EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD
No medical device manufacturer can exist as an island. A company's success relies on a vast network of external connections, and executives are challenged with the task of making contact with and maintaining relationships with a wide array of parties, including investors, regulators, payers, distributors, outside sales representatives, customers, and the general public.
Getting expert advice on how to establish and manage these relationships is as important for MX as it is for the magazine's readers. Throughout 2006, MX has announced members of its new editorial advisory board. Members of the board include a variety of experts drawn from industry, government, finance, legal circles, and academic organizations, each with specialized expertise in the business of medical technology.
The overall advisory board encompasses a series of councils, each dedicated to a separate area and including several experts in the field. In this issue, MX is pleased to present the newly appointed members of the final three advisory councils: corporate communications, sales and logistics, and marketing and advertising.
Angela D. Craig is vice president of corporate relations for St. Jude Medical Inc. (St. Paul, MN). Craig joined St. Jude Medical in May 2005 and has overall responsibility for investor relations, media relations, internal communications, government affairs, and healthcare policy and reimbursement. She serves as the company's liaison with industry association AdvaMed (Washington, DC), as well as president of the St. Jude Medical Foundation.
"For all communications executivesnot just medtechbusiness reform initiatives such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act are about controls and appropriate communications of those controls," Craig says. "As such, they have raised the visibility and importance of the need for effective corporate communications with all of our stakeholder groups.
"The level of scrutiny of the cardiac device industry is extremely high," she adds. "We have worked actively across industry, and engaged our industry association, AdvaMed, to work with stakeholders to improve the way we report on the performance of our products. As a company, we have an opportunity in these instances to engage in continuous improvement, and to work with our customers, government agencies, and media to demonstrate our willingness to listen and make changes that benefit our patients and are generally good public policy. We have a responsibility, however, to resist reacting too quickly to create changes without considering the ramifications. Remember, as in medicine, the first rule in public policy work is, 'Do no harm.'"
Craig says that the most effective way to prepare for a crisis is to build a culture inside a company that can minimize risk. "A culture of ethics and doing the right thing are imperative if a company is going to be successful," she says. "That said, cardiac device companies must continue to improve the way that they communicate device performance to patients, physicians, and the general public, and we continue to focus on this important objective."
Craig predicts that the healthcare community will continue to encounter public policy issues related to the cost of its products versus the value of the technology to society. "It's our job as communicators to continue to build this value message," she says. "In addition, transparency of healthcare will likely become an ever-increasing topic that will receive a great deal of discussion."
Prior to joining St. Jude Medical, Craig was a senior executive for public and investor relations and corporate affairs at Smith & Nephew plc (London).
Craig began her career as a reporter for The Commercial Appeal newspaper (Memphis). She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Memphis.
Julie Tracy is vice president for investor relations and corporate marketing at Kyphon Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA), a leading manufacturer of medical devices for minimally invasive spinal therapy. Tracy has more than 20 years of sales and marketing management experience in the medical device industry with such companies as American Hospital Supply, Baxter International, Spectranetics, and Thoratec. She has extensive experience launching both premarket approval and 510(k) products, and implementing successful promotional and public relations programs to drive awareness and adoption.
"The significance of corporate communications and investor relations has grown in recent years as the Securities and Exchange Commission and shareholders demand more transparency from public companies," Tracy says. "In response, the responsibilities of medtech corporate communications executives have assumed a greater profile and higher level of accountability to an important group of constituents who want to see a profitableand comprehensiblereturn on their investment.
"Medtech companies should provide a level of transparency that delivers the fullest disclosure possible on company performance so that investors and other stakeholders have the information that they need to make decisions," she adds. "In practical terms, this means providing disclosures that management and the board deem appropriate. Although regulations like those contained in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Securities and Exchange Commission rulings have increased disclosure requirements, they still fall almost entirely within the existing financial reporting model. Today's investors certainly want accurate and timely financial information based on generally accepted accounting principles, but they also want a wide range of other information to give them a complete view of a company's performance and prospects. That additional information is often about intangible assets and nonfinancial value drivers that are the leading indicators of future financial results."
Tracy joined Kyphon in January 2003 as vice president of marketing. In that position, she was responsible for leading several successful product launches, as well as developing physician educational and promotional programs that increased revenue from $76 million to more than $300 million at the end of 2005. In April 2005, Tracy assumed new responsibility for investor relations and corporate marketing, a position that she still holds today.
"Our company, not unlike many others in the medtech industry, recognizes that effective communications for a company faced with a crisis begin long before any specific crisis appearsparticularly given the potential effect of any crisis on a company's reputation, productivity, profitability, and share price. At Kyphon, we invest time and resources in properly planning for and managing a crisis so that we can identify the problem, determine the appropriate solution, and effectively communicate the situation to all key constituents, including customers, employees, and shareholders."
Before coming to Kyphon, Tracy was at Thoratec, where she held senior-level positions in marketing, business development, and reimbursement. While at Thoratec, she directed a sustained market development campaign that included an extensive public relations effort to strengthen clinical acceptance and propel procedure awareness, resulting in annual revenue growth from $10 million to more than $130 million in less than five years. Because of the life-saving clinical results that were publicized during this campaign, in 2001 the American Heart Association recognized this new heart care indication as number two on its annual list of top research advances.
"Although there is wide agreement that significant advances in healthcare technologies improve the quality of healthcare delivered and the productivity of the healthcare system overall, there is increasing pressure on our healthcare systems to find ways to pay for these advancements," Tracy says. "It will therefore be essential for corporate communications professionals to clearly articulate a well-defined value proposition that includes how their technology will result in savings for the healthcare system, while improving the quality of care."
Tracy received her BS in business administration from the University of Southern California and her MBA from Pepperdine University. She is a member of AdvaMed's public affairs coordinating council and the corporate advisory board for the National Women's Health Resource Center. She was selected as most valuable thought leader for Frost & Sullivan's ninth annual executive summit on growth strategies in the medical device industry.
Sales and Logistics
Warren M. Gitt is executive director of biomedical services for Hill-Rom Co. (Batesville, IN), where his responsibilities include the management of two equipment repair depots and a field-based team providing third-party repair services. He is also responsible for providing technical support to more than 100 biomeds who maintain Hill-Rom's rental fleet of more than 100,000 pieces of equipment.
"In the area of service and service logistics, several technologies and applications have coalesced to bring the discipline of equipment service into the Internet age," Gitt says. "The past five years have seen increased use of broadband technology for the remote monitoring of sophisticated equipment, the maturation of handheld hardware and its associated software for use by remote technicians, and the widespread use of cellular telephone technology as the communications medium for both data- and voice-linking many organizations with their widespread technical support organization."
Gitt says that medtech companies should embrace customer relationship management and work with outside resources to enhance all touch points with customers. "There is no substitute for a seasoned sales rep or a reliable service technician, but appropriately creating customer-centricity via communications technology greatly enhances sales and service efficiency, as well as overall customer satisfaction," he says.
"Medtech companies should focus on their core competencies--whether it be the research and development of intellectual property, manufacturing and operations, sales, service, or other functions--and outsource those areas of their business in which they lack high levels of competency so as to be nimble and responsive to their customers' rapidly changing needs," he adds.
According to Gitt, adaptability is often directly related to the size and historical success of medtech companies. "As we all know, the bigger and more complex the boat, the harder it is to change direction midstream," he says. "Far too many mature businesses become bogged down in their historically successful, tightly integrated, and consequently unresponsive organizations."
Gitt has more than 20 years' experience with a variety of healthcare companies, including medical device companies, healthcare information technology companies, and medical equipment manufacturers.
Gitt has served as the president and general manager of both a medical device manufacturer and a privately owned medical equipment repair company. He began his healthcare career as a product manager with Zimmer Holdings Inc. (Warsaw, IN) and subsequently held several senior marketing, sales, and general management positions with Zimmer, Kirschner Medical Corp., and Biomet. Gitt later held senior business development positions in the area of e-healthcare.
Gitt graduated with a bachelor's from Hasting College (Hasting, NE), served in the U.S. Army as a translator and cryptographer, and taught high school for a few years as a German teacher. He then returned to Phoenix, AZ, where he earned a master's in international business from the Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management.
Bruce Johnson is chief operating officer for Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX; Westminster, CO). He joined Global Healthcare Exchange in July 2000, shortly after the company was formed by five of the world's leading manufacturers, including Johnson's previous employer, GE Medical Systems. As vice president of marketing, Johnson helped differentiate GHX from dozens of healthcare e-commerce companies that populated the marketplace at the time. He helped the company overcome initial skepticism in the healthcare provider community through recognition of the company's unique revenue-neutral business model.
Johnson subsequently assumed responsibility for GHX's sales effort. Building on growing market acceptance and consolidation, Johnson helped GHX achieve its current standing as the largest electronic trading exchange in healthcare in terms of participation by healthcare suppliers and providers.
"The most significant technological change in recent years has been the ability for medtech manufacturers to automate field sales processes and improve efficiencies in order, inventory, and contract management," Johnson says. "By streamlining what have traditionally been highly manual processes, supplier sales representatives can spend more time assisting physicians in the selection and use of medical devices, and can gather critical feedback that their companies can use not only to improve the value and marketability of their respective product offerings, but also to better forecast market demand.
"While new technology certainly has the ability to help medtech companies respond more quickly and effectively to market conditions, the success of technology implementation depends far more on whether a company recognizes that potential and is willing to change longstanding business practices," he adds. "For example, companies that have gotten the most value out of their e-commerce initiatives are those that recognize the potential to increase productivity through automation, error reduction, and the ability to improve demand management. Unfortunately, some companies mistakenly fear that standardizing the ordering process for customers or increasing information sharing between buyers and sellers will make it more difficult to differentiate themselves and their products in the marketplace. On the contrary, I have seen firsthand how companies that have embraced new technology are fostering greater collaboration with their customers, which they can convert into more sales opportunities. This enables them to devote more resources to product development and marketing."
With his responsibilities also including corporate communications, product management, and supplier market development, Johnson plays an instrumental role in GHX's collaborative approach to working with customers to identify and develop solutions to meet market needs. Johnson oversees research efforts conducted by GHX, in partnership with hospitals and suppliers, to quantify cost savings made possible through the improved process efficiencies enabled by GHX. Johnson has played a pivotal role in the formation of strategic alliances and the development of a balanced pricing model for customers.
"The most important trend that medtech companies should take advantage of in the future is the adoption and enablement of standards to improve information sharing, visibility, and accuracy across the healthcare supply chain," Johnson says. "At GHX, we have seen an increase in supplier focus on and commitment toward industry efforts to adopt and utilize standards such as universal product numbers and location identifiers. Use of industry standards will facilitate the implementation of new technology, such as radio-frequency identification, as well as compliance with potential regulatory mandates such as anticounterfeiting legislation or requirements to uniquely identify medical devices."
Prior to joining GHX, Johnson served three years as Americas marketing manager for integrated imaging solutions at GE Medical Systems. During his nine previous years with the company, Johnson held positions as product marketing manager for magnetic resonance imaging, and as a product line sales representative.
Johnson earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. He holds a master's degree in business administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Debra Kurtz is founder and president of Kurtz Consulting Inc. (Vernon Hills, IL), a provider of sales and marketing solutions for medical product manufacturers. She has more than 20 years' experience in strategic planning, sales, marketing, business development, and customer service.
"The days of selling features and benefits are over in medtech," Kurtz says. "Successful medtech companies need to develop a value-added approach in sales and marketing that shows how their products help the customer's bottom line."
Over the course of her career, Kurtz has held the titles of president, vice president of sales, director of marketing, and director of sales. She has provided thought leadership for a variety of medtech and consumer product companies and is recognized for building financial performance, developing products and services, and generating dominant market share. Her career origins are in marketing research, marketing management, and sales management.
According to Kurtz, reimbursement can make the difference between a winning approach and a losing effort, and she recommends that manufacturers plan their strategies accordingly. "First, obtain reimbursement for your device, then develop a business case for why customers should use your product," she says. "And lastly, effectively communicate your business case via your sales and marketing efforts."
Kurtz has bachelor's degrees in liberal arts and systems engineering, and a master's in business administration from Washington University, with continuing education at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.
Matt Margolies is senior vice president for pulmonary diagnostics sales and marketing at Viasys Healthcare (Conshohocken, PA), a medical device company focused on respiratory, neurology, and surgical technologies. He joined the company in 2004 and is responsible for all U.S. diagnostic sales operations and worldwide marketing of pulmonary diagnostics for Viasys's respiratory care group, including the strategic development of sales and marketing channels, sales team development, and the general management of the pulmonary diagnostics business unit.
The major product areas that Margolies manages are pulmonary function testing and sleep diagnostics. A key member of the company's respiratory care management team, Margolies works closely with other sales and marketing leaders across Viasys' strategic business units.
Margolies says the most significant technological change affecting medtech manufacturers over the past five years has been the evolution of interconnectivity between medical equipment and hospital information systems. "Over the last several years, we have seen a shift in the hospital departments that we serve," he says. "Sleep diagnostics and pulmonary- function testing departments need to exchange diagnostic studies with information systems outside of their department's. No longer are they self-contained, and our equipment has needed to adapt to be able to interface with multiple hospital information systems."
According to Margolies, medtech companies can improve their performance in areas related to sales and logistics by giving sales teams access to all of the information available to the company's corporate functions. "In many organizations, the internal finance and information technology teams are reluctant to give sales full access," he says. "I envision a day when one of my sales reps can log into our corporate servers and pull off any order information needed. Companies like Dell are light-years ahead of us in terms of serving the customer. When was the last time a hospital placed a major capital equipment purchase with a vendor and was given a Web site to go to that provided status updates? Access like this would free up the constant calls my reps get from customers wondering where their orders are. In addition, it would answer a lot of the questions that the reps have on an order, such as, 'When am I getting paid?'"
In addition, Margolies says that medtech companies need to place a greater emphasis on reimbursement. "Because we are in the diagnostics business, any changes to reimbursement affect the way our customers purchase," he says. "For example, as of today, there is limited reimbursement for in-home sleep diagnostics studies. If reimbursement were to change, the equipment we sell and the customers to whom we sell could change dramatically."
Prior to joining Viasys, Margolies spent 10 years at Tyco Healthcare/ Mallinckrodt Imaging. In total, he has more than 16 years of professional sales and management experience.
Peter J. Masloski is a principal in the medical products and services practice at ZS Associates (Evanston, IL), a global management consulting firm specializing in marketing and sales.
In the field of sales, the most significant marketplace change affecting medtech manufacturers over the past five years is the increased emphasis that customers are placing on demonstrated proof of economic outcomes and clinical benefits, as well as the increased influence of economics in the product decision-making process, Masloski says. "The growing alignment of clinical and economic buyers, the emergence of gainsharing, and reimbursement pressures have been forcing companies to demonstrate and prove the value of their products in both clinical and economic terms," he says. "Those that can't differentiate on these dimensions are forced to reduce prices, and their profitability has eroded. I fully expect this trend to continue and even accelerate, and companies that are able to demonstrate value through their sales organizations will be better able to protect margins and realize growth goals."
Masloski's experience at ZS includes helping clients improve the effectiveness of their marketing and sales efforts in a broad range of areas, including opportunity assessment and portfolio management, segmentation, sales process and channel design, sales force strategy, territory alignment, incentive compensation, account planning, and customer relationship management strategy. His clients at ZS have been primarily in the medical devices and diagnostics industries. Masloski has authored several articles and white papers on topics including sales force structure, sales effectiveness, and incentive compensation.
"New technologies, product recalls, and quality issues can rapidly shift the established balance of power within markets," he says. "Those companies that are the most customer-centric and understand the needs of their customers will be in the best position to address market changes. Adaptable sales force structures and lighter and more-flexible business processes and information systems also make it easier for companies to respond to change. Those companies that accept the fact that change is occurring and invest in getting out in front of the change or are willing to move quickly when change is apparent will be most successful in dynamic markets."
Masloski says that such success also requires manufacturers to make a concerted effort to transform their selling organizations to focus on creating and communicating both clinical and economic value to their customers. "Unfortunately, this type of transformation for many companies is not as easy as making a single change," he says. "It starts with having an in-depth understanding of your customers and developing compelling value propositions for customers with different types of needs. It can ultimately mean a sales force restructuring, and include changes in account management processes, sales competency models, training programs, tools and information, coaching and performance management processes, and incentive compensation systems."
Masloski says that in addition to escalating cost and pricing pressures, changes to the group purchasing organization (GPO) landscape are opening up unprecedented opportunities and providing a license to hunt in areas that many companies felt locked out of in the past. "The basis of competition is shifting from the national GPO level to regional GPO offices, integrated delivery networks, and individual accounts," he says. "Companies need to have the appropriate resources and strategies for capitalizing on these new opportunities, as well as for protecting what may have been considered secure business in the recent past."
Masloski joined ZS Associates in 1996. Prior to joining ZS, Masloski worked for Dow Chemical Co. (Midland, MI) in various roles.
Masloski has an MBA with distinction from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He also holds a BSE in chemical engineering from Princeton University, where he played varsity football.
Trent Reutiman is vice president of sales for OmniSonics (Wilmington, MA). He joined OmniSonics in January 2006 from RITA Medical Systems Inc. (Fremont, CA), where he was vice president of sales and marketing. He brings to OmniSonics more than 15 years of medical device sales experience.
Reutiman says the most significant marketplace change affecting medtech manufacturers over the past five years is the increased onus to demonstrate clinical and financial viability to healthcare administrations. "This places a burden on the manufacturers of these technologies to ensure that reimbursement strategies are viable, and for the manufacturers to give more consideration to their clinical data generation," Reutiman says.
Such marketplace changes require both large and small manufacturers to adapt. "Smaller medtech companies often can adapt rapidly," he says. "The focus of boutique companies has to be nimble enough or they simply won't survive. It is harder for larger companies to adapt rapidly enough in changing market conditions. Larger product lines and breadth of offerings make it much more difficult to make timely modifications. Also, larger companies have the delicate balance of risk versus return to investors. Often they are not in the business of taking on high-risk projects that require multiple adaptations.
"Understanding customers' needs continues to be a priority that drives companies to outstanding performance," he adds. "Logistically, data collection and organization can be very helpful in assessing what you have and don't have. The current sales modules to enterprise resource planning systems can be invaluable in helping companies organize their data along multiple functions to ensure that the best decisions for the entire company are being made."
While at RITA, Reutiman assisted in transitioning the company through its initial public offering and provided key leadership as the sales team grewvia a merger with Horizon Medical Productsto more than 45 reps. Reutiman's prior experience includes sales management positions with CardioThoracic Systems, a division of Guidant Corp. (Indianapolis); and Cordis Corp. (Miami Lakes, FL), a Johnson & Johnson company.
Reutiman holds a BS in business administration from Colorado State University and an MBA from the University of California, Irvine.
John Rooney is vice president of marketing for Terumo Interventional Systems, a division of Terumo Medical Corp. (Somerset, NJ). He oversees the marketing programs for the company's interventional products, including Bead Block, the Glide family of interventional wires and catheters, and the Pinnacle line of introducer sheaths. Rooney is also driving the marketing programs around Terumo's vascular products, as the company regained its distribution from Boston Scientific beginning April 1, 2006.
Rooney has held positions of increasing responsibility in sales, operations, and marketing departments in the medical device, diagnostics, and pharmaceutical fields. Most recently, he was director of marketing at Roche Diagnostics Corp. (Indianapolis), where he was responsible for the direct-to-professional promotion of the Accu-Chek brand of self-monitoring blood glucose products. In addition, he has held sales and marketing management positions at Johnson & Johnson Inc. (New Brunswick, NJ) and Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals, a division of Procter & Gamble Co. (Cincinnati).
Linda Tucci is director of technical and field service for Diagnostic Products Corp. (DPC), a Siemens company, and is based out of Flanders, NJ. She joined DPC six years ago, sharing her 20 years of clinical laboratory experience with her teams in technical and field service, global support, and quality management services.
Tucci's duties include overseeing the daily operation of DPC's service organization, ensuring timely and comprehensive response to the needs of customers and distributors. She establishes strategic initiatives to develop the service organization and meet the objective of providing prompt, personalized service to DPC's customer base, while building a strong team infrastructure to respond to the company's growth in the medical device industry.
Tucci says the emergence of intelligent device management is one of the most significant changes affecting medtech manufacturers in the past five years. "The ability to monitor instruments without the intervention of the customer, while ensuring rapid response to error conditions, is leading the field in service to the customer," she says. "Since we launched our suite of applications called RealTime Solutions, we have seen benefits to both the customer and our organization. Through the data we receive from our instruments, we are able to serve the customer and prevent issues from ever affecting the field. And in the in vitro diagnostics industry, this is key. A company may make a sale, but it is the reagent stream that generates the revenue. In order to build that business, companies have to ensure that the service they provide exceeds customer expectations."
Tucci says that medtech manufacturers should strive to personalize their service to their customer base. "Our philosophy is to partner with our customers and bring them into the conversation of ongoing product development and service support," she says. "We believe that together with our customers we are driving the future of diagnostics."
Marketing and Advertising
Aimee Corso has more than 12 years' experience in healthcare communications. She recently founded the MedAlign Group (Redondo Beach, CA), a healthcare marketing and communications consultancy.
Previously, Corso served as vice president of strategic planning and marketing at St. Vincent Medical Center (Los Angeles), a role in which she oversaw functions of business development, strategic planning, marketing communications, public relations, community and government relations, physician relations, and internal communications. Her key projects at the center included the development of cardiac, neurovascular, and orthopedic service lines, and a joint-venture ambulatory surgical center with the hospital's most important surgical group.
Prior to her work at St. Vincent Medical Center, Corso spent more than 10 years at FischerHealth (Los Angeles), where she was senior vice president and national practice leader of the medical devices and diagnostics practice. During her time with the agency, she acted as chief strategist to senior executives of healthcare companies in the areas of communications and strategic planning, including reputation management, market development, marketing communications, media relations, advertising, Internet strategies, investor relations, crisis communications, and employee communications. Her client roster included both start-up and Fortune 500 medical device companies.
"The most important change in medtech marketing over the past five years has been the imperative to communicate the value of medical technology products in an equation that includes long-term economic value in addition to clinical value," Corso says. "Many companies are putting more thought into how they can support their customers in obtaining reimbursement and developing public relations and marketing programs targeted at payers and policymakers to appropriately position the cost-benefit ratio of their products.
"Medical technology companies will also need to examine how they can get further downstream from their specialist physician customer," she adds. "Many significant medtech innovations are facing market share challenges as the referring physicians at the front line of care fail to send the patient on to specialty referrals."
Corso served as a marketing manager for Centinela Healthcare Network (Inglewood, CA) prior to joining FischerHealth.
A published author and speaker on communications, branding, and consumer education, Corso received a BA in English literature from the University of California at Los Angeles.
Susan K. Hempstead is principal, account services, at Stratagem Healthcare Communications (San Francisco). After working with several of the West Coast's leading healthcare agencies, she founded Stratagem Healthcare Communications with two partners in 1997. In her role as principal, account services, Hempstead provides Stratagem clients with the strategic thinking that leads to increased sales and market share.
"The most important change in medtech marketing over the past five years has been the recognition of the emotional component of a buying decision," Hempstead says. "There has been a move away from focusing solely on technical bells and whistles in marketing communications to incorporating an approach that capitalizes on the emotions that drive a purchase decision.
"Another change has been the adoption of more electronic media in terms of marketing communications materials," she adds. "We are developing many more electronic sales tools versus printed sales tools than we have in the past."
Hempstead has led launches and overseen mature product lines in medical areas that include diagnostics, devices, instrumentation, and pharmaceuticals. She was the first woman president of the Medical Marketing Association and continues to serve on its board of directors.
Holley P. Malia is a medical marketing consultant based in Santa Barbara, CA, with special focus on branding and direct-to-consumer marketing in the medical device arena.
Previously Malia served as the director of global brand management and director of marketing for Allergan Health, a division of Allergan Corp. specializing in obesity interventions. Before joining Allergan, Malia worked in the marketing, advertising, and public relations areas for several publicly traded medical device companies as well as on the agency side, where she gained experience in the consumer goods, hotel and resort, high tech, and insurance industries.
In 2006, Malia was named medical marketer of the year by the Medical Marketing Association for her innovative direct-to-consumer campaign geared to educating patients about a safer, less-invasive weight loss surgery treatment, the Lap-Band System.
"I believe there has been a real surge in direct-to-consumer marketing in the medical device field," Malia says. "It used to be a few pharma ads sprinkled in the programming, but now a large percentage are healthcare related. It is not surprising to me that medical devices could benefit from this tactic as well. It's largely about educating an unaware consumer, whether that is about a disease state or a solution.
"I do think that companies will increase spending in direct-to-consumer marketing, although it will be met with resistance from both the corporation as well as FDA," she adds. "The model is there, but it's not necessarily conventional in the medical device sector."
According to Malia, the greatest untapped marketing resource for medical device manufacturers is the Internet. "You simply have to be in this space if you want to be a player today," she says. "Companies need to have a strong strategy online in addition to the more traditional tactics. It's a natural evolution given society's habits and growth trendsthings like blogs, podcasts, online research, online applicationsit's a natural to extend to healthcare. In general, it's about quicker and easier access to valuable and pertinent information."
Another powerful marketing vehicle is patient testimonies, Malia says. "Celebrity endorsements can be intoxicating but, at the end of the day, I believe patients want to hear from real, everyday people," she says. "This can be effectively utilized in collateral, Web sites, public relations, direct-to-consumer advertising, and other areas. It gives the emotional, human connection to the treatment."
Malia is a graduate of Washington and Lee University (Lexington, VA) and holds a bachelor of science degree in political science and a bachelor of arts degree in studio art.
Mark S. Perlotto is executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Adair-Greene Healthcare Communications (Atlanta), a healthcare marketing and advertising firm.
With more than two decades of healthcare marketing experience, Perlotto provides strategic counsel and ensures the integrity of all agency proposals to new and current clients spanning the medical device, diagnostics, pharmaceutical, and biotech marketplaces. In addition, he directs new business marketing and public relations initiatives for the agency.
Perlotto says one of the most significant changes in medtech marketing over the past five years has been the emergence of multiple influencers in the new product adoption decision process. "In many categories, the age of the exclusively end-user (physician)dominant promotion model is no longer an effective approach," he says. "The successful medical device marketer of today often has to be prepared to address not only the technological attributes of a product, but also demonstrate positive outcomesboth medical and financialfor their product, and be able to deliver those messages in different languages so that they resonate with the multiple constituents, including end-users, payers, patients, and others.
"This is why you have seen the emergence of more experiments with the marketing mix than had been traditionally utilized by medical device marketers," he adds. "From having outcomes data available at launch to direct-to-consumer advertising for replacement joints to product-specific public relations and prelaunch payer reimbursement lobbying for J&J's drug-coated Cypher stent, the changes are significant. It is interesting to note that many of these marketing approaches are being borrowed and adapted from what was traditionally the pharmaceutical marketer playbook. I would expect this trend to continueselectivelyfor products that have the market potential to justify the significant spend level required to effectively deploy such tactics."
According to Perlotto, medical device manufacturers that stay locked into a traditional sales-force-dominant mindset, rather than incorporating other approaches into their promotional marketing mix, will likely find themselves at a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace.
Perlotto first joined Adair-Greene in 1996 as executive director of strategic marketing and new business. During his tenure, he has supervised many of the agency's account teams for both pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers.
Prior to joining Adair-Greene, Perlotto was group product manager for women's health marketing at Solvay Pharmaceuticals (Marietta, GA). Perlotto also spent seven years at Janssen Pharmaceutica (Titusville, NJ), a division of Johnson & Johnson, in various marketing and sales positions and therapeutic areas.
A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Perlotto holds degrees in biology and chemistry.
Jo Seidler is principal, creative services, at Seidler Bernstein Inc. (Cambridge, MA). Prior to founding Seidler Bernstein with Kathleen Bernstein in 1993, Seidler served as creative director of design at LehmanMillet Inc. (Boston). She has more than 20 years of branding and creative direction experience, specializing in healthcare, life sciences, and biotechnology companies.
According to Seidler, the most important change in medtech marketing over the past five years is the realization that manufacturers need to build brands at the company level. "As medtech companies compete with each other, products are just one element of the total value proposition," she says. "In an environment of product feature leapfrogging, multiple decision makers, and a business-to-business sales approach, medtech companies need to create brand value beyond individual products."
Seidler says that branding a company requires an integrated campaign approach. "We need to answer the question, 'Why do business with this company?'" she says. "We work from the emotional wants to the rational needs of the customer. So we might present the compelling emotional benefit in our promotional materials, but back it up with a rational return-on-investment presentation in our education and training pieces. We also encourage a brand education campaign for sales repsclients' first customers.
"The convergence of companieswhether through mergers and acquisitions, comarketing efforts, or patient-directed decisions--will make brand management both critical and more challenging," she adds.
Seidler's work has been nationally recognized by numerous industry organizations, including the Diagnostic Marketing Association, the Global Awards, the Medical Marketing Association, and the Rx Club.
Seidler is a graduate of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and holds a BFA with a concentration in design.
Catherine M. Wolfe is director of marketing services for Toshiba America Medical Systems (Tustin, CA). She is responsible for market research; customer satisfaction tracking and research; public relations including the company's speakers bureau, internal communications, and national account marketing; and pricing.
Wolfe joined Toshiba in 1989 as public relations manager and has more than 20 years' marketing management experience. Wolfe has contributed to the successful promotion of several of Toshiba's leading products, as well as the company's growing reputation and sales in diagnostic imaging.
According to Wolfe, Toshiba has not embraced the recent move toward direct-to-consumer advertising for a couple of different reasons. "We feel strongly that while it is important for patients to be educated about their healthcare, it is not our place to do that," she says. "So we have doubled our efforts to develop programs that help educate and support our customersphysicians, technologists, and healthcare providersin their efforts to provide the best possible care to their patients. We have extensive and some of the best education programs in the industry, including a $6 million expansion of our training academy in Southern California. We have also implemented marketing programs that utilize word-of-mouth marketingsuch as a speakers bureau, continuing medical education conferences, and physician users presenting at conferencesand advertising that focuses on the Toshiba-physician user partnership."
Wolfe says the second reason Toshiba has not moved to direct-to-consumer advertising is because Congress is rebelling as the Medicare budget continues to grow and the percentage of the American gross domestic product spent on healthcare increases. "Direct-to-consumer advertising can build demand for unnecessary procedures, imaging tests, and pharmaceuticals that our healthcare budget will not be able to support over the long term, and do nothing to improve outcomes," she says.
According to Wolfe, the most important marketing-related challenge to address in the coming year will be translating for customers what the changes that come with the Deficit Reduction Act and other Medicare reimbursement decreases mean to their businesses and their ability to provide care for patients. "In line with that is developing a balanced strategy between educating the public and Congress at large about the value of imaging without encouraging unnecessary overuse of the specialty," she says.
Wolfe has been published in a variety of publications, including MX and Public Relations Journal. In July 2005, OC Metro magazine featured her in their cover story on corporate life. Wolfe has also spoken at industry conferences on customer relationship management.
Wolfe's educational background includes a bachelor's degree in communications from California State University, Fullerton, and a master's degree in organizational leadership from Chapman University (Orange, CA). Wolfe is also an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America.
She spends her spare time working with a variety of charitable organizations and is currently the marketing chair for the Children's Hospital of Orange County Padrinos board of directors.
MX looks forward to the contributions of these editorial advisers, as well as those who have been announced in previous issues throughout 2006.