The healthcare industry is transforming. Rapidly. Significantly. Powerfully.

medical device lab associates

As I type this, yet another shift is probably happening. And it’s happening because consumers and customers (patients and healthcare providers) are now calling the shots­—to get exactly what they want, when they want it, where they are, from brands they trust. And as technology continues to evolve, so, too, do customer needs—and demands.

So it’s not surprising that medical device and diagnostics companies are getting on board. And if they’re not, they’re being not-so-gently encouraged to do so, with articles like, “Why Medtech Needs to Change or Die.” No pressure there.

But duly noted. So how must they change—or continue to change? And what does that mean for medical device and diagnostics marketing?

Become an everything partner

The days of selling a simple thing are over. People want more—in the form of relationships, connectivity, knowledge, and experiences. They want companies to make their lives easier and better. Which means it’s not enough to simply be a device supplier.

The medical device and diagnostics companies thriving in today’s marketplace are expanding their offerings to include services, training, education, and partnership. According to an August 2016 report by PwC, Beyond the device: From producer to problem solver, “medical device and diagnostics companies are serving as enablers, reaching across the ecosystem to offer services that engage patients in real-time, improve physician performance and demonstrate value beyond any one device, diagnostic or technology.”

That means data and analytics, too

In addition to services and training, the devices themselves are shifting—again in response to customer needs. “Making an effective device alone just won’t cut it without the added value of data or connectivity,” according to Pulse of the industry, a 2015 Ernst & Young report.

Even more than smart devices, device and diagnostics companies must also provide data management and analytics. In fact, healthcare providers are demanding it. “Data and information that document and analyze the delivery of healthcare has become as important to health systems…as the devices and technology used to diagnose and treat patients,” says the PwC report.

So what does all of this mean for marketers?

Quite simply, as the industry changes, so does our approach. The way that we tell company stories is moving beyond features and benefits—elevating the message to connect with healthcare providers and patients on a more human, emotional level.

Product imagery is being replaced with people—authentic people in real-life settings and situations—while messaging includes more words like we, us, together, and partner, to communicate the level of partnership that device and diagnostics companies are aiming to achieve with healthcare systems.

For healthcare providers, the focus is on more insights—better, faster, more accurate—that make their jobs easier and allow them to attend to the people who matter most: their patients. And for patients, it’s all about premium care, every step of the way, so that they can get the help they need, even before they need it.

And of course, the media and channels we use to market to patients and healthcare providers is changing as well, to reach them where they are, in more authentic ways.

What will our next move be?

As device and diagnostics companies move beyond the device, as they expand their services and offerings (or die!) and transform from producers to problem solvers, marketers must move, too. Rapidly. Significantly. Powerfully.

We must work harder to uncover new insights—insights that will truly resonate—and take advantage of every new tool available to us. We must push device and diagnostics companies out of their comfort zones, challenging them to tell their stories in bold new ways, using bold new methods, all while maintaining a strategic focus. This is how we’ll help them see and realize what’s possible. This is how, together, we’ll succeed.

Are you ready?

It seems there is an app for everything these days… Could an app for brand strategy be next?

Read more on why we are certain that branding will always be a human endeavor—by humans, for humans.