Drive Innovation in Medical Devices

As healthcare marketers, we need to understand the idea that the future of business is digital. The key to understanding: We see a convergence of multiple forces from outside the healthcare industry that are coming at an increased velocity. Disruption, technology, social media, and customer changing attitudes towards companies have all created an environment in which customer and competitive change is happening much more quickly and having a bigger impact than ever before. This pressure is leading to increased demand for more innovation and the unique customer insights that fuels innovation.

All patients have different lifestyles, behaviors, and beliefs; using deep insights and understanding the unmet needs of customers is the definition of innovation. Most market research departments in medical device companies face many challenges and pressures. It appears many organizations are slow to evolve and use new technologies while demand increases for new insights versus running lengthy and costly traditional market research projects. Not to mention that resources are overloaded and budgets are not growing as fast as the business demands for insights. All this contributes to building pressure on market research departments to prove their value.

Declining Satisfaction with Research and Insights

In today’s disruptive environment, internal stakeholders need faster, more agile insights. In many cases, the separate activities of market research, competitive intelligence, and market insights have become fragmented departments that are not working together to deliver proactive insights to drive business decisions. The investments delivering market research, competitive intelligence, and external market insights are often not resulting in better products, customer experiences, or insights. Meanwhile, overall satisfaction with research and insights is declining and facing critical issues. Among them, declining resources; lack of measurable impact on product development and new opportunity evaluation; lack of visibility into business decisions; and siloes of information.

Forward-thinking medical device companies must take steps to move their organization forward and shift their research from: Reactive to proactive; research to insights; high cost to lower cost; cost center to business value; and inconsistent to consistent.

Build a Customer Insights Engine

In order to build an insights engine organization, first align market research and insights to your business objectives, resources, and strategy for the organization. Secondly, implement a training program to raise organizational IQ on next-generation research methodologies. Third, begin to shift to more agile, lower cost behavioral data and insights, e.g. online panels, big data analysis, and customer journey development. Finally, implement measurement to ensure continuous feedback.

A few benefits of shifting to this new approach for customer insights include: Cost savings; standardization of insights; governance and best practices; and expertise easily accessed across the business.

To survive and thrive today, medical device companies must evolve their market research beyond a cost center. They must focus on integration with business, alignment with organizational goals, and become business enablers and a strategic partner by overcoming challenges: Translate research into insights with recommendations; evolve beyond librarians by partnering with stakeholders; and deliver insights to relevant stakeholders in a smart, appealing, timely, and easy-to-digest way

Finally, to build a customer insights engine, seek an executive mandate. After all, not many executive teams will argue against better, faster information that leads to more innovation opportunities.

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