A successful product launch can propel sales and marketing efforts forward and ensure a product gains a foothold with key healthcare professionals right away.
Eric Bopp, Czarnowski
Medtech companies develop products of all shapes and sizes. But no matter if a company is unveiling a multi-ton radiotherapy machine or a tiny stent for newborns, it must try to get the most it can from the product introduction. A highly visible debut ensures the company puts its product in front of a meaningful number of influencers and decision-makers simultaneously. This efficient communication method also helps build momentum for the sales team’s work in the field.
An effective product unveiling can take many forms — advertising, news conferences, pop-up events. But announcing a new product at a professional conference or trade show with a large, eye-catching exhibit is a tried-and-true method that can raise brand awareness.
That’s the strategy RefleXion deployed when it revealed its new biology-guided radiotherapy machine at the 2018 American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas. Other medtech companies that seek to execute their own high-impact product launches can learn from RefleXion’s five keys to success:
Reinforce brand messages
A decade in the making, RefleXion’s patented, biology-guided radiotherapy treatment is designed to turn cancer on itself, combining positron emission tomography (PET) with radiotherapy to detect tumors and signal their location for treatment.
The nature of the treatment is built into the company’s name, so the idea of “reflection” was designed into the booth. It was symmetrical, with the floor rising to peaks at opposite corners of the exhibit. This structure served a threefold purpose: it reinforced brand messages, drew attention to the biology-guided radiotherapy device at the center, and created extra space for private meeting rooms.
Medtech marketers should always seek to tell a consistent, cohesive story throughout a booth so key audiences receive and easily remember brand messages.
Educate with high-quality renderings
Because the Hayward, Calif. company’s device weighs six tons, the company displayed just the outer casings and attached custom-curved OLED screens to its service hatches. The screens displayed digital renderings of the device’s internal working. Separate kiosks played an animated video that told the story of the potential for RefleXion to treat metastatic cancer with biology-guided radiotherapy.
Renderings can also help a medtech company explain how a much smaller device works within a larger device or even within the human body. Because medical devices vary greatly, their proper place within booths will vary. But renderings — if done well — allow attendees to see products in action and understand their features, advantages and benefits.
Take calculated risks
The RefleXion booth’s “reflection” design included two very visible meeting rooms, which presented a big risk. If these rooms weren’t in regular use during the show, it would suggest a lack of interest in the product to passersby. Fortunately, the exhibit space and meeting rooms were full throughout the show.
Medtech companies can avoid taking risks, especially when it comes to marketing their products. But a completely risk-free approach to exhibiting will likely result in a generic, uninteresting booth. To drive traffic and engagement, a company must first believe in and commit to a fleshed-out strategy. Once a medtech marketing team has confidence in its strategy, it can take the calculated risks that help make a booth truly memorable.
Secure buy-in from all stakeholders
A marketing team may have endless creative ideas for how to launch and promote a product. But without making a compelling case for its ideas and securing buy-in from stakeholders — up to and including the company CEO — the best concepts may never have a chance. RefleXion has a strong, integrated team that communicated well during the booth design process. Team members all agreed to use ASTRO as the launch pad for the company’s branding efforts. With all parties invested in the success of the initiative and in agreement on goals, the creative team was unhindered in its efforts to develop a compelling showcase for the company’s treatment.
Build on a strong start
ASTRO 2018 was only the first step in RefleXion’s marketing strategy, which includes ongoing exhibiting. The company plans to expand its booth presence at this year’s ASTRO conference. It has also applied for 510(k) clearance from the FDA for its device.
A medtech company must develop a long-term marketing and exhibiting strategy. A one-off exhibit will do little to build sustained momentum around a product or brand. An ongoing commitment to exhibiting is crucial to ensure brand messages stand out and innovative devices gain the exposure they deserve.
Eric Bopp is director of global programs for Czarnowski, a multidimensional marketing agency.
The opinions expressed in this blog post are the author’s only and do not necessarily reflect those of Medical Design and Outsourcing or its employees.