Dec 10, 2018 Published in Medical Device Marketing, Strategy, Insider

What should medical device marketers look for in an agency?

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It can seem like a catch-22: you’re looking for a great agency with strong creative, and you need an agency with medical device experience. It can be like finding a needle in a haystack. The consumer agencies might be able to boast splashy creative, but might not have a clue about the process and precision involved with medical device advertising and promotion. Science-heavy agencies often lean toward pharmaceutical advertising, which has much different creative and timing needs. So, what should you look for when choosing an agency for your medical device?

Medical device advertising in unlike other specialties because it demands a high degree of medical knowledge combined with product knowledge. People with experience reading and interpreting medical research, people with an understanding of human anatomy, people with a background in science, people who understand FDA requirements—these are the people who are going to be the most valuable when working on a medical device advertising project. And while pharmaceutical advertisers often have the science background to handle the highly technical information that needs to be communicated, it’s the ability to do that at a very fast pace that sets medical device advertisers apart. Because the pace of innovation is so much faster in the medical device industry, that skill is essential to a successful product launch.

Unlike pharmaceutical makers, who enjoy several years of patent life on their products, medical device makers are constantly coming up with new iterations of their technologies. This sped-up pace of innovation means that what’s new today may be rendered obsolete by the competition very quickly, and the strategy you launch with may not reflect the market realities two or three years down the road. And, also unlike in pharmaceutical marketing, if you miss the mark with a medical device launch, there’s rarely a do-over. Getting the strategy right at the beginning should be the priority of any agency you work with. That means they understand all of the factors that could effect the product’s trajectory from the start, and are able to recommend a path that focuses on winning in the most realistic scenario.

Strong Creative
Pharmaceutical advertising is often focused on an abstract outcome, but medical device advertising is rooted in the concrete, physical world. The representation of the device itself—either in the anatomy or on its own—is a crucial component of delivering the features and benefits messaging. It’s easy to make a car look cool, it’s not so easy to make wires, catheters, leads, sensors, mesh, or other medical device components look compelling. It takes a high degree of artistry and polish to make these scientific components come alive. And simply having a stunning visual is not enough. That artwork has to make sense within an airtight creative concept that perfectly encapsulates the overall value message AND the clinical application of the product. With all of these elements on the table, it takes an experienced creative director to bring everything together into ads and collateral that will speak to the sophisticated medical audience.

Checks and Balances
Medical device advertising takes a village to create, and every member of the team needs to be able to pick up on and correct any errors, down to the smallest detail. In medicine, precision is everything. Deep product knowledge helps the entire team ensure the accuracy of what is being said and what is being shown. Copy, art, editorial, and account all work together to check the work and make sure that everything makes sense, is on brief, is on brand, and is on time.

Are you looking for an agency for your medical device in 2019? Get in touch!

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