Few orthopedic companies can execute great Marketing. Most do not. 

Often the Marketing leadership is to blame for poor marketing execution.

Here are 6 signals that you should consider in making a change to your Marketing leadership.

1) Poor Alignment with Sales

Your Marketing head is not in synch with your Sales organization.  

When the Marketing VP and the Sales VP don’t work together or see eye-to-eye, it’s a major problem, and it sets the dysfunctional tone for these organizations. You will commonly experience one or more of these problems with misaligned Sales/Marketing:  campaigns – marketing that isn’t utilized or helpful, rogue behavior on the sales team because they don’t believe that marketing has a clue, or marketing not listening to important sales feedback because they think they know better.

2) Poor Alignment with R&D

Your Marketing leader is not engaged with R&D.

Marketing should be an integral part of new product development (to the point of leading the process) instead of being just handed the finished to sell.  One of marketing’s core functions is the identification of the unmet clinical need and the Voice-of-the-Customer. During the development process, marketing should be side-by-side with engineering to validate designs.  If not done well, a product redesign is inevitable. This flaw is magnified when Marketing and Engineering are based in separate cities or countries.

3) No Digital Execution

Your Marketing leader is not leveraging digital marketing.  

The majority of spending in orthopedic marketing is for physical things, not digital things. Hey, it’s 2020. Wake up! Everyone lives inside social media. Your digital campaigns should be targeted towards Direct-to-Patient and/or Direct-to-Surgeon. Digital marketing is better, cheaper and gives you mind-blowing metrics. For a deeper look into digital marketing, read The Future of Marketing in Orthopedics

4) Little Use of Campaign Metrics

Your Marketing leader has no idea if the campaign worked or not.

How effective was the marketing campaign?” 

Most people believe that marketing is a creative function, but today marketing should be guided by analytics. If a marketing leader doesn’t have access to the right numbers and trends to base decisions on (i.e., demand forecasting, ad dollars, promotional programs, headcount), how do they know what’s working, or worse – what’s not working?  Furthermore, this analysis needs to be reviewed regularly (with the team), and future decisions made with them. 

5) Lack of the Entrepreneurial Mindset

Your Marketing leader is simply not creative.  

This may be a result of time pressures and a mentality to avoid mistakes. Seems so obvious to say, but what is someone doing in marketing if they can’t think out of the box?  It’s the job description.  When the leader in marketing is the least creative person on the team, there’s a problem.  A lack of creativity in marketing can be a result of leadership that originated in a technical field (like engineering) and migrated to the creative field of marketing. The reality is that a very different skill set and way of thinking is required for marketing vs engineering.  You can actually do personality profiling to test for creativity, before hiring.

6) Not Leveraging Clinical Information

Your Marketing leader is not taking advantage of clinical data.

There are two possible mistakes here. They may be under-utilizing the available clinical data, or they have no plans to get the data. Though this seems like a clinical department issue, this should be driven by marketing.  The clinical data used to gain FDA clearance can be used to SELL the product based on better outcomes.  The bigger the effort on clinical data mining, the more important this marketing tool becomes, especially with game-changing technologies. 

Surgeon surveys say that clinical evidence as the driver for trying new products and technologies. Which means, this isn’t just a clinical department issue of running a study, it’s a huge marketing issue to collaborate early and often on getting the right data, and then using it!  Or, better yet, revisiting the data that could still be captured through re-purposing of the existing data (are there other meta-analyses that can be done?), and/or shorter pathways to still-meaningful data (post-market analysis, for example).  Your Marketing leader should understand the power of clinical data and advocate for it, or you have the wrong Marketing leader in place.