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Avoiding a False Start: Marketing Tips for the Successful Commercialization of Novel Medical Devices

The successful launch of a new medical device technology requires a coordinated effort among various functional groups within the company. Linking the activities of this online group to a predetermined project schedule is essential to the timely and successful commercialization of the product. Members of the marketing team play a vital role in this process, beginning with providing market insights during the early concept development phase through conducting post-market evaluation of launch planning activities and sales tactics. marketing.

A failed product launch can be disastrous from a financial perspective and for the product’s brand reputation in the marketplace. Since companies only get one chance to launch a product, it is vital that launch planning and preparation activities cover the full scope of known and potentially unknown obstacles that could affect the successful introduction of the product to market. As a result of its integral role as part of the marketing process, marketing has primary responsibility for many of these activities.

While providing insight into the full range of marketing activities required for a successful product launch is beyond the scope of this article, the following are four key areas, based on the author’s experience, where good marketing planning and execution marketing can help get the product out successfully. the blocks without tripping.

Getting customer feedback

From initial concept development to post-launch evaluation, customer involvement in the design and positioning of new medical devices is essential. Attempting to bring a product to market without adequate customer feedback, or worse, without taking customer feedback into account, will ultimately limit the product’s acceptance in the marketplace.

Examples of customer feedback parameters commonly obtained as part of this process include validating market assumptions, evaluating the competitive environment, inputting product specifications, determining product value proposition, developing and testing product placement and obtaining feedback on product ease. of use. It is important to develop a decision-making process that can be followed when heeding customer feedback results in an increase in product development or manufacturing costs, or if implementing changes based on customer input changes significantly. the timeline for the product launch.

Developing a targeting strategy

Identifying and targeting the market segments that will result in a steeper adoption curve is vital to getting off to a strong start with a new medical device technology. The evaluation of the different market segments should not only be based solely on the market potential, but also on the possible barriers to entry that may exist within these segments.

Market segments with the highest number of patients or procedure volumes may not always represent the best “first” markets to approach. These segments are often associated with increased competitive pressures due to the market opportunities they represent, or may be associated with increased visibility within a hospital environment from a product approval or cost reduction perspective. It is also important to segment customers by technology adoption characteristics. Focusing early launch activities on early adopters who quickly understand the potential benefits of the technology and limiting efforts to late adopters who require substantial clinical experience and more scientific evidence will maximize resources and drive early sales growth.

Creation of economic value

Most hospitals now have policies and procedures that require review of new products prior to use or purchase by the hospital. This has resulted in a greater number of people involved in the decision-making process and a greater focus on the impact of technology on hospital cost. Having evidence that a new medical technology provides clinical benefit to patients is often not enough to get them into the hospital, and many hospitals now require cost justification analyzes that demonstrate the economic impact of adopting the technology at their institution.

To demonstrate the economic value associated with a new technology, marketing must provide both the basic training and the right tools to empower the sales organization to communicate this type of information to customers. A typical tool is a proforma economic model into which variables can be entered based on clinical outcomes associated with product use and standardized or customer-specific cost data.

Developing a publishing strategy

Successful product launch requires a meticulous plan to effectively communicate the value of a new medical technology along with developing a strategy to address anticipated market objections. A key component of this strategy is the development and execution of a comprehensive publishing plan. The timely execution of an effective publication strategy can accelerate the adoption of a new medical technology.

Sequential development and submission of manuscripts to key journals that target specific customer segments is necessary to ensure they receive ongoing and relevant product information. The overall goal of a publishing strategy should be to disseminate clinical and economic information that supports the benefits and positioning of the Company’s technology.


The development and timely execution of a comprehensive strategic launch plan is a requirement for the successful commercialization of a new medical technology. Proactive marketing leadership as part of a product development and commercialization team can help ensure that potential roadblocks in the market are identified and addressed prior to a product launch, resulting in greater potential for early success in the market. the market.

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