Today I read an article on the Boston Globe site about medical device manufacturers following the lead of pharmas by increasing their spending on direct-to-consumer marketing of their products. DTC advertising for medical devices is expected to reach $50M for 2004, up from next to nothing when it first started in 1996. The article mentions two medical device manufacturers that are successfully implementing DTC marketing programs; J&J for their Cypher stents and Zoll Medical for their line of automated external defibrillators.
Interestingly, through my own work I'm quite familiar with the Zoll Medical marketing program. FirstRanked recently performed an extensive search engine marketing campaign for Philips Medical Systems' "HeartStart" line of automated external defibrillators, a direct competitor to the Zoll product. We designed the marketing program to target patient keyword searches for condition-specific information relating to sudden cardiac arrest and associated symptoms in order to increase awareness of the HeartStart AED as a treatment option. The HeartStart search engine program was a resounding success, increasing Philips' product inquires for the device significantly over the course of just a few months.
Based on our own and other companies successful experiences in medical device DTC advertising I anticipate a bright future for consumer device marketing.
Medical Marketing: Device Makers Target Consumers With Their Ads