Medical Device Marketing – Segmentation With Procedure Data

Portrait of Jan de Doot and the kidney stone h...

Ask most medical device marketers about market segmentation, and you’ll get an earful about physician specialty (and subspecialty), hospital/facility size or type (academic, ASC, for profit, large system, etc), or adopter type (early adopters, followers, and skeptics). Unfortunately, these approaches rarely help companies identify customer groups that are differentially addressable – i.e. best served by different products or services, different price points, and/or different marketing channels and sales techniques.

Contrast the typical medical device approach to the sophisticated techniques of consumer product firms. Are you a Barry, Jill, Buzz, Ray, or Mr. Storefront? Best Buy’s in-store staff segments you with a few questions before steering you to the products you’re most likely to want. Amazon suggests possible purchases for you, based on your clicks plus the buying history of other customers who bought the same products you did. Target buys your demographic data to combine with your Target purchase history to create custom coupons for you.

Medical device firms can do much, much more to understand and better serve their markets. Even back in the 1980’s much more could be done. Let me explain how I approached market segmentation twenty-something years ago.

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Lean Medical Device Startup: Test Your Problem Hypothesis


Original test pilots for the Mercury Project
Image by State Library and Archives of Florida via Flickr


Having trouble getting your medical device startup funded?  Most likely, you have picked the wrong problem to solve.  Think about it this way: When you launch a new medical device, you are asking physicians, hospitals, nurses and patients to change medical practice.  That’s a big deal.  A really big deal.  So get it through your head that medical practice will only change if your new device solves an important problem.  That’s why the lean medical device startup defines its problem hypotheses first.  That’s also why the lean medical medical device startup tests its problem hypotheses early and often.  You need to make sure you are solving the right problem.

What does ‘testing your problem hypothesis’ mean? How do you go about testing your problem hypothesis?

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Lean Medical Device Startup: Finding Early Adopters


Early adopter
Image by quinn.anya via Flickr


To test your business plan at its earliest stages, you have to find early adopters.  Early adopters are the potential customers who have the problem you intend to solve, have tried to solve it on their own, and are willing and able to purchase a solution if one can be built. For medical device startups, true early adopters also have experience shepherding new products through the provider process (e.g. hospital purchasing and CFO) and payor process (e.g specialty coding committee and Medicare). Consequently, only early adopters are able to provide value-added feedback to the lean medical device startup.  How do you find them?

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