Author: Stacey Homan
I’m always surprised at the number of people I meet in industry who don’t have an answer to that question. I know it’s a hard question to answer. In this economy, it’s hard to know where you will be in three months let alone five years. But, there should still be a road map, some guide to follow for the people, positions and projects that will be needed in the upcoming years.
Think about how much the world has changed in the last five years. I don’t know anyone who has a home phone line. I can’t remember the last time I bought a CD or DVD because I can get a month subscription at NetFlix cheaper than a soda at a NFL game. All my bills are paid online, so I rarely have a reason to go to the mailbox anymore. I can create a professionally printed photo book for cheaper than it would have been to develop the film. That is, if I print it at all. Everyone can see my pictures on Facebook and comment on them from wherever they are in the world.
If land lines, DVDs, CDs, mailboxes and professional printing are going the way of the dinosaur, how does that affect your marketing plan now and in a year, let alone five years out?
Medical device is a conservative industry; we tend to be more old school in our marketing and sales techniques. Our sales reps would rather talk in person than call, would rather call than e-mail, and I can’t imagine a scenario where they would eagerly WebEx a customer. However, the world is constantly moving forward, new technologies are being conceived every day, and some will percolate through to radically transform how we perform day-to-day business in the future.
In planning for the next year, here’s what your checklist may look like:
- iPads or Tablet PCs for the reps?
- An Android, a Blackberry or an iPhone for their phone?
- How much of your marketing and training materials are online, available 24/7 for the reps to access? Globally? Is the material easy to find? Is it secure?
- Do you have mobile apps, for either internal or external marketing?
- What is your online strategy? Do we need a Twitter page? A Facebook page? And/or a YouTube channel?
- How is your patient outreach on these three networks?
- What about your physician outreach?
- Do you have policies and procedures addressing all of this?
And this is looking only ONE YEAR in the future, let alone five.
Next week, we’ll take a closer look at where Facebook and other social media are headed.