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10 min reading time
At the Digital Marketing for Medical Devices Conference in Minneapolis (July 31, 2012), we discussed industry trends regarding medical device marketing. Below is part one of the hour-long panel and corresponding transcript.
The first question relates to the ROI of social media for medical device companies.
Let us know in the comments which points resonated most with you.
Joe: I would like to just thank everyone for coming down today and to start with Mike for short introductions, for them to tell you a little about their backgrounds and then we will get into some questions that have been already asked. I’ll ask the panelists if they’ll have time for additional questions from the audience that didn’t have a chance to submit to the panel. So Mike, if you’d introduce yourself.
Mike: Thanks. Can everyone hear me? So my name is Mike Lamberson. I’m with Johnson & Johnson and my job is primarily on the healthcare professional side, I’ve been with … I’ve been in the healthcare industry about 15 years. I’ve worked in everything from the large companies to small start-ups, and I’m happy to be here. A couple of things that I think about are the acumen of digital is very different in, and at least my organization and I think a lot of others out there versus this room. So that’s one thing I think about is how to raise that level of acumen. And, I’m really here to learn a lot about that.
Joe: And, I’d like to add this for the remaining panelists in our group. We are grateful that you came to share a lot of knowledge but surely there’s something that, you know, when you meet people in the hall afterward, you would love if they asked you about, something you’d like to get out of it, and you would like to just learn from everyone in the room … that collective knowledge. So … Line.
Line: Yes, so my name is Line Berg Østergaard I come from Denmark, so that’s the reason for the weird name. I live currently in Switzerland and there I work for CIMA, I’m the head of Global Digital Marketing Team. I’m passionate about digital and social, very much indeed. I think the, what I’m looking mostly forward for, for this conference is really that we as you know, collective peers in the industry, work together, collaborate quickly to, to resolve some of the issues we are all facing. So I’m looking for some challenging questions and also fruitful conversations.
Joe: Thank you. Kelly?
Kelly: Hi I’m Kelly Myers and I am CEO of QFORMA. I’m from Southwestern Denmark, otherwise known as Texas. (Laughter)
QFORMA is an analytics and predictive modeling company. We focus our analytics on understanding how people can interact in and around healthcare decisions, payors, providers and patients. And our passion is finding ways to kind of turn data into wisdom, something you can use and react to.
Joe: I just have to quickly add Kelly has had the opportunity to feed 49 other families by founding his company, so I personally appreciate that, Gail.
Gail: I’m Gail McDaniel. I’m from Cook Medical which is in Bloomington, Indiana. It’s not very far from Denmark, in fact I broke my arm there just last October. I started Cook Social Media efforts, I do their LinkedIn pages; I handle their twitter accounts and various other social media events. I also am very involved with our advertising promotions, of inventory and compliance programs and doing training for various marketing staffs in that arena.
And now I’m taking a new digital role in, I’m the first digital person that’s embedded in one of the Cook’s business units. So when I go back I’m going to start doing whole new programs for, on a, specifically for our business unit. I’m looking forward to that.
Joe: Thank you Gail. You’ve all met Greg. Care to add anything?
Greg: I just sort of – [inaudible] [0:03:39] at Boston Scientific focused on our core business. So we tend to be pretty lean and medium to large heavy and that’s where you find a lot of us focusing on the I-O-SEPPS.
Joe: Thank you Greg. Jitesh?
Jitesh: Hi my name is Jitesh Rohatgi, I’m actually responsible for Product Strategy and Innovation Cegedim Relationship Management. And you know I would actually a tack on Matt’s session from this morning and then remind everybody of two things which is that, one who has – that he wanted to say that technology should not be the goal which would be an enabler and I also wanted to point out the fact that somebody mentioned that he is now on the dark side, that he is in sales. So what Cegedim Relationship Management tries to do is that, we try to do two things: we try to be an enabler for the technology so that you can do your job better or whatever you need to do.
We do B2B, you know discussions around digital profiling knowing what Facebook, Twitter or how the doctors are doing, B2CRM for medical device. And therefore we are trying to bridge the gap between the general and [indiscernible] [0:04:50] (Laughter). And basically you know again, in my perspective, it’s key for me to understand from this conference, that what can I do to make your job easier. Right, so I’m trying to learn what you guys do and what we can do better to make it easier if you’re asked what do you do.
Joe: Thank you. So the first question is one that probably most of us have had to field one time or another. It is one that I’ve heard already heard half a dozen times.
Tell me about our ROI. We bought in to social media! We get it! We should talk … and the conversation … I believe!
But my CFO wants to know, what am I going to get back for it? Line, would you start?
Line: Yeah, I would love to. So I think we’ve already had quite a number of good examples today. People who managed to grab their arms around ROI.
I’d like to kind of start up with saying people need to stop saying you know, “It’s not possible” and think how it’s possible. And I have three ideas to how we could have approach it.
Of course there is the what I call the old school stats, visits or you know, or increase of visits over time, in usage over time if you look at that you know, maybe even compare it with other data you know from how the business is doing and start doing some likelihoods of how we do how do and impact.
Then I looked at the modern core value so here it would be looking into the sentiment, to really tap into social media. What is the sentiment that’s being said about what we are doing? You know, also, you know looking into that whole, how valuable do you think that it’s – it’s more a softer measure.
And then the time spent using our digital tools, assets, what we do. And then finally which I think we don’t, at Zimmer, to do enough of, but that’s something we are going to focus on more especially after some tips from today’s the whole link to impact marketing. I think especially the guys from Medtronic are doing that very well and I’m happy that Matt could join us. They do that pretty well, so hopefully in the future will be doing that better.
Joe: Gail, you look like you’ve got something.
Gail: At Cook, we look at ROO, the ROO rather than the ROI.
When I say ROO it’s the Return On Objective. Before we start a digital program, or any kind of program that involves whatsoever and whatever, we like to sit down and actually come up with the objectives that we want to measure. What we, what we, what we want out of the program and so then we have something that is tangible.
You know it’s really hard in the medical device world, and especially when you’re dealing with purchasing organizations and you’re dealing with purchasing units. And to figure what you do you do to actually affect the sale. So it’s much easier to say, “Okay, we wanted to reach 5,000 people in an XYZ community or the area or medical especially, did we meet that goal?”
So we’ve had taken that same ROI and looked at it in a different way. And we’re also just getting ready to start a new program and its focused much more on lifetime customer value which is the same kind of program that works in lots of industries as far as direct marketing goes but it’s actually looking at “Which one of our customers are actually bringing the most to the table?” so that we may be able to balance the effectiveness a little. We may be able to, to allocate more resources to that particular segment. That I’ll report back later, next year on that and see how that worked out for us because it’s kind of a difficult assignment but I think we can, I think we can be able to work it out.
Joe: I have a few thoughts on this myself, but instead of having them I’ll instigate and ask the room, for those of you who’ve had this conversation with some financial type who wants to know the answer to what’s the ROI, have you heard anything you could actually tell your CFO?
You did? Okay. ROO? Yes. How many of you were somewhat unsatisfied? And don’t feel ready against the ROI question. Okay, a few hands.
So, what any of you on the panel? Okay that was nice, sorry, the instigator. But really I would want to know, “What’s my payback on this thing?” Where do you go?
Mike: Yeah. I don’t have a good, a good answer for that. I think we are all struggling with what I’ve seen … The higher up the management structure that you go … You could get a lot further down the path by having, again, there are acumen at a higher level. So there is a lot of [inaudible] [0:10:01] swoosh programs about them and say “What’s the ROI on that, on that equity ad we did five years ago? They are not going to answer. So I think a lot of it is the resistance to really understand like what if someone wants to set up a brand Facebook page first thing they are going to say “Why would we do that?”
My kids use that, how is that going to help me grow my sales? So I think a lot of it is just getting their understanding up to a higher level of what some of these tactics are. And then you can actually start having the conversation, keep going with the pure mathematical equation and they are going to rip you apart. That’s just my advice.
Line: I tend to agree with that and that’s why– I know when I was saying was a bit fluffy and not accrued but at the end of the day we can’t look at what we are trying to do with the traditional– we spend this amount of dollars and then we gain this amount of revenue to the business. We have to start timing up with, metrics that matter in different ways especially when it comes to the social media parts. And we can’t just say, “Well we had this many people talk about us, so therefore we gain one more million US dollars to the company.”
Jitesh: You know, I’m going to maybe just ask the question that is everywhere, you know, I am playing [Joe’s] role [as instigator] as well as my own.
Is the ROI the only question that can be asked of you as we go? I was thinking if we go talk to the management and tell them, “What’s the cost of not being on Facebook or not being on Twitter?”
And you don’t have the brand awareness that some of the competition is definitely trying to have it and does that help, that is on a little bit as well. Anybody of you who has some thoughts?
Greg: I always look at the little bit the way that we look at NPV which, you remember how this perfect information looking forward just like that, it’s actually very difficult. Like it’s, especially if you are talking in multi … your strategy has multiple touch points. Which of these things actually move the needle?
So just think it’s hard to look forward with perfect information. It’s actually quite difficult often times to look backwards with perfect information. So acknowledging that, unless you must have a strategy that you fire up a message and somebody immediately acts on it, which doesn’t apply to most folks, I think having a comprehensive way of looking at your investment ROI otherwise it should be one of those tools but you should be thinking about other pillars. I think we which one of our objectives is perhaps one way to look at it.
But specifying in advance how are we going to measure the success of our program and what are going to be those touch points. And having more of a nuanced view of getting that up front. That’s the correct way of looking at things because I don’t know it will ever get the numbers to be as clear as you want.
Gail: I’m just going to add on another thought to this too. Back in the old days which I came from, people used to—we used to run print ads all the time. How many ever ask you how you depend on the ROI on print ads that you run?
Probably not very often and the thing is, is that when we have, we go to the digital space for the very first time and we really have analytics and we have tools that can measure what we are actually doing.
And just starting off at that point of measuring even if it’s elementary and just saying, “Alright this is how many people click through on something.” You know that’s the data that we never had before and we hadn’t had. And so going to the extent of having proof, push the needle or not, we just start off at the very beginning of that … two steps ahead than where we were 20 years ago.
Greg: [Inaudible] [0:13:52] anyone who is doing the thing like an A/B test where you say you evidently, Eastern Mississippi you must get the package, West of Mississippi they get nothing and look at the results. Is anyone trying to do something like that or …?
Joe: I don’t know how you do that online.
Audience: Okay, we do some geo targeting like that and we are basically just looking at interactions and then therefore do those interactions, open up new doors and new relationships to us as a company.
And for us that is the ROI on the social media and then whether or not the sales rep can actually pick up that relationship and cultivate it and turn it into a sale would be the second-order consequence of that relationship.
Greg: Does that help you determine your future investments?
Gail: I think that’s much easier to do when you’re working with the consumer audience than when you’re working on the physicians’ side of thing.
Line: I would agree but I think we also tend to become much better with time and just kind of have just morning presentation around sales and marketing as tiny mails, things much closer. For example, checking what people do on the website and going to the CRM system, measure how they fill that into their sales plan. They put an estimate on it.
And again I know it’s not because of that action on the website there they have sales. But at least start to, much more justified that its connected, I don’t know if they will want to try get to a point where we can say like we bring money, you should have this and that.
Joe: Well I have two roles, I get to ring the chimes and I get to keep us moving. So, I’m sure we have a lot more on that. I know I have a few thoughts on that.
Male: We have got one more question in here actually, okay.
Audience: It was just more of an answer or a comment that, going back to again, that these are all tools so rather than “Does Facebook make us money?” it’s more using a spectrum of ways from the very specific. Like some of them will do a Facebook-only campaign and see how many leads we get from it. Or sometimes we will ask questions “Where did you hear about it?” or “Are you even on it?” so that’s on the middle of information.
And then the very far weak end is, I suppose, is just like spending money to pay a person to talk about your product. Just you don’t have any direct correlation; I gave him $10,000 to talk and how many sales we get. So it’s using the tool for a very specific leading information or we have a very soft…
Joe: Thank you, I’ve had, myself personally, I kind of dislike the word, the term ‘social media.’ It sounds very … ‘that thing.’
I ask, “What’s the value of being found?” And social is just the way to amplify your message.
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