Too often, medical device marketers over-focus resources on downstream marketing: advertising, marketing or promotion of an existing medical device. While downstream marketing is critical to any organization, it works best when integrated with upstream marketing.

The key word with upstream marketing is innovation. Here are three categories of questions to ask the marketing, sales and R&D teams to fuel the upstream marketing effort:

Market Strategy

  • How does our medical device make the world a better place today? Tomorrow?
  • What future problems will our solutions address (including devices currently on the market and those that don’t yet exist), and how?
  • How is the market changing today, and how will it evolve tomorrow?
  • What is the long-term goal of our medical device offering, and what is our long-term marketing and communications plan?

Target Market Research

  • What is happening in our target audience’s minds, and how will we proactively address their present-day needs, desires, challenges, obstacles and fears?
  • How is our medical device used, and what competitive advantage is needed to continue and broaden that use?

Expansion Strategy

  • What competing medical devices might we strategize to acquire?
  • What new markets can we explore?
  • What similar medical devices might we revitalize for sharper competitive edge and to continue to be relevant for years to come?
  • What is the vision for our next medical device launch? And our next? And our next?

Particularly with 66% of Americans owning at least two digital devices – smartphone, desktop or laptop computer, or tablet – and 36% owning all three, never has there been a better time in history to capitalize on upstream marketing.

Stay relevant in front of target audiences that are evolving at the speed of the digital age. Just as quickly as new operating system updates or new device models are introduced to the market, so too are users’ expectations, needs and desires evolving, and not just for digital device offerings – for everything. Immediate gratification never ran so rampant. 

The data of today gives insight into how to propel upstream marketing that preserves the medical device organization for years – and even decades – to come. Gathering that data via operator channels (SMS, mobile apps, websites, etc.) and other digital channels (Google and Facebook analytics, for example), can provide good insight into how current users are engaged with the brand and device. Digital surveys take the study deeper, posing the right questions to the target audience in order to refine the company vision, marketing strategy and expansion strategy with laser focus on solving their needs, today and tomorrow.

What might you do today to ramp up upstream marketing for long-term success?