their marketing, sales and business development needs similarly to the way core engineering and product development are handled. Determining the right response and the right mix for a company’s marketing and sales programs is no different than determining a company’s products and services. In fact, conceiving effective programs is as complex and critical to the company’s success, as conceiving its product set. This meant that the Marketing discipline and process need to be integrated into the business. In fact, with small-to-medium, sized companies – the Market Program – is classified, as critical – in that, it could make or break a company.
For smaller firms – they must get it right – out-of-the-gate, and may not get a second chance.
This is one aspect that distinguishes smaller companies from their larger counterparts – as the larger firm can absorb a missed opportunity or loss more readily.
How many companies have you been associated with that thought and operated this way?
Market Technology represents a Mindset, framework, methodology, process orientation and an implementation -ready, program all rolled-up in one, complete package.
In your company, what role does Marketing play?
Most, will respond by indicating that Marketing plays a support role for either the product/service or to provide mainline support to the company’s Salesforce or Distribution Network (Channel Partners).
Reference will be made to Trade Show support, MarComm, collateral material, brochures, data sheets and even the dreaded “lead generation program.”
In your company, what is the stature of Marketing?
There are exceptions (depending on the Industry and Company make-up), however most will indicate that it is not a Leadership role (although the Marketing Team wants it to be).
What is the missing ingredient?
Is it that Senior Management did not come from the Marketing discipline and will not give it its day and cut it loose?
Is it that companies have experienced too, many false starts with their Marketing Program or it just doesn’t work?
Is marketing too, risky and costly compared to making investment in other areas of the company?
Is marketing viewed, as a luxury vs. a mainline contributor?
There is no silver bullet answer, although some combination of these factors may be the root to understand the dynamics going on here – in your company.
Let’s revisit the elements of the All-in-One package referenced above:
*The Mindset – we continually get bombarded with messages that advocate a company must migrate to a Market-Driven or Customer-Centric state – well, how many successful transitions have you been involved in or led?
The point is that this involves cultural and many times, organizational change – and that is not a small step, but a giant leap. It may demand shift changes in focus and direction, which may also have an impact on the make-up of the Senior Leadership Team.
It takes careful assessment, planning, timing and relentless dedication to pull something like this off, however the starting point is the Mindset. If there is need to infuse or change the company mindset to embrace Marketing – then it must start with the Top Dogs (Senior Leadership Team) and then filter into the organization. Although the mindset sounds like “soft science,” if the company environment is not ripe and receptive and the mindset is not understood and put to practice, then there is no need to invest any time, resource and effort into driving this forward. It’s a Dead stop!
*Framework/Methodology – most companies’ Marketing efforts look-like a disjointed, puzzle. The pieces are laid out and some fit, however it just doesn’t hang together. The reason for this is that the make-up of the Marketing Program is comprised of discrete events (activity-based) vs. a well-thought out, integrated Program (defined and driven by Strategic intent). Further, there are times when something is put in-place to satisfy the interests of the Top Dog or to appease the Sales Team – avoid these activities like …

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