Shouting-MegaphoneRecently the topic of “how technical should medtech marketing be” has come up not just in project planning sessions with my clients, but also in speaking with some colleagues in the medical copywriting industry. Medical and veterinary devices, diagnostics, software, and biotech are all chock-full of scientific, technological and biological minutiae. So when we’re marketing these technical marvels, when does it make sense to delve deep into the science, and when does too much technical data hinder the sales process?

I touched very briefly on this in a recent blog post addressing mistakes commonly made by medical marketers in writing white papers. A common misconception is that in order to sell the technical product or service, the marketing has to be technical. What medical marketers (and often sales teams) are forgetting in this assumption is that benefits are always what sell, not features.

Some of my colleagues made the argument that the target audience is very highly-educated and therefore they require a highly technical document. Well yes, they are, but no, they don’t. Yes, this audience is much more fluent in technical jargon than your average lay-person, and your marketing should reflect that. However, that doesn’t mean that an overload of technical jargon isn’t going to be just as much a snooze-fest to them as it would be to someone not as technically fluent.

Now, before you write me off as an incompetent marketer who doesn’t know the first thing about selling medical products, let me state clearly that I’m not saying there shouldn’t be technical information. Of course there should. These are technical products. What I am saying is that focusing on the technical wizardry of your widget, no matter how proud you are of it, will never create the urgency of demand that good marketing copy should.

The reason for this is that medical professionals, engineers, PhDs, and hospital administrators are all still just people and they respond like people. In order for them to be interested enough to read a 12-page white paper there needs to be something more than dry-as-dust technical babble. And that ‘something’ needs to clearly answer the most important question of all: “What’s in it for me?”

People don’t buy based on technical specs or scientific data, they buy because you have something that will make their lives and jobs easier, better, less stressful, happier. Something that will make them look good. At the end of the day the real key in selling to technical, highly-educated people is the same key as selling to anyone else. Figure out their problem, and make sure you show them how your product solves that problem.

The fact is, the reason medtech companies create technology solutions in the first place is  to help patients, give surgeons effective, powerful solutions, and hopefully fit into the budget requirements of the hospitals or payers (and make a profit at the same time of course). As a marketer at a medical device company (or biotech, software or diagnostics), you already know this. But sometimes it gets lost in the excitement over the latest and greatest science.

Your job, or the job of your copywriter, is to translate all those cool technical details into the emotional triggers that answer the “What’s in it for me” question.

Of course, that doesn’t mean purely technical papers aren’t necessary in the marketing arsenal. They are – but they must be kept in their proper place in the buying cycle. Remembering where our prospects are in their buying cycle, and knowing what kind of content will speak most to clearly to them where they are, is imperative in balancing marketing-speak and tech-speak.

What do you think? Do your technical papers only appear in certain sections of the buying cycle? Or do you successfully sell with only technical documents?