The U.S. is the largest medical device market globally with a market size of about $140 billion. The U.S. market represented about 40% of the global medical device market in 2015. According to the most recent Economic Census, the sector is comprised of just 5,800 organizations. (Source: Select USA.)

No wonder everyone is obsessed with competitive edge!

In Edge Strategy: A New Mindset for Profitable Growth, Authors Alan Lewis and Dan McKone lay out a two-part plan that describes the structure of the edge strategy then applies it to common organizational challenges. Highlights of the book, outlined below, will inspire the marketing team to consider competitive edge in a new light and be more proactive about competing.

What is the Edge Effect? First coined by environmentalist Aldo Leopold in the 1930s, the term refers to the fact that “a greater diversity and abundance of species” occurs precisely where ecosystems overlap, or catch an edge over one another. Hence, “90% of marine species live within the 10% of ocean nearest the shore.”

Just as in nature, the same is true in business. There is an “opportunity between things,” particularly in three areas:

Within the boundary where the organization and customers come together, or the place where the core offering is sold. Consider these questions around this area:

  1. What customer needs have not yet been identified or addressed in this interaction?
  2. What opportunities does the marketing department have for serving these needs?

Example: While top-quality 3D imaging is one organization’s core offering, they are also highly reputable for their commitment to support and service, as shown by survey data. Based upon these findings, the organization more prominently incorporated support and service into its brand and marketing messaging. While competitors come close to the level of precision and clarity offered by the device itself, they can’t hold a candle to the support and service for which this organization is known.

At the places where the customer relationship begins and ends.

  1. How long is the average customer relationship?
  2. How could the beginning of the relationship be slightly modified for stronger competitive edge?
  3. How could the end of the relationship be slightly modified for stronger competitive edge?

Example: One organization conducted an audit of the customer experience in the first weeks of the relationship, from time of engagement to the three-month mark. Among other indicators, data from the study showed that customers needed added support integrating the device into the patient conversation. By focusing efforts on resolving this issue and others revealed in the study, the organization strengthened its relationships with new customers, stood out among competitors and more speedily gained trust and referrals.

Within all of the tangible and intangible assets that define the organization.

  1. What are the marketing department’s core assets?
  2. What core assets are missing?
  3. Waht are the non-core assets?
  4. How might the resources that go into maintaining non-core assets be re-leveraged into existing or new core assets that will bring higher competitive edge?

Example: For one organization, the social media asset intranet is not defined as a core asset, but the media library of stock images is. The marketing department suspended work on the former, focused on the latter and thereby streamlined time and budget spent placing compelling images in marketing materials. Faster to market with every project, the competitive edge soared.

While the book is written for organization-wide profitability, the marketing team packs the power to impact the bottom line simply by exploring these three areas of opportunity.