Singapore is well known for having the most competitive and world-class healthcare industry in the world. The current status of the industry is as a result of unrelenting efforts by the private Medical Care Products service providers and government to regulate and promote the industry. In 2010, the World Health Organization ranked the country number 2. It was also ranked number 3 out of 55 countries by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD).
Why Should You Market Medical Products?
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re already in the healthcare industry. But just because you’re in healthcare doesn’t mean you’ve got to limit yourself to selling treatment options for sick people. There are many ways to engage with and provide value to patients and their families, and healthcare marketers like you have much to offer.
As a healthcare marketer, you’ll be responsible for defining products and positioning them within a healthcare context. Not only will this allow you to speak the language of clinicians, it’ll also provide you with key data to help assess patient demographics, clinical performance, and product efficacy. All of this from a single source – the data you provide will be completely reliable and verifiable.
Alongside understanding the what and how of healthcare marketing, you’ll need to know the who. Who are the target patients for your products? What are their needs and expectations? What are their decision-making processes and preferences? You’ll need to understand how best to engage with different patient groups and how to identify and overcome any marketing barriers that might exist. With the right knowledge and tools, you can position your product in a way that makes the most sense to your audience, and helps you achieve the best possible results from your marketing efforts.
Key Differentiators Amongst Medical Products
When developing a marketing strategy for medical products, it’s important to consider the differentiators between various medicines and medical devices. Here are a few to consider:
- Pharmaceuticals: More and more people are turning to pharmaceuticals as a way to manage their health. While some prefer to take them orally, others may prefer to have them delivered directly to the site of the issue (e.g., delivered intravenously or injected into the affected area). Regardless of the delivery method (or both!), pharmaceuticals are usually the first line of defense in treating a medical condition. It’s important to consider the various brands of pharmaceuticals as you plan your marketing strategy. Do you want to focus on the generic or the branded version? What is the difference between the two and how will your audience respond to each?
- Biologics: Biologicals, including blood, blood products, and proteins, are another important form of medical product. The advantages of biologicals are that they can attack and destroy the targeted cells directly, with less toxic side effects than many other treatment options. The disadvantage of biologicals is that they’re typically more expensive to produce than most other types of medical products. However, if you’re looking to treat a population that has limited funds, this probably isn’t the route you want to pursue.
- Medical Devices: Medical devices enable healthcare professionals to perform certain tasks using instrumentation, such as surgeries or examinations. While there is a wide range of medical devices available, including some that are quite sophisticated, most are meant to simply perform a single task. For example, an endoscope is a medical device used for visualizing medical procedures (e.g., endoscopes are often used during surgeries to examine the extent of the damage).
- Dental Equipment: Just like with medical products, dental equipment is used to diagnose and treat different conditions. However, these products are often applied directly to the mouth, making them easy for patients to use and requiring less-qualified healthcare professionals to administer. For instance, electronic toothbrushes are used to remove plaque from teeth, while specialized tongue scrapers are used for removing tartar and other matters from the tongue. The differentiators between these two products is that the former is powered by electricity, while the latter is manually operated. Therefore, if you’re looking to target dentists as your audience, go for the manually operated variety so that you can position it on the center console of their car in case they accidentally switch it on while in the middle of a procedure!
- Home Healthcare Equipment: Similar to dental equipment, home healthcare equipment is used in a healthcare setting to diagnose and treat patients remotely. Like with medical devices, there are many varieties of home healthcare equipment available, including some that are quite sophisticated and enable healthcare professionals to treat patients remotely. Like with medical products, the key differentiator between various types of home healthcare products is often based on the quality of the imagery displayed and whether or not the healthcare professional has to move around to operate the device. Some home healthcare products are specifically designed for use in the home, while others are meant to be utilized in healthcare facilities. It’s quite often a case of knowing the target audience and choosing the right equipment for them.
The Evolution of Digital Transformation in Healthcare
While traditional healthcare marketing was once mostly confined to printed materials (e.g., pamphlets, brochures, and magazines), the digital landscape has forever altered the way healthcare marketers approach the industry. Thanks to the ever-evolving world of digital transformation in healthcare, marketing materials (both traditional and digital) now have the ability to be accessed from almost anywhere, at any time, using almost any device. To bring this content to the patient, they often have to search for it themselves, which some experts say undermines the entire purpose of having a healthcare professional manage their health in the first place. Not following the proper protocol for disseminating important information can result in medical errors and bad outcomes. That’s a lot of pressure for any healthcare professional to have to face every day.
This pressure is only going to increase as more and more people become engaged in their own healthcare. While the digital transformation in healthcare is still in its infancy, it’s an area that is bound to continue evolving and changing as patients gain more control over their health and healthcare professionals become more accessible via digital means.
Some Ways To Market Your Medical Product
This is simply referring to the type of ads you would find in a magazine or on a website. These are usually large blocks of text with a few bolded words here and there. The reason these ads are so effective is because people usually read them thoroughly. Also, you are trying to advertise a new product, so you are focusing on the benefits of the product. Lastly, magazine and newspaper readers are generally more affluent, which makes them more valuable targets for product advertising. They have the money to spend on high-quality items like healthcare products.
This is everything from email marketing and social media marketing (SMM) to display ads on websites and in-app notifications on smartphones. The main difference between digital and traditional marketing is that digital ads are frequently interactive. This means that the consumer can click on the ad and be taken directly to the website or app of the advertiser. Thanks to smartphones and the internet, digital ads can be really useful and informative, as well. You can put up a website or blog about anything, for example, and use tools like Google Analytics to track the results of your marketing efforts. In addition to this, you can put up social media accounts to engage with your audience, and use these to show future potential customers what you’re capable of.
Product awareness simply refers to a brand or company being aware of a specific product. When a healthcare product is developed or purchased by a company, they usually take the time to find out as much about the product as possible. This mostly involves listening to customer feedback and looking at what competitors are doing. In today’s world, thanks to the internet, product awareness is easier than ever before. Companies can find out about their product through social media, email, and even their website.
Innovative marketing is all about coming up with new and innovative ways to market your product or service. When it comes to healthcare, you have to be constantly thinking of new ways to market and promote approved medications and treatments. Sometimes this means coming up with funny slogans or ad campaigns, but it can also mean using a new platform or digital channel to publicize your product. The goal is to come up with a strategy that will generate interest in your product, while also being acceptable to regulators and healthcare professionals who review your work. This is a constantly changing field, and you have to be prepared to switch tactics whenever necessary.
This is pretty self-explanatory. When a PR firm or public relations (PR) representative is engaged to promote a certain product or service, they often develop a strategy focused on the target audience. This can mean looking at the demographics, psychographics, and digital activity of the people in your audience, to create a custom-fit strategy for maximum impact. When developing your strategy, you have to keep in mind that PR reps work on a per-project basis. This means you have to keep upping the ante to keep the interest of the public relations firm. You can use a tool like Hootsuite to keep track of all your social media accounts and keep up to date with all your PR campaigns. In addition to this, you can also use tools like Google Analytics to track the results of your various marketing efforts, to see which ones are proving to be the most effective.
With personalized marketing, your marketer will take into consideration all the information they can find out about your potential customer, to create a bespoke marketing plan designed to drive results. The main idea behind personalized marketing is to have someone (usually a marketer, but it can be a digital marketer or a sales rep) work specifically with you to develop a strategy designed to generate interest in your product. Once they have developed this strategy, they will then be able to take specific actions, like creating online banners and landing pages, to drive traffic to these pages. Thanks to the internet and digital technology, personalized marketing is easy to do and has unlimited potential.
Create Outstanding Content
Millions of people in the country prefer buying products online. Based on this fact, it is imperative to come up with an e-Commerce website to sell the products to this select group of customers. The site needs to be designed professionally and organized to allow customers to navigate the product catalogs easily. More importantly, you need to come up with excellent SEO content to enable the customers make the right decision as they shop. You can also submit guest post articles to authority sites in the medical field to improve the relevance and domain authority of your site.
Issuance of Samples
It is illegal to offer potential clients samples of products as a motivation or inducement to make a purchase. However, samples such as patient starter packs can be sent to healthcare professionals to give them first-hand experience of the products before they start prescribing them to their clients. You also need to have robust quality control and accountability systems to ensure that the samples sent to the healthcare professionals meet the set standards.
Provide Educational Materials
In the process of marketing medical care services and products in Singapore, you can provide reference books, online journals and other forms of education materials to the public. These materials will empower them with all the information that they need to make an informed shopping decision. You can also offer medical utility items to the customers for free as long as the items are of modest value and are relevant to the service to be rendered. As per the current guidelines, the value of such items should be factual, tested and proven before you can make claims in your sales literature either printed or online.
Printed Promotional Materials
All promotional materials that you intend to use to market your services and products such as journal advertisements and mailings should not be designed to resemble any other editorial materials. They should also conform to the illustrations, text, and the professional standing of the target recipients.
Any form of adult human form presentation or pictures of partly clothed models that are tailored to elicit emotional and visual responses to motivate the client to read the text or make a purchase outright should not be incorporated in the promotional materials.