Effective Marketing Strategies for Brand Visibility in the Global Medical Equipment Space

Effective Marketing Strategies for Brand Visibility in the Global Medical Equipment Space

Ozge Sagiroglu, Head - Marketing & Distributor Excellence, Elekta, 0

Ozge is a seasoned MedTech professional with over two decades of experience across sales, marketing, channel management, commercial operations, pricing, and market positioning areas. Prior to joining Elekta in 2018, she has successfully handled key responsibilities across companies such as Radiometer, GE Healthcare and Siemens Healthineers, to name a few.

Which innovative marketing strategies yield significant impact in today’s market domain scenario?
Since we operate in emerging markets, we have two important strategic initiatives from a marketing perspective. The first one deals with expanding the market. While most countries in Africa have a scarcity of efficient radiotherapy systems, the Asia-Pacific region and India are considered somewhat more mature in this regard. In regions lacking radiotherapy and adequate cancer treatment facilities, our initial approach involves educating the intended clientele and establishing a structured market. The secondary marketing strategy is to develop countries such as Turkey, India and other Asian-Pacific countries which already have knowledge of radiation therapy and some cancer treatment devices. Here, we are expanding the market or introducing new technologies in cancer treatment which will increase the survival rate of the cancer patients.

We cannot implement the same strategy across all countries, of course. Therefore, we first prioritize according to the needs, number of cancer cases and total population of each market, and we look at existing radiation therapy and other cancer treatment options. Then we select the most suitable go-to-market strategy for that particular region.

How do you keep your marketing strategies aligned with varying customer requirements?
We use a wide variety of marketing activities to reach our target customers, which indirectly also includes patients. People with cancer or brain disease are increasingly becoming aware and interested in the treatment that they’re receiving. They do a lot of prior research, trying to find the best hospital equipped with the latest technologies. But our main customers are those who use our hardware and software: hospitals, radiation oncologists and radiotherapy technicians.

To remain competitive, we manufacture new technologies and solutions that will improve the workflow of clinicians and the outcomes of their patients. But we first try to understand the challenges and needs of our customers, the needs of the market, and to identify patients’ expectations. Thereafter, we invest in R&D and develop new technologies accordingly.
Could you highlight a few recent technological advancements you have witnessed in the industry?
In the medical technology industry, innovation is occurring much faster within the area of software than hardware. This is where we are creating a difference, considering software as a critical part of healthcare systems. But we’re seeing great momentum in in the adoption of MR-guided radiation therapy (MR-Linacs), and Elekta has innovated software that can continuously calculate the movement of the tumor anywhere in the body and account for it automatically. This is called Comprehensive Motion Management (CMM) with True Tracking and automatic gating. In addition, advanced clinical software systems can increase the treatment quality and reliability.

When approaching international markets, how do you navigate through the cultural nuances in those regions?
Since we operate in a region that is home to a wide variety of cultures, we understand the demographic and cultural details of the region before we engage in any marketing activity there. For example, in countries where there is still no meaningful penetration of digital marketing, we prefer face-to-face marketing activities. Similarly, in countries where digital marketing has significant penetration, we focus primarily on digital activities such as webinars. We are very sensitive and careful about the cultural differences because a 'one-size-fits-all' approach doesn't work in today’s dynamic market scenario across the globe.

Companies must also keep in mind the seasonal peak points across each region and accordingly plan their critical business activities such as distribution, marketing and many others.

How should companies make their distribution network adaptable to seasonal shifts in various markets?
At the beginning of each financial year, organizations should prepare a plan for each country for all the important activities for that particular year. Companies must also keep in mind the seasonal peak points across each region and plan their critical business activities such as distribution, marketing, etc. accordingly.

In your view, how is the future of medical equipment manufacturing evolving? What advice would you offer leaders in similar manufacturing areas?
We are witnessing a heightened awareness among patients about various medical technologies and treatments. As a result, it is important educate them on new solutions and their benefits before they are presented with their treatment plans. This will also increase the patients’ involvement with the healthcare ecosystem and make them feel more in control. Also, it is paramount for any entity wanting to enter into the medical equipment market to have a very strong R&D team and access to the latest technologies. Additionally, you must have strong software systems in place to increase the efficiency of the treatments by leveraging advanced technologies such as AI.

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