Cross-Channel Campaign Aims to Reach Physicians

Medical pros are heavily marketed to nearly everywhere they turn — one exception being the Web. SonoSite, a maker of hand-carried ultrasound products, is taking advantage of the relatively clutter-free online environment in a new integrated campaign courtesy of MarketBridge.

The B-to-B campaign targets private practice doctors at many touch points. It begins with e-mail, direct mail and light telemarketing elements that drive physicians and their purchase makers to an informational Web site. The ultimate goal is to schedule in-person sales demos providing hands-on time with the product.

MarketBridge is handling both marketing and sales for the medical device maker. One of the big challenges, according to MarketBridge SVP of Marketing and Biz Dev Scot Gillum, is that because e-mail hasn’t been widely used as a marketing channel in the medical sector, addresses are often unavailable. That makes direct mail and telephone calls necessary in the early stages of the relationship. Somewhat paradoxically, once a physician shares her address, sales calls become more valuable in the media mix.

“Interactive marketing gives you the reason to call,” said Gillum. “Rather than it being an outbound cold call, it follows an e-mail. We’re trying to create relationships; those relationships may start virtual, but want to convert offline.”

The contract between SonoSite and MarketBridge is entirely performance-based. The agency is paid only when it closes a sale on products ranging in price from $27,500 to over $70,000. “This is the first time we’ve owned, or had the ability to control, all the channels,” said Gillum. “We’ve done various campaigns, created leads, but it gets handed into a sales channel. We haven’t been able to direct all activities and close the loop.”

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