In an interview with marketing automation specialists Marketo, Stephanie Meyer, who not long ago headed up marketing at GE, challenged the status quo on B2B versus B2C marketing:

“It’s not about B2B, or B2C,” she offered. “It’s about B2 Human. It’s about how we engage with our customers in deep, relevant and varied ways.”

B2B marketing efforts may be developed for “physicians” or “investors,” B2C for “patients.” The trouble is, that assumes all physicians, investors or patients have similar desires, needs, motivators, budgets, goals – the list goes on ad nauseam.

In fact, individuals consuming marketing campaigns in the Digital Age demand that brands explore and satisfy their personalized needs. This is precisely why our smartphones have updates: after gathering research about our individual preferences, the devices offer updates to minimize undesired features and maximize desired ones.

In a perfect world, brands would have access to that level of data, and in time they just may with the future of wearable medical devices.

Meantime, the most sophisticated medical device brands do all they can to gather and rapidly disseminate data to deliver the individualized messages the people demand. Here are 3 ways they do just that:

  1. Develop a Brand Persona. People befriend people, not brands. Brand persona development is all about personifying the brand to attract and build relationships. It is always created as an outcome of target market research. After surveying the referring physicians of one medical device brand, the brand persona was defined as:
  • 34-year-old male
  • Sharp
  • Classy
  • Sleek
  • Edgy
  • Stylish
  • Precise
  • Drives a luxury vehicle
  • Values high performance

All marketing materials embody this brand persona, taking the guesswork out of how best to inspire the target audience to act.

  1. Complete Target Market Research. The goal is, of course, to capture the voice of the customer. This goes way beyond light or occasional demographic research or a handful of focus groups. This is about downloading the most current mindshare of the best customers, whether that is from patients, physicians, a different group or a combination of several groups. By asking those who are already married to the brand questions like, “What do you like best?” and “How does this medical device make life easier?” storytelling marketing at its finest is born. Verbatim responses build upon existing brand messaging to bring the story to life. Survey respondents’ peers become prospects when they recognize their own values reflected in the brand. Brand loyalty soars as the messaging becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  2. Measure Differently. Rather than focusing solely on analytics, survey on a regular basis to truly understand the impact of your marketing efforts. Clicks and conversions tell one story, but only a human being can articulate, “I clicked on the ad, but the landing page didn’t answer my question.” Quantitative data tells part of the story, but only with qualitative data can we marketers do our best to respond and adjust to prospects’ wishes.

Certainly, each of these steps can be tailored to patients, clinics, hospitals, investors or stakeholders. In the old days, we called it B2B or B2C marketing. Today, as Meyer so simply said, marketing is about people, not about mass groups. Fine tune the marketing strategy to meet the desires and needs of the people whose lives the medical device transforms and watch results skyrocket.