When designing an effective go-to-market strategy for a novel medical device, companies need to tell a story that proves and clearly articulates product-market-fit.
A go-to-market strategy for a novel medical device includes a multitude of elements. Like almost every other product on the market today, MedTech has to have a sales and marketing plan and brand strategy. Medical devices need a regulator pathway, a reimbursement strategy, a commercialization strategy, and much more.
But as medical device leaders find themselves checking all of the boxes on the way to launch, a winning go-to-market strategy is often dependent on a single factor:
A clearly-defined product-market-fit.
In the complex world of medical device commercialization, the term product-market-fit might seem ambiguous. Here we discuss how a medical device company or startup should define and demonstrate market demand so their product can thrive.
3 Essential Elements of Product-Market-Fit
When it comes to determining and proving market demand, startups need to answer critical questions and take steps to show they are solving for an important problem and that people are willing to purchase their product. Establishing strong product-market-fit encompasses these three essential elements.
Are you different from your competitors in a meaningful way? Some MedTech startups make the critical mistake in thinking that a lower price alone is sufficient differentiation from other products on the market. Many entrepreneurs feel that they don’t have to have a brand strategy because they are simply less expensive than what is available.
While that may work for some industries, a lower price point alone will not cut it in MedTech. It is true that hospitals, physician groups, and medical professionals are limited in terms of what products because they have to be reimbursable via either private insurance or CMS. It is because of this that price does matter to a certain extent, however if you are only cheaper, that is a race to the bottom. What will stop another, slightly cheaper future product from replacing yours? Lower price point is no way to build a long-term business.
Instead, identify and iterate those distinct features that your product has over the competition. Often stakeholders put more value on devices that save time, provide patients with better results, reduce complications, or increase efficiency. In fact, if you can offer these advantages to them, they may be more likely to pay more for your product.
Clinical Outcomes and Implications
Your product needs to demonstrate clinical efficacy, but just as important, through market validation, you must demonstrate a clinical need – and desire – in the market. By performing market validation, your medical device company will better grasp market demand and product-market-fit.
MedTech products can face strong competition, as there is a multitude of devices and therapies seeking to solve similar problems. In fact, there were 34,400 new medical device patents filed in 2018 alone, and that number continues to grow.
When it comes to clinical outcomes and implications, you need to answer what pain point or need in the field that the product answers. You also need to figure who (and how many people) need and want your device – and why. Then, craft your value proposition to respond directly to that need.
Product-tailored market research can provide medical device companies with this kind of crucial intelligence about their product’s target market. It is a mistake to do cursory research and decide X is a “billion-dollar market.” Your product may not be relevant, convenient, or compelling for those you are seeking to convert into customers. It’s always best to test your assumptions through research and establish product-market-fit with your eyes wide open.
Economic Argument for the Product
As an innovator, you need to ensure that there is a clear path for stakeholders to purchase and use your product. While you may have the best device or therapy on the market, if there is no clear reimbursement strategy or ROI story for investors, your company has no way to sell or grow.
Economic evaluations can be challenging for certain startups depending on regulatory circumstances and product-specific characteristics. The availability of quality evidence during reimbursement can be limited because of the regulatory framework and device-related restrictions due to trial design.
Keep in mind certain considerations, such as if the device can be reused, procedural integration, and temporary variations in determinants of medical device performance may influence the cost-effectiveness of your medical device. Researching and recognizing challenges to coverage will help you to develop a strategy that satisfies agencies that regulate coverage.
Understanding the reimbursement climate and creating a strategy early on will help ensure that your company starts generating revenue as quickly as possible – a critical piece that investors will no doubt want to see as you outline your path to ROI.
Determining Market Demand for a Better Product Launch
Determining product-market-fit from the start is one of the most important pieces in developing your medical device product launch strategy. It also helps you see the path you need to take so your medical device is primed for success.
Jaunt helps MedTech entrepreneurs, executives, and startups determine their product-market-fit, taking them from concept to a commercially viable, fundable product. Contact us to learn more.