Like pharma, medical device manufacturers are subject to the scrutiny of the FDA — not only in the products they manufacture, but in the manner in which they market their products. Med device manufacturers find themselves facing long 510(k) clearance timelines that span years, if not decades, and it can seem as though legal and regulatory approval times for marketing assets can take nearly as long.
It’s not unheard of for website content updates to take six months to execute, while a single drip campaign could take 12-18 months to approve. Strict adherence to FDA guidelines are essential to ensure patient safety, but this can make the job of an enthusiastic marketer extremely painful at times, sucking the excitement and joy out of the job.
During my time in the industry, I found there were many tips and tricks to help me navigate what can and should be a highly regulative marketing environment. However, there was one trick I used more than any other — repurposing content.Before I would even start thinking about beginning a project, whether it was a brochure, outdate calendar, IFU or social post, I would ask myself, “What else can I use this for?” When I was in creative meetings, reviewing what other departments were producing, I would ask myself, “How can I leverage that in my marketing?” or “How else could they use that?”
It seems simple, but I can’t tell you how many times people try to reinvent the wheel for each marketing channel. There really isn’t a reason to create a brochure to leave at a hospital or physician’s office without evaluating how you can also leverage the creative and content for a product page on your website, or for an email campaign. One example is to tease the subject matter of a whitepaper on your website and then gate the content for lead generation or promote a two-sentence quote on social media to drive traffic to your site.
By extending the purpose of a single asset, you can batch approve it with your legal and regulatory departments. They can see the smaller snippets of content you plan to use on your site or social accounts in the larger context, in order to help them assess the overall message. I found this to be particularly helpful in navigating the approval process for paid search campaigns.
Developing landing pages first (leveraging in-depth keyword research to see what your customers are searching), then developing search and display ads, and then submitting that together with a list of keywords will help your partners in L&R understand the context of all components and will aide in the expedition of revisions and approvals.
Tradeshows are another biggie. Take what you develop for the booth to drive traffic both pre-show (if you are ahead of the game with approvals) and post-show for both continuing the conversation and to reach those who may have missed your booth video, poster or symposium. Why go through all the trouble of being at a tradeshow just to stow away your marketing in a closet until next year?
Not only should you be actively developing marketing materials with multi-channel in mind, take a minute to review what content you already have approved. Is there something that is already in circulation you can leverage? Is there an amazing white paper that has been approved that you could promote in an email or on social media? Is there a fundraising press release your associates could share through their social networks?
I would venture to guess you have a vault of relevant, approved content just waiting to find its way into the hands of your customers. It may be worth taking the time to uncover those forgotten gems and save yourself some approval time.