As Oticon Medical’s longtime partner, Pursuit has built programs to engage patients, activate a thriving community, and empower advocates.
“The Pursuit team has changed the way we work and has helped us live into our promise of ‘people first.’ We haven’t only seen the altruistic value, we see incredible business value increasing our market share and sales year over year. Pursuit is our partner, and we’re excited to continue the partnership to see what we can do next.” – Alan Raffauf, Vice President of Marketing, Oticon Medical
Oticon Medical partnered with the Pursuit team to help increase awareness of its Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing Systems. Although the Ponto outperforms its competition in sound quality, the product was less known by both hearing care professionals—ENTs, audiologists, surgeons—and patients. In addition, although bone anchored hearing systems can be the best option for adults and children with conductive hearing loss and single-sided deafness, it wasn’t often suggested in clinics and patients knew little or nothing about the option.
The opportunity—our Pursuit
Like many medical device companies, Oticon Medical traditionally focused on outreach to hearing care professionals, a B2B audience. We saw an opportunity to engage end users—patients and potential patients—to learn more about what current Ponto users loved and disliked about the product, gain a deeper understanding of the patient journey, and identify roadblocks. We confirmed our hypotheses and found new information to help us to develop a strategy and unique approach in the bone anchored hearing space:
- 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.
- Insurance coverage can be a major hurdle as insurance companies often do not understand the need for a device or how to classify bone anchored hearing.
- 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.
- People search for information online to help make healthcare decisions, and with a communication strategy focused on a B2B audience, we were missing the opportunity to equip patients with valuable information.
Our approach—building a thriving community
Our most impactful learning was that people can’t make decisions based on data alone, and becoming aware of the product simply wasn’t enough. People need to see the results of the Ponto through others’ experiences. Pursuit set on a mission to create an online community around hearing loss and bone anchored hearing.
Pursuit launched a program to identify and engage patients to develop patient stories and valuable content that answers questions about all aspects of the journey to bone anchored hearing through:
And we use social media to distribute the content to the right audience.
The online community, and Oticon Medical’s social presence, has not only been recognized by patients but also by industry leaders like Guy Kawasaki.
Today, Oticon Medical, which previously only communicated with hearing professionals, has a thriving community of patient advocates. And the community doesn’t just come together online. We host annual advocacy conferences, an advocacy-led events program to empower patients to host meet-ups in their local communities, and a program for children who use the Ponto.
Our efforts have also sparked online groups created by advocates dedicated to discussion around bone anchored hearing.
In the six years that Pursuit has worked with Oticon Medical, these efforts have increased device sales and upgrade sales and helped Oticon Medical live into its promise of “people first”. They are now known as the leader in bone anchored hearing and the most customer-centric bone anchored hearing organization.
We’ve put content to work by implementing a marketing automation system to help move patients from aware to interested to willing to take action. When patients are ready to find an audiologist in their area who offers the Ponto Bone Hearing System, they can get Oticon Medical’s support to find one in their area.
Our efforts have also, in turn, reached hearing professionals as we’ve offered patient stories and opportunities to meet new patients through events.
In 2013, Pursuit asked for six months to try patient communication efforts in the United States. In 2017, Oticon Medical redesigned their websites at all global and regional levels to be more patient-focused, using the stories we’ve generated as the foundational content.
In 2017, we also launched an advocacy-led events program that empowers advocates to host events in their local communities. The program connects patients with potential patients and has continued to increase awareness and device sales.
Brittany Whitlock, a Clinical Specialist for Oticon Medical, collected the following feedback from audiologists in Mississippi after learning that more parents were coming in and asking for Oticon Medical’s newest processor – the Ponto 3 SuperPower – understanding the benefits and why they wanted it.
“I don’t know what y’all are doing in your marketing department, but it’s working! The word is out on the SuperPower!” – local audiologist in Mississippi
Our efforts have generated results internally too as our close connection with patients creates a cycle of feedback for sales, product development, and customer service. Marketing and sales can shape more relevant messaging and are equipped with real patient stories to bring the product to life.
- Jillian and Hazel Shelton’s journey to the Ponto 3 SuperPower
- Persistence pays off for a Ponto mom
- A chance to dance for a Ponto softband user
- Classroom support for Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System users
Where we’ve told the story:
- Stanford Medicine X 2016
- Digital Marketing for Medical Devices Conferences
- Content Marketing for Life Sciences Conference Conferences
- 6th Patient Adherence and Advocacy Summit
- 7th Patient Engagement, Education and Adherence Summit
- 12th Public Relations & Communications Summit
- Patient Experience 2017