If there is one type of content that shows the quantifiable value of your medical device and your expertise, it’s case studies.
By telling the story of how a customer (or their patient) achieved significant results from using your product or service, you provide concrete evidence that you’re legit.
A patient implanted with your device recovered without complication. A hospital that implemented your remote monitoring software saved clinicians two hours a day in manual data entry. A clinical trial sponsor launched its study 10 times faster with your help. You get the idea.
Why do case studies resonate in the medical device, diagnostics, and life sciences services industries? Because they’re based on evidence. They’re not stuffed with marketing messaging. They show how you solved a customer’s problem, and they provide data to back it up.
A recent B2B buyer’s report from Netline found that short content types and videos were the most useful forms of content, followed closely by case studies.
Busy physicians also prefer short bits of content according to a survey from Storysoft. These findings indicate that short, infographic-rich case studies would perform well with both HCP and B2B audiences.
For all their benefits, case studies can be a challenge to execute in regulated industries like medtech. Customers either don’t want to disclose or can’t disclose certain information. Physicians are hard to pin down. Your marketing materials have to go through medical-legal review. And so it goes.
That’s why I’ve given you some alternative content types for times you need to go in a different direction. First, let’s get those case studies in top shape.
Follow case study format
Most case studies are divided into three sections:
1. Case: Briefly describe the customer and the problem they faced.
2. Solution: Steps your company took to solve the problem.
3. Result: The outcome the customer experienced as a result of your solution.
Worldwide Clinical Trials regularly publishes case studies. I like how they break up the story into graphic-rich elements. Here’s one example detailing a rare disease study.
Other companies take a more straightforward approach. You can see here how IQVIA formats its case studies. Everything you need, no frills.
As you can see, you have room for creativity. Use graphics to highlight stats, add images, throw in a chart or table or call out a bulleted list. The key is to present the right information in a way that’s easy to read.
Write to your audience
If you develop and manufacture heart valves, and you want to target cardiologists, it’s okay to use some doctor speak.
This educational case study from Edwards is short on words, heavy on numbers and abbreviations. It gives busy physicians the information they need to make a decision—nothing more.
If you’re telling a patient’s story for marketing purposes, you’ll want to add context. How did the patient present? What approach did the physician take? Why did they take that approach? What was the outcome? How did the procedure affect the patient’s quality of life?
If you’re writing to an executive audience, consider adding some ROI. What was the impact of the solution to length of stay, OR time, readmissions, and other metrics relevant to reimbursement and revenue?
Almost all clinical trials experiences glitches, delays, or some other bump in the road. Talk about them. And talk about how your company helped resolve those challenges. Case studies are mainly objective pieces.
Including a paragraph about how a power outage caused a glitch in the data platform won’t put your company in a negative light, provided you spotlight the positive. If you fixed the glitch in minutes, it illustrates the flexibility and responsiveness of your team.
Keep it short
Keep your case study to about two designed pages. Recent data show shorter pieces resonate better with busy people. As you build your case study library, you can experiment with some longer pieces. Measure performance between the two formats and adjust accordingly.
This case study from Medtronic is on the long side, but it discusses a complex system and how it impacted a busy clinic. It needed the extra pages to discuss the solution and all the ways it benefited the team.
Gate your case study behind a killer landing page
The purpose of case studies is to generate interest in your product/service as well as generate leads for your sales team. The landing page must have enough punch to motivate readers to give up their email address.
Put yourself in the prospect’s shoes. Imagine that person asking, “What will I get from this? So what?”
Essentials: a clear, memorable headline, a strong paragraph or two summarizing the case, and a few benefit-rich bullet points — plus a brief form fill above the fold.
Plan B: 4 Case Study Alternatives
Traditional case studies aren’t the only way to showcase your value. If you’re looking for a new approach to tell your story, consider these alternatives:
Case study videos
Studies show today’s audiences prefer video. Give them what they want. Your KOLs may be more than willing to record a video describing a surgical technique or recent case (patient information protected). It gives them positive publicity and an asset they can share with their peers.
Instead of physician to physician, think patient to patient. Develop a story from the patient’s perspective. Let them share their story about their illness, their journey, and how your product has impacted their life. We’re all human, and most humans remember something that tugs at their emotions.
Instead of the traditional challenge-solution-result, tell a story that highlights your company’s values. Profile your founder, an employee in manufacturing, or the manager who volunteers every weekend for a charity. Show your customers how you think and what you stand for.
Instead of developing a case study featuring a customer, why not a vendor partner? Craft a case study about how you and a design firm worked together to develop your latest product. A partnership-themed story provides insider information about how your product came to life while also showcasing your high level of professionalism.
Finding case study subjects can be a challenge, but when you do, you’ve got the makings for high-value content. If you’re new to developing case studies, it’s hard to know what to ask your customers. And it’s equally hard to turn that into a story. These tips will get you started.
Need help turning positive customer interactions into high-performing case studies? Get in touch.
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