Pursuit put its relationships with Oticon Medical advocates to work to develop a program that empowers and activates advocates with Oticon Medical Advocate-led events (meetups).

“It wasn’t an easy transition when we adopted Brody. Not only did we not know how to deal with his hearing loss, but he didn’t warm up to us, or anyone. I felt helpless. Finding this group online gave me guidance, but this weekend being here with all of you, I feel like I’ve really met my child for the first time.” – Dayla Hurley, Parent of an Oticon Medical bone anchored hearing system user

Pursuit has worked with Oticon Medical for more than five years to help increase awareness of its Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing Systems. We created a program to engage end users, or patients, for the first time to create and share patient-focused content and build an online community to support adults and parents of children with single sided deafness and conductive hearing loss. This was a different approach for an organization that traditionally focused on communication with hearing care professionals (B2B).

Today, Oticon Medical has an online community of passionate patients and hosts an annual advocacy conference for patient advocates and their families to come together in-person to share their experiences and learn about the latest hearing technology.

Whether it’s through the online community or the annual advocacy conference, we hear a resounding message from patients: meeting people who have been through a similar experience was the turning point in deciding to get Oticon Medical’s Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System.

The opportunity—our Pursuit

We saw an opportunity to tap into the thriving online community we built to create a scalable program to bring more people together, in-person, to share and learn about others’ experiences in local communities across the U.S. In doing so we would increase awareness of bone anchored hearing technology and address the pain points we had learned about through our work with patients:

  • Often, although bone anchored hearing is the best solution, it isn’t presented as an option.
  • When bone anchored hearing is presented as an option, patients aren’t aware that there’s more than one brand of bone anchored hearing device and they have the right to trial devices.
  • When adults and children try the Ponto, they feel as if they’re truly hearing again or for the first time.
  • People can’t make decisions based on product information or data alone, it needs to be backed by experience. Patients feel empowered and best equipped to make a decision for their hearing or their child’s hearing when they hear about the experiences of others—directly.

Our approach—Advocacy-led events program

We designed a program for local meetups in each U.S. territory—Advocacy-led events. These events give advocates a platform in their local communities to share their experience and help others. They give Oticon Medical a way to continue to increase awareness and sales of the Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System and address what we’ve learned by building relationships with patients.

At the local events, people hear from the advocate, their personal story, learn more about bone anchored hearing from an Oticon Medical audiologist, and have the opportunity to try the latest Ponto bone anchored hearing system. The program gives advocates the support, tools, and a platform to host local meetups in their communities.

Relationships: identify advocates for pilot local events

Through our work building the online community and hosting annual advocacy events, we already had deep relationships with patient advocates. We identified advocates who would be inspired to act as pilot hosts for these bone anchored hearing meetups.

We recruited field organizers and trained them in order to build a self-sustaining community infrastructure. This is often called the snowflake model, which was most notably used in the 2008 Obama campaign. The idea is to spot leadership potential, identify, pitch, and train leaders to then create an organization at scale. By doing this, we have a team of advocates who tap into their own networks to create in-person experiences around the United States.

Develop the footprint of the program

We developed an infrastructure, and playbook, that clearly defines Oticon Medical’s role and the role of the patient advocate, or local “advocacy ambassador.”

  • We provide a dedicated team to help find a location, plan logistics, and promote the event. We create templates for social posts, emails, and flyers that the designated advocacy ambassador can share with their networks and local communities.
  • An Oticon Medical Audiologist attends each event to talk about bone anchored hearing technology and provide a free trial of the latest product.
  • Advocacy ambassadors act as the host of the event and meets with the Oticon Medical team to develop a welcome presentation that shares their personal journey to healthy hearing.

Define specific goals: patient value and Oticon Medical awareness and bone anchored hearing system sales

Patient value

  • First and foremost, these meetups a focus on educating the community. We aim to provide a platform for Oticon Medical advocates to share their story with at least 25 attendees per event.
  • The mission is to create a safe space for local community members to learn about bone anchored hearing and connect with others.

Business value

  • For the program to be deemed scalable, we set the goal of 1-3 events per month, each with a unique advocate host.
  • By increasing product awareness and providing an opportunity for people to trial the Ponto the program yields new device sales and upgrade sales.
  • Attendees are given the opportunity to sign up to learn more, so we track how many new members are enrolled into the Oticon Medical database.
  • These events are a great way to collect and provide feedback and learnings to the team for marketing, sales, and product development.

Launching the movement and impact

We launched two pilot events in different locations in the United States. The first event had 16 attendees, four of which decided to upgrade their current device and three decided to get a Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System.

During our annual advocacy event in October, every family who attended signed up to host an event in their local community.

Today, we have 20 advocacy ambassadors committed to hosting in 2017/2018 with new advocates continuing to raise their hands. And, hearing care professionals are attending to get a patient perspective and to connect with their own local communities.

The stories:

Where we’ve shared this work:

  • ExL events: Content Marketing Life Sciences 2017

Additional assets:

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