The 6 Key Digital Marketing Options That All Medical Device Companies Need to Consider

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Medical Device Digital Marketing OptionsIn the mad rush to arm your medical device sales force with the latest iPad apps, have you stopped to consider whether your digital marketing efforts truly align with your overall marketing and sales objectives?

It’s a mistake that a lot of medical device companies are making.

Perhaps more important, have you placed enough emphasis on training your sales force how to properly use the expensive digital tools you’ve provided them with?

In this interview with Asher Cameron, VP of Account Services for Infuse Medical, we learn how to differentiate between “marketing digital” and “digital marketing” in an effort to define a strategic digital marketing plan for your medical device company.

Here’s What You Will Learn

  • The 6 digital marketing categories that medical device companies should consider.
  • What digital marketing option carries the most potential for disrupting the traditional medical device sales channel?
  • The anatomy of effective medical device mobile applications.
  • What is the #1 digital marketing request from physicians?
  • And much more!

This Is What You Can Do Next

1) You can listen to the interview with Asher Cameron right now:

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3) Read the following transcripts from my interview with Asher Cameron.  Also, feel free to download the transcripts by clicking here.

Raw Transcripts of Interview

Scott Nelson:    Hello everyone, it’s Scott Nelson, and welcome to another edition of Medsider.  This is the place where you can learn from med tech and medical device experts on your own terms without going to school.  And on today’s program we’ve got Asher Cameron, who’s VP of Account Services for Infuse Medical.  Thanks for taking some time out of your busy schedule, Asher.  Welcome to the program.

Asher Cameron:       Thanks, Scott.  I appreciate being here.

Scott Nelson:    Okay, so it was either last week or the week before, you presented at the Medical Devices Digital Marketing Conference hosted by ExL in Minneapolis and you started out your presentation with digital marketing or marketing digital, and I thought that was an interesting phrase.  Can you expound on that a little bit more?

Asher Cameron:       Yeah, it’s a great question.  One of the things that we’ve noticed, as technology expands across the entire not just medical devices but across any industry that’s benefitting from mobile technology in particular, is that it’s very easy to be so enthralled by the technology that we get in the mode of rather than continuing to focus on our marketing plans, marketing sales and training objectives and matching those objectives with the best option digitally, that sometimes we can fall into the trap of not doing digital marketing but marketing digital or marketing a digital solution, pushing a tool or application out because it’s cool and it’s neat and it’s high-tech versus ensuring that we are lining all the tools that we’re developing to meet our marketing and sales objectives.

And so that’s why I felt like at the conference starting out with that.  But it’s important that, again, the iPad hasn’t changed marketing, and the iPad 12 with Siri and hologram Siri or whatever technology may come out here 10 years from now is not going to change marketing.  We still have the same core marketing objectives, it’s just we have a lot more effective tools now digitally to achieve those objectives, and so I feel it’s important to continually focus on the marketing plan rather than on the digital.

Scott Nelson:    Sure, and I completely and wholeheartedly agree, and as we discussed kind of on the pre-interview, I myself, and I’m sure there are people listening in the audience right now that have received the same, you know, the latest and greatest app from their large medical device company whether it’s Medtronic or Covidien or Boston Scientific, I’m not naming names in particular, but you received the same, you know, this nice-looking and well-done iPad app but it’s like, “This is really cool and thanks, but I’m not entirely sure if this is going to help me move the needle anymore than the [00:02:43] traditionally behind print-based brochure,” and so I love that point, marketing digital or digital marketing.  So with that said, in terms of aligning some of the digital marketing options, in terms of aligning those with the currently existing marketing or sales plan, can you speak to a few that are currently available…?

Asher Cameron:       Yeah.  No, it’s a good question.  There are six major categories of digital marketing options out there, and I can provide this information to you, Scott, that you could post on your website just to help the listeners to have a guide as they’re evaluating what digital marketing options that would best help them meet their objectives.

Scott Nelson:    Sure.

Asher Cameron:       There are really six categories:  Interactive sales tools, mobile management, immersive interactive, medical education, technology visualization, and web and email, and I’ll just briefly just touch on each one of those.  Interactive sales tools are any type of sales tool that you’re producing for a mobile base or mobile sales force that would enable them to better help display features and benefits and differentiate their product against the competition.  Previously, that has taken the form of print brochures, or maybe even a PC module that somebody would open up a laptop, and now obviously with the introduction of the iPad over the last couple of years, there are very highly interactive sales tools that support and enable the sales reps in a very compelling way when they’ve got 90 seconds at the scrubs sink outside of the OR to grab the surgeon to be able to in a very short period of time very quickly get out the key value proposition of their device in an interactive way through these types of interactive sales tools.  So a lot of mobile applications have been developed.  That’s the interactive sales tools.

The second area is mobile management, and it again is a category of something where technology is going to change over time but there’s still going to be a need to continually provide a way to get information to field-based representatives and be able to manage content on the devices that they’re using.  So mobile management is everything from using AirWatch and mobile iron from a device management standpoint, to app stores, enterprise brand app stores for app distribution as well as content management on mobile devices, so pushing documents and interactive content dynamically to mobile devices and controlling that content is a key area.

The third key area is an emerging area called immersive interactive, and what we’ve seen, and Infuse Medical has been fortunate to participate and be an innovator and leader in this new field, and that is the development of surgical simulations, virtual procedures and product simulations for the Nintendo, Wii and Microsoft Kinect.  And so these are ways, technologies that enable much more immersive training and learning environment for clinicians, for sales reps, and again, we see a lot of interesting things coming out from a technology standpoint in this area to make it even much more virtual and interactive in that space.

The fourth area is medical education, and this is an area, again, that’s never going to go away, that will always be training reps [00:06:11] as medical device marketers, not only internally training but also training clinicians as well.  And so there are a number of options to provide and deliver medical education, everything from learning management systems all the way to other web-based tools, mobile tools, so a number of different platforms.

What’s been interesting is there was a recent learning management conference that our VP of creative services attended in which they talked about an entirely new platform for learning management systems now, which is called Tin Can.  For the last 15 years, most learning management modules on learning management systems or LMSs have been developed under a paradigm called SCORM or SCORM-compliant courses.  There are a lot of limitations with that, and so they have an entirely new paradigm or architecture that’s going to undergird learning management in the future called Tin Can.  It’s going to provide a much more interactive way to deliver learning management as well as get metrics out of that interaction with that content.  It’ll be much more robust.

The fifth area is technology visualization, and this area, traditionally it’s 3D animation but there are other ways as well now through video, through motion graphics, anything visual, technology that enables somebody to watch and visualize, technology to visualize anatomy, and that’s technology visualization.  Again, we joke about it but it really is true that we expect holograms and those types of technologies to come out one day and really be useful in a medical setting.  At the very least, we’re seeing 3D right now and we expect those types of technologies to continue to develop.

And the last area is web and email, and again, going back to that whole notion of marketing digital and digital marketing, Twitter and email and website didn’t create communication.  Obviously, we’ve been communicating for a long time now in the medical device industry and getting our message out there, but these technologies enable us to form communities and to deliver messages and manage conversations with communities of not only sales reps and not only internally now but with physicians and with patients even.  A lot of innovative stuff is going on in the social media space with developing communities around device users, patients and physicians and those who want to interact and talk about their experiences and utilization of devices.

So those six categories we’ve seen are going to be persistent over time.  The technology will change within the categories, but those are six major areas we see of digital marketing where medical device marketers can evaluate options in those six areas to meet their marketing sales and training objectives.

Scott Nelson:    Okay, great.  I’ll give you a second to breathe or maybe even get a drink, but that’s good stuff.  And just as a review for those listening that maybe were taking notes or just want a little refresher, the six categories, interactive sales tools – mobile management, immersive interactive, medical education, technology visualization, and then the sixth being web and email.  That’s great stuff.  Thanks for sort of breaking that down from a numbers standpoint.  Real quickly, in regard to technology visualization, that category, do you have like an example of what that would be?  I mean, I know you mentioned holograms but I’m trying to—how is that different than, say, immersive interactive?

Asher Cameron:       Yeah, that’s a good question.  So most of interactive is much more on a platform basis like Nintendo, Wii or Kinect, and again, the technology is going to change over time.  There are virtual reality glasses and other ways for people to have an immersive experience.  Technology visualization are things like, for example, the traditional, the primary technology or visual marketing option is 3D animation, and the reason why we call it technology visualization is that many times, in particular when you have a procedure that’s happening internally, in internal anatomy, you’re needing to be able to zoom in very closely to something that’s happening in that surgical procedure, being able to control what the viewer is seeing, the level that they’re seeing it at and control the entire experience of what they’re viewing is what technology visualization is about.  So it’s 3D animation, would be the best example of technology there, is the ability for somebody, a developer, a digital agency, to be able to help you control and help a user completely visualize a procedure all the way down into its microscopic or even molecular level.

Scott Nelson:    Okay.  Okay.  That makes sense.  And when you look at these six categories, I mean, I guess two followup questions.  One is, I’m curious as to what your favorite is, what you continue to be wowed over by, and then second, what category do you think has the most potential or most disruptive potential in terms of the traditional sales and marketing channels that medical device companies have utilized for the past 50 years or so?

Asher Cameron:  Yeah, so I think in terms of the different areas of technology, I think one of the things is a really important point in this, and that is that those six areas really should be viewed as an integrated whole from a marketing standpoint, meaning that one of the challenges, as we know we have medical devices, we don’t have pharma budgets.  We don’t have multimillion-dollar budgets to go out and do major advertising campaigns and develop very expensive programs, and so many times we’re dealing with 15,000-, 20,000-, 25,000-dollar budgets to be able to develop somebody’s tools.  So one of the most important things I think, not only from just a practical standpoint but also from a cost standpoint, is to make sure that we’re leveraging the content that we’re creating across the different platforms.

So, for example, if I’m creating some content that’s part of a learning management system module, I should look at reutilizing and repurposing those assets in a mobile application or on my website.  And so really there’s an integrated whole.  My entire marketing program or digital marketing program then involves a number of these different technologies, but it’s across the platforms that I want to be using and repurposing these assets so that I can have a consistent message across whatever platform I’m using.

Scott Nelson:    Okay.

Asher Cameron:       So I think that’s the important point on this as well as to—it’s really not about picking one of these areas, it’s more about here are the various options you can consider, but make sure to really evaluate that you’re leveraging content and what you’re doing across these different areas, not only again from a cost standpoint but from a consistency of message standpoint.  I think one of the things we talk about here at Infuse Medical, our company is a reflection of what our customers want us to be, and our customers and clients have wanted us to be focused on recently mobile application and mobile development.  That’s been one of the major areas of what we’ve done.  So we did a lot of 3D animation and learning management modules and PC-based stuff up until a few years ago, and then mobile really has changed a lot of our focus and what our clients are asking us to do.

So we continually see right now that mobile hasn’t gone away.  There have been innovators in the market that we’ve worked with, the Medtronics, Boston Scientifics, St. Judes of the world,  Bard, Terumo and others, but there are a lot of companies out there that are still trying to figure out what direction they want to go, whether they should purchase iPads for their sales force or not, if they do what applications should they do, etc.  And so we still see mobile as being the main area of digital marketing where there continues to be a lot of focus in terms of developing tools in those areas and making decisions around what platform to go with and how to build a mobile platform and deploy it across a corporation.

Scott Nelson:      Sure, okay.  And do you see, when looking at especially maybe the immersive interactive category and/or the technology visualization, [laughs] I’m struggling to pronounce visualization, but when looking especially at those two categories, do you think either of those has the potential to almost provide a different way for sales reps to interact with physicians?  So let me give you an example.  So instead of a device sales rep driving one or two hours to help cover a procedure, help cover a case, perhaps they could do it virtually through some sort of platform where the hospital has access to it as well as the rep in wherever location they’re at?

Asher Cameron:       Absolutely.  That’s a great example.  Particularly, we’ve talked with capital equipment manufacturers.  It’s very expensive to have capital equipment in the field and maintain it for sales reps to do demos.  And so having, using some of these immersive interactive tools as you mentioned—and again, it could be multi-platform, so I’m not really talking specifically.  I mentioned Microsoft Kinect, Nintendo, Wii, but there are a lot of other platforms.  It’s not as much as the hardware as it is kind of what your objective is and who you’re trying to reach and the best platform for that objective, but that’s exactly right.  So it’s some way for you to be able to have a virtual classroom or a virtual suite, a training suite or something where you could deliver content virtually or deploy training virtually and have for example a virtual simulation or virtual procedure being done rather than having somebody have to go to a cadaver lab or have to bring in any other type of simulations, physical simulations, for somebody to be able to conduct or get training on procedures.

Scott Nelson:    Sure.  Okay.  And kind of moving beyond these six categories, perhaps we can draw back to that list, but at that ExL conference I think you shared or at least provided some information regarding the anatomy of an effective medical device mobile application, can you share that, what exactly does that look like, the anatomy of an effective medical device mobile application?

Asher Cameron:       Yeah, absolutely.  We’ve been fortunate enough to work with a lot of different clients and we’ve done—currently, our agency, Infuse Medical, has completed over 125 custom iPad applications for medical device companies and one of the benefits of being able to participate in part with clients and doing those projects over time is that many times we’ll go out and help our client launch the app at a national sales meeting.  And so we interact with a lot of these sales reps and we get feedback from them and from their marketing colleagues as to what’s working and what’s not working in the field.  And over time we’ve found that there are common elements to what was an effective medical device application, again going back to that whole notion of instead of doing an application and pushing it out there and having the sales rep say, “Okay, here’s your app and you guys figure out how to use it,” we really will sit down with our clients.  I think [00:17:14] do this from a principled standpoint in marketing is meet with your sales advisory board, meet with various sales reps, travel with your sales reps, understand their sales call, understand the challenges they have not just in presenting the information but what are their sales administrative tasks and other things they’re doing, and really develop a tool to mimic and align to the way the sales rep is selling rather than putting a tool out there that may be cool and have some cool things in it but doesn’t necessarily align with they’re selling.

So we thought there are four common categories of elements of what we’ve seen to be very effective iPad applications, medical device iPad applications.  The first is dynamic content management, which is really the foundation.  So what that means is an ability for an administrator such as someone in marketing to be able to push or deploy content dynamically that syncs with the sales of iPad apps.

So typically for us, for example, at Infuse Medical, we have what’s called our Ether Dynamic Configuration Platform or Ether DCP.  It’s a mobile platform that enables an administrator to log into a web-based system, upload content into the system, and that content then dynamically and wirelessly syncs over the air with all the sales reps’ iPad apps.  That’s been critical because the sales reps need the information now.  They need it as a one-stop shop.  They don’t want to have to call marketing or track down the email that was sent out three weeks ago.  They want the latest and greatest information and they want it at their fingertips, and so that’s why that really forms the foundation of being able to dynamically sync content with all the iPad applications we have in the field.

The second one is sales presentation tools.  So what we heard from sales reps is, “Hey, it’s great.  I absolutely need to be able to have my PDF and my videos and my documents and other even dynamic content sync with the iPad, but I also need the presentation tools.  I need this to really be a tool to help me sell.  Again, if I’ve got that 90 seconds at the scrub sink outside the OR with the surgeon, I need to be able to quickly get out my key message, my key value proposition.”  So that second area is our sales presentation tools, so interactive tools where they can visually show features and benefits, visually show a competitive comparison how their device compares with another device in a very interactive way, engage the physician, surgeon or clinician and be able to display that information.

One of the things that we found that’s so important about having that is that not only does it help the sales reps to deliver their message but it also helps to ensure from a marketing standpoint that we as marketers are delivering much more consistent methods in the field.  We’re not as reliant upon the top sales reps and their ability to retain information, their skill set versus the bottom reps who don’t really get it or are really struggling with training them.  The tool enables the sales force to be much more consistent in how they’re presenting message to our clinician customers.

The third area is sales productivity.  So this gets back to the comment I mentioned previously of making sure that we really understand the sales call of our field-based sales reps, understand the channels that we’re using to sell and really understand what are some of the administrative tasks that they’re doing that are taking a lot of time.  So our sales reps, for example, if they’re trying to configure a product for a customer, they bring up a massive spreadsheet with the drop-down menus that was built by some Excel wiz in marketing that’s kind of clunky.  It doesn’t provide the best user experience in terms of presenting that to the commission.  Is there a way for us to streamline some of these processes and develop tools that really enable the sales reps to much more effectively sell?  So there are many tools as an agency that we’ve been involved with, things like dynamic database with references, being able to reference product codes, reimbursement codes, configure products, do product configurations and send those quotes in a PDF to customer service.  So all of those types of productivity tools that make the sales rep much more effective.

And then the fourth area is training.  So, as we know, sales reps are busy and many times training is done through a learning management system that’s web-based, and so a sales rep needs to go home at night and at six o’clock and kids running around and the dogs barking and they’re trying to take a learning management module versus being able to deploy training on the iPad so in the 15 minutes between a case a sales rep could get into the iPad and get into that learning management module, [00:21:54] not need an Internet connection, be able to take it offline, complete course, and then when the iPad gets an Internet connection the course then syncs with the learning management system and you still have visibility of all those metrics.

But those four areas, again, is what we’ve found apps will have either one or more of those elements, dynamic content management, sales presentation tools, sales productivity, and training.

Scott Nelson:    No, that’s great stuff, and thanks for the review.  That’s really great stuff.  And hopefully everyone that’s listening, that provides a nice platform to at least begin to research some of these digital marketing options and what you potentially need to have when beginning to build out the marketing plan when it comes to everything digital.  That’s great stuff.  And then speaking of the anatomy of the effective medical device applications, in sort of the apps arms race that you could probably testify to this that we’ve seen over the past several years within the medical device space, what’s your advice for companies that are struggling with, “Okay, we like everything that you’re saying, Asher.  We see the potential.  We love the potential but we have no iPad-ready content.”  The flipside is a company that says, “Let’s put everything we have on the iPad.”  How do you balance the two?

Asher Cameron:       Yeah, it’s a great question, Scott, because we come across a lot of companies that say, “Listen, I’m not Medtronic,” or “I’m not Boston Scientific and I don’t have that marketing budget, and where do I even begin with this whole thing?”  There’s no question of how there is somewhat of an ego thing to have an application and be able to say, “I have my own iPad app and that’s my iPad app that we’ve done,” and so it’s cool to have an iPad, there’s no doubt, but there really is a justification for doing these mobile tools because of, again, the ability to meet your marketing objectives.

So the first thing I would say to anybody who kind of feels overwhelmed and says, “Gosh, it seems like I should be doing something and I’m getting pressure here from the sales force or from my boss to say, ‘Okay, what are we doing in this whole digital marketing space and should we be getting iPad to the sales force?  What should we be doing here?’” is first of all, again, don’t be intimidated by what anybody else is doing out there because this is all about your marketing plan and what you need to do to meet your objectives.  What may make sense for one company may not make sense for another company because maybe you have a capital equipment product and your sales force is selling capital equipment, somebody else is selling disposables, and that again creates a difference in terms of how you’re selling.

So first of all, again, don’t feel pressure that just because other people in devices have spent a lot of money in building out these tools that you need to do all that and have something.  It’s very easy to start small and I think hopefully, again, by going back to this notion of, “Okay, what are my key marketing objectives?  What do I need to do?” that you could start with that primary objective.

One of the questions that we ask clients when we sit down with them, again going back to this whole foundation of an effective iPad app or effective mobile application, is to say, “How are you currently distributing information to your sales force?”  Again, that’s not a digital marketing question.  That’s a marketing question.  It’s part of what we do in marketing, is we get our message out to the field.  We provide the tools necessary to market our device.  And typically that question [00:25:36] spawns a good conversation to say, “Okay, well, how am I getting information out to the sales force?  Well, I’m getting PDFs and brochures and I’m emailing that,” or, “Maybe I have an internal portal that I’m updating, and actually, to be honest with you, I’m really not updating it and marketing never updates it, and the sales force is supposed to log into it and they never log into it.  So nobody ever updates.  So really, we just email out stuff or we have binders of information or whatever we do, we get it out there, but it’s not the most effective way.”

So you can start right there with that marketing objective, is, “Okay, let’s evaluate how we’re delivering our message to the field, how we’re utilizing our sales channel.  Is there a more effective way for us to get information to them in the field?  Let’s figure out the best way to do that.”  So I definitely would start with those core objects in marketing of, what’s the biggest challenge you’re facing?  Is it sales productivity?  Is it getting your information out to the field?  Is it clinician training?  What is that objective?  Let’s start with that.  And that really is going to be the best first step in terms of evaluating the best digital marketing option to go with.

Scott Nelson:    Gotcha.  No, I really like your approach of going back to the basics, the basics of marketing and how are you currently distributing your content versus just jumping on the iPad or the mobile bandwagon and sort of running with the hype or running with the crowd without really having a solid game plan moving forward.  And I know we don’t have a ton of time left, so I’ve got to be selective with my questions because there’s a whole host that I’d like to continue to ask you, but really quickly, have you seen a problem with some medical device companies committed to—they have allotted a relatively large amount of money to developing some mobile tools, or some digital marketing tools I should say is probably the better description, but yet they don’t do a good enough job or they don’t focus enough on actually training the sales force how to actually use the app or the tool effectively?

Asher Cameron:       Yeah, it’s a really great [00:27:32] place and we’ve seen that before, and again I think it gets back to this whole digital marketing versus marketing digital that I think it’s really important for us as marketers.  I can say personally one of the biggest mistakes I made earlier in my career as a medical device marketer was assuming I knew what the sales force needed.  And sometimes it was offensive to me when I’d go to a national sales meeting and I’d show them, “Here’s my launch packet or something, a tool I’ve developed and I put in my blood, sweat and tears to create this,” and the sales reps say, “Hey, Asher, this is great, but there are just a few more things we need,” or, “This is not exactly what we need.”

So one of the things, as I’ve said, in talking with clients is, the judge of whether a tool is effective is not the toolmaker but the tool user.  So even though you’ve got a very large budget and you’ve got a lot of tools out there, it’s very important for you to understand the tool user, and that’s that sales rep.  So traveling with the sales reps and understanding those sales calls, working with sales advisory board.  Don’t just work with the top reps as well.  Work with some reps who are struggling as well.  Get their feedback.

And to ensure that just like we get design inputs when we’re developing a medical device, get design inputs for these projects to ensure that the tools align with how your sales reps are selling.  I think when that happens the training becomes a lot easier because it becomes intuitive and the sales reps can see, “Hey, this is a much effective way of doing what I’m already doing,” versus, “You gave me a tool that’s forcing me to do something completely different.”  We even had a client recently who part of the application that we developed was an entire physician interviewer algorithm that a sales rep could walk through in a very consultative sell to say, “Okay, I’m going to walk through this interview with you now, doctor.  Tell me what you’re currently using.”  “Okay, based on what we’re currently using, have you seen this technology?” or “We’re currently using that.”  And it really was an algorithm that mimicked exactly the element they wanted to do.  To me it was a great example of marketing, not just digital marketing but a great example of marketing of then providing a tool matched up exactly with how they want their sales reps to sell.

All of that again is a longwinded way of saying when that is done, then training becomes very easy, so when you go to the national sales meeting or have the webinar and deploy the tool to the sales reps, the 45 minutes you’re spending or an hour you’re spending with the sales reps walking through the tool, they get it right away because, again, it mimics their existing sales call and sales process.

Scott Nelson:    Gotcha, and I especially like your comment about when you’re basically studying the sales force, how they potentially use a certain tool, don’t just ride along, of course interact with the sales leadership council or whatever you want to call them, but make sure you ride not only with the top reps but also those reps that maybe are having an off-year or maybe that are kind of the median level, I guess, for lack of a better description.  I think that’s an important fact that companies would be wise to consider for sure.

So in our time left I definitely want to ask you a few questions about Infuse as well as your background before you made the move over to Infuse Medical.  But real quick, was there anything that stood out in regard to the data that I believe James Avallone, I’m not exactly sure how to pronounce his last name, with Manhattan Research, the information he presented on how physicians are responding to digital tools?  Was there anything that jumped out to you that you walked away surprised with in regard to the content that he presented?

Asher Cameron:       Yeah, there was.  And just for the listeners so they have the background, so Manhattan Research is a research firm that is really in my opinion one of the leading firms in terms of understanding the adoption of digital tools and mobile tools in healthcare, so they’ve got a lot of research over physicians’ use of iPads and the use of mobile technology and other digital technologies in healthcare.  The thing that really jumped out to me, Scott, was something that I actually saw Manhattan Research present last year at the digital marketing conference, and that was that the number one request from physicians of medical device companies is to have more information on the medical devices that they are prescribing for their patients, more tools, more ways for them to present to a patient, resources that the patient can access why the physician is using this device and why this probably is going to be of benefit to the patient.

So I think it kind of gets back to this whole notion of really we’re starting to form a community now in medical devices where we’re not just in our separate [00:32:14] of the device manufacturer and physician and patient, but really we’re becoming this one big connected network here where patients are asking for much more information, “Hey, what is this thing implanted in my body?  And I want to share my experience with other patients and I want kind of a forum or I want a community here where I could talk about it.”  And physicians are saying, “Hey, listen, I’m almost an extension of your company here as your prescriber, so I need the tools to better help convey the benefits of this medical device to patients.  I want much more information.  I want to be able to go to your website.  I want mobile tools.  I want other ways for me to educate myself on your device, and then be able to educate my patients.”

So that was something that physicians were asking for last year and that they’re asking for this year as well, so I think it’s a great opportunity for medical device companies to evaluate, “How can I better partner with physicians and provide them information that they need to better educate themselves and their patients as to why they should be using my device and how it’s going to benefit them?”

Scott Nelson:    Gotcha, and you couldn’t have said it better.  I mean, I think on my notes I had one of the things that stood out from those data points was the unmet needs in regard to the sales service and support and engagement, the unmet needs in regard to what the physician is looking for, but you said it better, and I think that’s a huge—the common [00:33:39] would be that physicians maybe do not want [00:33:42] with too much messaging when in fact it’s maybe opposite.  They want more tools, more engagement that they can deliver to their patients, which is a very interesting point.  So, great stuff.

As we kind of conclude this interview, Asher, Infuse Medical, one of the things that I was surprised with that I was checking out at your website was that you’ve got some—very cool website, by the way—percentages there listed around the main page:  100% of Fortune 500 medical device companies and 75% of Fortune 1000 medical device companies do business with Infuse Medical.  Those are really impressive stats.  What are like one or two reasons why you have such a high percentage of those Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 medical device companies?

Asher Cameron:  Well, thanks Scott, and we feel very privileged and I say that in all sincerity.  We feel very privileged to work with many of these major medical device companies.  We love what we do at Infuse Medical.  We love seeing the impact of these tools for our clients.  I think our ability to and the opportunity that we’ve had to work with such a large group of some of the leading medical device manufacturers has come from a couple of reasons.

First is that Infuse Medical is a comprehensive digital agency, and what that means is that we have strategically decided that we are going to be a one-stop shop for all of the needs of our medical device clients.  So we do everything from the front end creative content development all the way to back programming and systems integration, for example, integration with salesforce.com, SAP, etc., and we felt that that’s been a very effective model for medical device companies because many times the nature of their projects is such that they don’t want to have to go to a 3D animation vendor to do their 3D and a software company to do their programming and a creative agency to do all the creative content.  They want to be able to go to one agency that can do all that, and we’re pretty unique in that regard that we’re a comprehensive digital agency and have all of those technical as well as creative capabilities.

I think the second area that has been important for us that has made us unique as an agency and been a real benefit to our clients is that we are exclusively focused on the medical device industry, so our entire company is structured to serve medical device companies.  I think many times a lot of the agencies that some device companies may come across are focused on pharma, and so many times we’ll hear from device companies, “Gosh, I got this just crazy quote for an iPad application.  They said it was going to cost me 80,000 dollars to do this iPad application.”  And many times what we’ve found is that you’re typically talking with a firm that’s focused on the pharma area and they’re dealing with bigger budgets and there’s a higher cost structure there, but we provide a lot of value and really have structured ourselves to serve the unique needs of the medical device industry, which includes budget as well as scope and timeline.

We get a lot of requests for, “Oh gosh, six weeks away from now we need to able to get something out,” and we have the flexibility to do that.  So we feel very fortunate to have had an opportunity to work with all these companies, and again, I think it’s because of the fact that we’re a comprehensive digital agency and we’re focused exclusively on the medical device industry.

Scott Nelson:      Very good.  Yeah, and I can certainly testify to seeing some of those apps and tools that you’ve developed, and I think in fact Greg Benz with Boston Scientific, I believe, shared some examples, and correct me if I’m wrong but I think you helped build some of those tools.  They were very impressive to say the least.  And then, just even going on your website, and I encourage everyone to check it out, I mean, some of those videos that you have, especially regarding kind of the immersive interactive category as well as the technology visualization category, that’s really cool.  Personally, as I watched some of those videos, I was like, “Wow, you could really begin to see what you could do in terms of getting your message out to more physicians in a new and a different way.  That was very, very cool.”  So good stuff, Asher.

Last question I have for you is in regard to your background.  You mentioned earlier that you’ve spent—I think you mentioned earlier [00:38:02] this anyway, from 10-plus years as a medical device marketer, I’m looking at your LinkedIn profile now, from Hill Rom to Medtronic to Bard, etc., and now you made the jump back in 2011, I think, over to Infuse Medical.  I’m curious—I’m sure that gives you a unique take for sure—but why the jump from medical device marketer to Infuse Medical?

Asher Cameron:       Yeah, that’s a good question.  I’ve been fortunate to work for some of the best medical device companies in the world and really enjoyed my experience at all three of those.  One of the things that was enjoyable for me as a medical device marketer in those various product management and other roles is to have been able to work for a capital equipment medical device manufacturer, a vascular medical device manufacturer as well as an orthopedics for Medtronic Spine, and that’s been interesting to see, again, the differences across more kind of a disposables versus orthopedics versus capital equipment medical device sale, and the differences in marketing those different types of devices and working with the sales force.  And so that’s been an interesting perspective in coming to this role of Infuse Medical.

So, as I mentioned, I was a client of Infuse Medical’s [00:39:22] at Bard several years ago and had an opportunity to come and really help with the experience and background that I have, help Infuse Medical’s clients to translate their marketing objectives into the most effective visual tools, and I’ve found this as just an exciting opportunity to be able to continue—I feel like I’m a marketer at heart—to be involved in helping to translate strategy into the most effective tools, and to be able to [00:39:54] some of the leading medical device companies on an ongoing basis is just such so much fun for me and so much for our company.  And again, being able to see I think both sides of the table, having been a client and having been in a medical device marketing role, I feel like there’s a real connection or relationship that I can develop with clients that is helpful for them and helpful for us as a business in really creating a partnership.  And so I’ve really enjoyed doing that and I’m having a lot of fun.

Scott Nelson:      Sure.  Great stuff.  I can’t thank you enough, Asher, for coming on the program.  And for those listening that want to learn more and reach out to you or learn more about Infuse Medical, where’s the best place they can go?

Asher Cameron:  Yeah, so our website, infusemed.com, and my email address is asher@infusemed.com.  And I enjoy connecting with everyone in the industry, and so feel free to reach out to me if there are any questions or any other request for information.

Scott Nelson:    Gotcha.  Very good.  And for those listening, if you’ve hung on this long, hopefully, one, you’ve enjoyed a lot of this content because certainly Asher is an expert as you probably have experienced over the past 30 minutes or so, but for those listening, real quickly, if you want an easy way to consume these interviews, you can subscribe to the Medsider podcast for free.  Just go to iTunes, do a search for Medsider and that podcast will show up.  Click to subscribe for free.  That way all these new interviews will download to your iTunes account for free.  We’re also on Stitcher Radio now as well.  So you can either read the text interviews online or you can listen to the audio interviews when you’re out and about or have got some windshield time.

Asher, thanks again for doing this.  Really, really good information, and I’m certain that you’ll have some people reach out to you.  And hopefully, if you’re listening, reach out to Asher and tell him that you enjoyed the interview and reach out to him with further questions and ideas.  So, cool.  Thanks again, Asher.  Really appreciate you coming on.

Asher Cameron:       My pleasure, Scott.  It’s good to be with you.

Scott Nelson:    Alright.  And I’ll have you hold on the line.  And for everyone listening, thanks again for your attention, and until the next episode of Medsider.  Take care.

[End of Recording]


 

More About Asher Cameron

Medical Device Digital MarketingAsher Cameron is the VP of Account Services for Infuse Medical, a comprehensive digital agency focused exclusively on the medical device industry. Prior to joining Infuse Medical, Asher spent nearly 10 years in senior marketing roles at Hill-Rom, Medtronic, and C.R. Bard. Asher has led the development and launch of over $200 million in new medical devices and has managed over $600 million in medical device product lines. While at C.R. Bard, Asher launched several digital marketing initiatives involving mobile applications, interactive training modules, and web-based tools. Asher holds B.S. and MBA degrees from Brigham Young University.

About Scott Nelson

Medtech enthusiast, ambitious doer, and intellectually curious. Scott has worked for some of the largest medical device companies in the world including Covidien, Boston Scientific, and …. Learn more

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