The key to a successful channel strategy starts with actually knowing your market
Scott Newton, Co-Founder of myCaribou, once managed a large American Medical Surgical equipment manufacturer with a product division that was poised for expansion. The new market identified was an ideal fit for many reasons: it, too, was English speaking, and its health services were distributed both publicly and privately. To many, the similarities to the U.S. market made it seem like an easy path to success. That was until their assumptions got lost in translation.
“What basic demographic data did not tell the team was that the targeted market couldn’t be more different from the U.S.,” explains Newton. “Even though health services were distributed both publicly and privately, the procurement processes were either 100% government or group purchasing controlled, therefore restrictive to new entries, and limiting when it came to advanced technology acceptance in our product category.”
The manufacturer soon found that its products were over-featured and overpriced for a market that already supported three local manufacturers at the expense of new entries. A far more significant investment over a greater time period than predicted would be required in order to succeed.
For Newton, this experience was far from a one-off. “I’ve lost count of how many of these stories I’ve heard. Stories like assuming a disease is simply proportional based on population – even though disease or incident rates can be significantly lower due to local behaviours.”
Relying on superficial data that leads to false assumptions happens far too often in the medical device market. Worse, we find ourselves in an echo chamber that simply reinforces our misconceptions about how a new market will respond to our specific product. We live in a knowledge economy, but as George Bernard Shaw famously said, false knowledge is more dangerous than ignorance.
In addition to mitigating risk, solid market analysis is a credibility booster when establishing distribution partnerships. According to one Business Development professional representing a national distributor of medical device products in Canada, his company’s ability to provide thoughtful analysis is essential to establishing new relationships with manufacturers.
“We’ve put a lot of effort into this area – building market data from the ground up and connecting with our customers to get their insight. It’s often a two to four-week process talking to people so we can establish a market number that’s backed by harder facts.”
The data on these markets is there. But you need to know where to look and how to filter what’s relevant and what’s not. “That can be a time consuming activity. And in some markets, like Canada, it’s not available publicly.”
He estimates that having market research consolidated and aggregated into one resource would save time. “I’d estimate that we could save 25% of our time currently spent on research if we didn’t have to scour various websites for data. That frees up more time for more meaningful conversations with our customers to validate what our market analysis is telling us.”
“Larger organizations will often have internal teams dedicated to doing that type of market research, but most of us don’t have that luxury,” adds Newton. “There’s no substitute for local knowledge and market specific information, so when we developed myCaribou, we felt it was critical to aggregate as much of the available medical device industry data in one place and qualify it, so you know what’s relevant.”
Learn how myCaribou’s market analysis tool aggregates and consolidates medical device industry data.
For those medical device manufacturers looking to enter into new markets, it’s more important than ever to make sure that the market analysis you have is comprehensive and complete. Putting the time in now will pay off mightily when you have a channel strategy that reflects real-world market needs.
Do you have all the insights into a prospective market? Book your myCaribou demo to find out.