Unique value proposition in MedTech, why can't we do it right?

Your unique value proposition is the core of your sales and marketing and yet, what most companies are pushing is neither unique nor about value. This problem is not unique to MedTech, it seems to be prevalent in all industries where the marketing is mostly traditional.

In this article, we explore how buyers have changed in the last 2 decades, leaving MedTech companies unfit to compete for buyers’ attention, and how we can adapt.
If you’ve been in this industry for more than 20 minutes, you’ve probably heard that the healthcare industry has changed and that hospitals and doctors are not looking for solutions anymore, that they are out of money, etc.

While this might be true, it is also true for the clients of most industries and yet, some are thriving. So what has changed, and how do they thrive?

Let’s start with what has changed.

Marketing has evolved drastically:
We used to have more control on the level of marketing we consumed and that exploded when the internet became widespread and the smartphone later arrived.
You want to see your friends' pictures, ad, you want to connect with a potential partner, ad, you want to watch the instruction video for your new dishwasher, ad.

We are now exposed to more than 10,000 ads per day, 4 times more than 20 years ago.

So what did companies do to stand out? They adapted with better messages, more targeted than ever. Targeting is the root of value since the value of anything only exists in the eyes of someone. This way successful companies were able to articulate clearly to buyers how they would get value by purchasing their product. And we loved it so much that we stopped being able to translate features into value, relying on companies or third parties to tell us the value.

Thanks to our recent change toward app and software, we also got a taste of near-perfect ease of use. Two decades ago, when we did not have updates rolled out every few days, we accepted the flaws of technology and learned to cope with them.
You bought a device, it worked okay, you hoped that the next generation would not have the same problems. Nowadays, if a problem is big enough, updates need to be done in a hurry to avoid seeing customers choose another option.

You can add companies’ focus on customer satisfaction, our ability to complain about literally any feature, and have our reviews seen by the entire world. You probably heard that a happy customer tells one other person about their experience and an unhappy one tells ten. With Google Reviews, Yelp, Amazon, etc., the scope of product advocacy grew exponentially, to a point that we rarely make a decision without looking at reviews.

So companies learned to put the customer at the center of their strategy, seeing their product only as a means to satisfy their customers’ needs, delivering better and better customer experience, and fixing issues faster than ever.

And where do we stand in the MedTech?

Message about the customer? No, not in 95+% of the companies.

Focus on customer experience? Absolute no.

Getting customer feedback? Not really, usually focused on clinical results.

You are not to blame, it used to be possible to enter the #healthcare system by simply showing safety and a combination of better patient outcomes and lower costs. So the focus stayed on this for many years, unfortunately, the days where this simple strategy worked are over.

So what is today’s reality? Hospitals are saturated with technologies. Healthcare costs are exploding. Healthcare professionals do not have time. Existing technologies are delivering great care for most conditions.

And mostly, the majority of innovations are incremental with only marginal improvement. So how do you get your product accepted?

With a clear unique value proposition, that is unique and provides real value to your customers.

How to create the unique value proposition

The first step is to understand your potential customers:

What is their reality, what do they want to accomplish, what matters the most to them, what do they love, what do they hate, what frustrates them in their work, and so on.

If your product can make their life better, this is the value that you bring to them.

  • If they find the current options complicated and yours is not → Value
  • If they find the wire on current options annoying and yours is wireless → Value
  • If the size of current options does not matter and you have a miniaturized option → Not Value

Once you figure out what value you offer and that you are the only one who offers it, this is your unique value proposition. Make sure that you stress the value and not the feature. Really convincing messaging is about the potential buyer’s reality and emotions, not your product.

Keep in mind, buyers have a hard time translating features into value, this is not their task to do so, it is your task.

Making sure your unique value proposition is unique is important, but not as relevant. As you engage in discussions with HCPs and figure out what you can bring to them that they are missing, it will become obvious that the answer to this question is not already offered by someone else. If you know that another company has a product offering the same but no one is aware of it, then don’t worry about the uniqueness of this value proposition.
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