What Really Drives Adoption for New MedTech?

Case Study: Key Takeaways

  • Purchasing decisions may be driven by emotions more than data, even among highly rational healthcare professionals
  • When connecting with customers, ask first: What really matters to them?

A Quick Case Study
The First Launch: A data-centric campaign for a new ocular stent

The device is an ocular stent designed to relieve pressure buildup from glaucoma. The market leader is a nanotechnology, which surgeons favored because it is tiny and simple to implant. Unfortunately, that widely adopted device fails to work 50% of the time. And, because of the nature of the implant, surgeons can’t remove it and repeat the procedure.

 So, a competitor devised a better stent. While this device was larger and more complicated to implant, the outcomes data were dramatically better. So, the marketing team did the obvious: Launch the new stent with a campaign all about outcomes data. The market didn’t budge, and the launch failed.

The Re-launch: A campaign about what surgeons really want

For the re-launch, research revealed that glaucoma surgery practices thrive on operating room throughput. And no surprise: ORs are the financial hub of hospitals. Surgeons, therefore, care a great deal about reducing chair time per patient while maintaining excellent outcomes. When these clinicians were exposed to the initial launch of the new ocular stent, they didn’t see better outcomes. They saw lower throughput in their ORs. So, we changed the story. 

Research identified customers’ needs and mindset, finding that:

  1. Ocular surgeons see patients for a single procedure. When it’s over, it’s over, and they lose sight of the long-term impact of the surgery they performed.
  2. Therefore, surgeons are influenced by immediate, practical matters, like throughput data.
  3. Yet, surgeons do care clinical outcomes and the positive impact they’ve had on their patients’ lives. That emotion can drive a purchasing decision – if it is brought to their attention.

In the re-launch the ocular stent, the focus shifted from a transactional procedure that supports hospital finances to the impact surgeons have on their patients’ lives. Presented with an emotional appeal, surgeons were able to look beyond a bigger stent to see bigger possibilities.

The relaunch campaign tapped a more compelling cause than OR throughput with the message that “visions of the future are on the line.” Surgeons were reminded that:

  • Their stent choice matters – because for glaucoma patients there’s so much more to see in life.
  • The leading stent may be easy to implant, but when it comes to protecting patients’ futures, it comes up small.


The campaign resonated with glaucoma specialists, helping them to think beyond throughput data to their patients’ quality of life as they aged. Customer feedback indicated an openness to making this product their new standard, saying:

“This is thought provoking and makes me pay attention.”

“I like the theme of empowerment. A lot of patients feel handcuffed and that no matter what they do, things will get worse. But this stent can make a substantial improvement in preventing long-term demise from glaucoma.

“If this stent helps get patients off medication and prevent the need for further surgery – better than what we’re using now – that’s a win.”

When looking to connect with your customers in the medtech space, ask first: What really matters to your customer?


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