“But the power of science lies in open publication, which, with the rise of the Internet, is no longer constrained by the price of paper.” – Michael Shermer
Rapid acceptance of new concepts and innovative medical procedures in the marketplace is key to the successful commercialization of novel medical technologies. One of the most productive avenues for fostering the early adoption of new technologies is through a comprehensive “publication” strategy. I use the word “publication” in quotes since this term no longer simply means an article which appears in a highly respected medical journal. In fact, a company whose publication strategy is dependent on a publication in one of these journals (e.g. NEJM, JAMA) is destined to be on the slow boat to China relative to the timing of the adoption of their technology.
As a result of the highly differentiated manner in which physicians and other healthcare professionals receive scientific information about new medical technologies as a result of the shift to the internet, mobile devices, and other technologies, the reliance of the time honored “reprint” to communicate late-breaking medical information is becoming obselete. Don’t take me wrong, there is a role for building the acceptance of your technology via the submission of a manuscript to a leading publication in the field of medicine where the product will be used…you just need to fill in the blank period prior to the long process of getting the authors to write, review and agree on a manuscript for submission, submit the manuscript, go through review process (which may require multiple rounds of editing by the authors), final acceptance, and then publication. Fortunately, now that many journals publish papers online in advance of print, the above timeline has now been shortened a bit.
Medical and Scientific Meetings
One of the most important venues for communicating early information about new concepts and medical technologies are scientific meetings. These come in all shapes and sizes, and importantly, for most medical fields, there is no lack of potential meetings to have data on your technology to be presented at. The key is to identify which of these meetings your target customer groups attend. Once you have identified these meetings, develop a meeting calendar which lists potential meetings to target for the next 18 months and then identify the deadline for abstract submission for each of these meetings. This is a very important step since this deadline is often 6 to 9 months prior to the meeting date (allowing sufficient time for the abstracts to undergo peer review).
Never submit the data to just one meeting! Most meetings stipulate that data can be submitted as long as it hasn’t been published. If the meeting does not allow abstracts which report on data that has been submitted to another meeting, identify opportunities to report on a sub-analysis of the data or on a different end-point(s) based on an analysis of the same data set. The more meetings you have data presented at, the more exposure your technology receives. Some meetings allow for “late breaking” abstract submissions based on recently completed studies….look for these since they offer an even greater level of exposure for your technology.
When submitting an abstract, always select the option for the abstract to be accepted as either an oral presentation or a poster. While a poster is less prestigious, it does afford an opportunity to leverage the fact that the data has been accepted at a meeting. Also look for opportunities where acceptance of an abstract at a meeting means the automatic ability to submit a manuscript based on the data presented to the society’s speciality journal. This often represents a short cut to publishing the data.
When identifying who to list as authors on an abstract, it is important to avoid listing someone from your company as an author whenever possible. While this may not sit well with some of your colleagues, it does allow for a more credible abstract submission. Since when is it more important that a company employee achieve some sort of personal glory by having their name on the abstract as opposed to doing something that is in the company’s best interest, namely, removing the specter of having a commercial sponsor as a co-author? The latter creates all sorts of issues from a perception perspective.
Finally, always look for opportunities to imbed a discussion of your technology within review talks given during plenary sessions at meetings. This is especially true if the individual giving a related talk was a co-investigator for one of your studies or is someone who is amenable to communicating information on “what’s new” in their field as a part of their presentation. Use your meeting calender to identify when the final agenda for meetings will be published, and then once the final agenda is published, review it to identify opportunities to implement the above strategy.
What’s the Buzz?
Why is the above so important? Data on a new technology presented at a scientific meeting creates “buzz”. If you pick the appropriate meetings to submit abstracts, your target audience will be there. Especially the early adopters…those customers who are more likely to use your technology in the early lauch period. This customer group typically doesn’t need an overwhelming about of scientific data to try a new technology. Also, having data presented at scientific meetings, either as an oral presentation or as a poster, is a public relations opportunity which can be the focus of a press release thus allowing you to leverage and build on the information presented at the meeting. This can lead to the press release (and the story) to be picked up by many 3rd party individuals who can in turn communicate this information through their own vehicles to your target customer group, investors, and other interested parties. Finally, with the advent of blogging, Twitter, and other social media outlets, meeting attendees and other reporting on what’s new at these meetings may offer valuable 3rd party endorsements for either the concept you are trying to communciate or the novelness of your technology.
Check out our White Papers
Medical Technology Insights is an ongoing series of white papers developed by The Atticus Group addressing key topics of interest to companies developing and commercializing novel medical technologies.
Volume 1, Number 1 – October 2016
Avoiding a False Start: Marketing Tips for the Successful Commercialization of Novel Medical Devices
A failed product launch can be disastrous, both financially and to the reputation of the brand. The development and timely execution of a comprehensive strategic launch plan is required for the successful commercialization of new medical technologies. In this paper we review four areas where advanced planning by marketing individuals can assist with a successful product launch.
Volume 1, Number 2 – January 2017
Predicting the Future: Forecasting Initial Product Demand and Sales Revenue for Novel Medical Device Technologies
Sales forecasting for new medical technologies is both an art and a science. This paper reviews the benefits of developing a spreadsheet-based forecasting model and how various market factors and company-related parameters can influence forecasting for sales revenue and initial product build.